Saturday, April 06, 2019

have you heard of the the Arlington, Texas assembly plant built Chevelles?

this '70 LS6 Chevelle was stored around 1980

A close look under the headlights shows it was originally equipped with the early production under-headlight trim that was later deemed unnecessary. This trim was eliminated by most assembly plants somewhere around or before March 1970.

Arlington, Texas 1970 Chevelles were also notorious for lacking their assembly line buildsheets, dipping the bodies in red oxide primer, and it seems like the did some really lousy QA because the many mistakes they made weren't caught

A close look at the white stripes on the cowl induction hood indicate the assembly line masking procedure where the stencil and freehand tape edges met. The stripes were applied using a stencil that ended a couple inches from the front edge of the hood and then an assembly line worker applied the last couple inches and curved the outer edges by freehand.

The Arlington assembly plant was also known to assemble some 1970 Chevelles equipped with the RPO D88 Hood and Deck Stripes option with stripes that were squared on both the outer and inner edges.

and they installed the SS upside down

The Malibu inside door panel emblems are correct for 1970 Chevelles equipped with RPO Z15 SS454 option.

The RPO B22 Door Emblem SS option was mistakenly left out of the list of options coded to be included with Z15 SS454 package.

Therefore, the assembly plant workers assembled the cars equipped with the Z15 SS454 package with inside door panels carrying the standard Malibu emblem.

what this needs is a pile of manure and an arch enemy

Bob Burkhouse and his Cletrac powered overshot loader   (thanks Steve!)

McKay rubber Lube number 622... this stuff has been sitting on a shelf since decades before I was born... but still works!

I needed to get a fuel line over the gas tube coming out of the gas tank, and it didn't want to work with me at all... so, I looked around to see what was on my garage shelves to grease the tube a bit, and figured why not try this stuff?

I filled about 4 inches of the inside of the 5 inch fuel line, then let it drain out, and it slipped on in a moment, instead of the minutes I'd been shoving and twisting trying to get the dry line on the tube.
Anyway, that's part of what I did today... before trying to get my rear shocks swapped out. It turns out that 50 years after the last person tightened them on, it took a bit of effort to get them off.

Also, the bottom bolt is 5/16 20, and the upper bolt is 5/16 13. My Craftsman tap n die set for cleaning up threads only has a tap for 5/16 13, but not the die, so that is odd. The 5/16 20 were both there, so thats taken care of, but in 2 hours, I only finished the one shock. It's surprising how much time it wastes to prep and get tools for the nuts and bolts when you don't already have those sizes known.

Oh, and the 2 piece handle for the floor jack? Makes a nice piece of pipe to slip over the breaker bar handle to be a handy force multiplier

Friday, April 05, 2019

this is not a museum, this is one guy's collection

looking at the number of radiator hoses and fan belts in the above and below photos, I think he must have bought a parts store that was going out of business

Here is a rare ’39 Nash that came out of the Spruce Goose collection owned by Disney in the 1980s

the mechanic hired on occasion to work on cars in the collection because of his flathead expertise, bought it from the lady in Illinois who won the Nash in a raffle, but couldn’t afford the tax, so he bought it from her.

Brian Storm decided to build a killer Hot Wheels–style 1969 Super Bee

an unrestored 1969 Z/28 Camaro DZ302 engine with 4,495 original miles was brought to the 2019 Detroit Autorama

thanks to Andrew F for clanging? Clinking? (Dang it, will someone tell me what is the word for the sound a jar makes?) my tip jar!

1st Hot Rod Drags Stroker water-transfer decal (Thanks Doug!)

Original water-transfer decal for 1st annual HRM Championship Drags at Riverside International Raceway in 1964. Whimsical cartoon has Stroker straddling a blown Hemi, lance in hand!

"they used to race cars there..."

the right hand side is Mira Mesa road, the bottom is where Interstate 15 now is, the left is Carroll canyon road and east on a map, the top is west, and Black Mountain Rd. Over all of this is now the Miramar College

the US Marines built the Woodburn drag strip from the old Woodburn Airfield in 1958. It opened in June 1961 as an ⅛-mile dragstrip

in Oregon, rodders started Woodburn Drag Strip with men and machines donated by a pictured USMC unit practicing airstrip construction.

In late 1958, the Multnomah Hot Rod Council (produced the first annual Portland Roadster Show in 1956) bought the old West Woodburn Airport strip from the Northwest Timing Association for about $4,000. Even so, the building of the strip was a joint venture between the two groups.

Considerable work had been done prior to the groups selling "stock" early 1959 to raise funds for the paving of the strip. Each "stock" certificate was sold for $1 and granted the purchaser two free admissions to the forthcoming races.

 Initial plans called for it to be a 1/8th-mile strip, paved 60 feet wide by 2000 feet long. It was twelve miles north of Salem. The Multnomah Hot Rod Council and the Northwest Timing Association conducted NHRA-sanctioned races for the first time beginning on June 4, 1961, running gas only, on the Woodburn Dragstrip. About 2,000 spectators turned out to see 75 cars compete.

Dee Wescott was born in Portland Oregon August, 13, 1927. While in grade school the family lost everything in the depression and moved to the Damascus Oregon area where family could help out.

Dee bought his first car in 1939, when he was twelve years old. It was a Model T Ford pickup which, he said, he soon began to modify, rebuilding the motor in his bedroom. A few years later he was racing a Model T roadster through the orchards of Damascus. Dodging trees was a little rough on the cars, so Dee started a backyard repair shop with a homemade wooden hoist, a humble beginning for his future rod-building career.

Dee enlisted in the Navy on graduating high school, while 17. Dee was selected for advanced avionics training and became a radio and radar technician, and served two carrier tours in 1946-1947.

After discharge Dee entered vocational school for both auto mechanics and auto body repair, while working part time for an upholstery shop. In 1953 Dee went into business as “Wescotts Auto Restyling”. The new business specialized in “hot rodding” and “customization” of cars, along with body and fender repair and painting.

By 1953, Dee was involved with the Motor Sports Association which held races at the Jantzen Beach raceway. When a fellow driver was badly burned Dee took on the promoters insisting that they provide and maintain adequate firefighting equipment to prevent further tragedy.

Having proved himself as a leader, Dee was the natural spokesman for the rodders. When the clubs organized the Multnomah Hot Rod Council in 1954, Dee became the first president.

The first order of business was to move the races off of city streets, so the council negotiated for permission to race on idle airstrips until a permanent racing facility could be found. In 1958, the council purchased the Woodburn Drag Strip, and the races became more official.

The Marines and Sea Bees made airstrips all over the south Pacific... during WW2, I suppose it makes sense that DOD leadership probably felt it was a good idea to keep them adept at doing so after WW2, and keep the equipment in use

The military used Catalina island for training during World War II. “A lot of the roads, the infrastructure, was built by the Army Corps back in the ’40s"

This spring, a new concrete runway built by Marines will finish upgrades to Catalina island's airport. Why? Why isn't the Wrigley family, who own's 90% of the island through a "land conservancy" aka legal protection from anyone else doing any construction or development, which means they are about the only beneficiary of the airport, and the 4000 residents... and if you're living on the only island off the California coast, you're not less than rich and well off.

Well, rich people get and stay that way by figuring out how to hang onto money, and spend someone else's money. So, when someone heard of the military reserves getting green lit to be used to do construction as a "military readiness and training" through the Defense Department’s “Innovative Readiness Training” program, they went for it, and now the old, asphalt runway on the island some 50 miles west of Camp Pendleton, used only by privately owned, and chartered jets of the very wealthy, will benefit from the discovery of this military loophole. 

The airport sees about 7,500 landings annually.

I say loophole, as you're probably aware, you can't get the military involved in being stationed on the border, helping with fighting wild fires, or whatever else the high tech and highly trained soldiers could do easier, faster, and better funded than anything in the law enforcement or national park dept can.

MWSS-373 Marines can patch up damaged runways... The 3,000-foot-long by 75-foot-wide runway will require enough high-quality concrete to cover an area more than five acres in size and four inches deep. Instead of handling heavy bags of quick-setting powder, Marines will work with concrete from trucks hauling loads from one of the island’s concrete plants.

So the Catalina project is far larger in scope than rapid runway repair work Marines typically do and more akin to larger-scale runway repair and airfield construction done by Seabees and “RED HORSE” heavy-construction squadrons with the Air Force and Air National Guard.

Several Seabees with Naval Construction Group 1 and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25 from Port Hueneme helped Marines learn the ins-and-outs of working with concrete and rebar, he said. About 120 Marines and some Seabees will work on the project at any given time.

By rotating groups of Marines to Catalina, “we maximize the experience and really take advantage of this opportunity to create a really broad group of Marines who have significant expertise in concrete.”

The Pentagon’s Innovative Readiness Training program started 25 years ago to bolster military readiness while helping local needs. Communities, including remote Native American and Alaska Native villages, request medical, veterinary, cybersecurity, construction or engineering support. Missions often are assigned to reserve units. Some projects are significant, like the long-planned and pending relocation of the Alaskan village of Newtok to higher ground. Others take time. Marine reservists last summer finished a 2,000-foot extension to the Old Harbor airport on Alaska’s Kodiak Island, a project that took six years to complete.

The Catalina Island Conservancy, which owns the airport, (like I said) tapped IRT in early 2017 to help rebuild the nearly 80-year-old runway. Officials didn’t expect to work with Marines.

“We actually were thinking about the Seabees, because we had heard the Seabees do this type of work,” said Cynthia Fogg, the Conservancy’s government liaison and assistant to the president and board. Referrals took them to Port Hueneme, home to West Coast Seabees, and Camp Pendleton, home of I Marine Expeditionary Force. I MEF and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing assigned the Catalina project to MWSS-373 to rebuild the runway, along with input from Naval Construction Group 1, 1st Naval Construction Regiment and Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 25, Fogg said.

The privately run Catalina Airport, nicknamed “Airport-in-the-Sky,” is unusual for its location. It sits at 1,602 feet elevation, at the edge of a cliff. Its Runway 4/22 has a hump in the middle to help slow the speed of Wrigley’s DC-3 airplanes.

Three barges loaded up the squadron’s equipment and supplies in San Pedro, Calif. Several days before Christmas, Marines finished the offload at Cat Harbor and transported the gear 13 miles to the airport. The equipment included graders, compactors, scrapers, 7-ton transport trucks and 84 pallets of meals-ready-to-eat and unitized group rations. The squadron will set up an expeditionary camp at the airport, with large BASE-X tents and a field mess and medical section. The Conservancy is providing an empty hangar and trailers for the Marines to use for maintenance and support. Marines will buy perishable foods locally and tap into the local water supply.

With the first phase completed before Christmas, Marines will arrive by helicopters and start work in early January, Flood said. They’ll do final land surveys, check the grade and compact the ground, and they’ll work in phases to build the forms, lay the rebar and pour the concrete that will daily by trucks.

1946 airport hanger hiding in plain site as a lumber company warehouse

Upon getting discharged from the military in 1944, 45, and 46, guys who had run training programs for pilots and mechanics as part of the war effort, or had been pilots, began looking for land on which to build an airport.

In the beginning, the airports consisted of a runway without any buildings, 'a Plymouth coupe as office and maintenance shop' and one war-surplus airplane.

 Gradually, more planes were acquired and a war surplus Quonset hut was erected. They gave flying lessons, taught aircraft maintenance and other ground crew functions and students took courses under the GI Bill.

Then, by the mid 50s, land values were up past the point of having an airport, and they were sold off and subdivided, the owners made some money as developers, and since this was about the time interest and affordability in surplus planes gave out, and cities grew up and encroached with complaints about the noise, everything seems to have worked out to where small privately owned airports were a great investment, were timed perfectly to flow with the economy, and the interest in aviation. 

Saudi Arabia has threatened the United States to stop using dollars for its oil trades in an attempt to discourage legislators from passing a bill dubbed NOPEC aimed at holding OPEC liable for cartel practices under U.S. law.

The reported threat takes OPEC’s—Saudi Arabia’s—offensive against the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act a step further after last month UAE oil minister, Suhail al-Mazrouei, reportedly told lenders at the meeting that if the bill was made into law that made OPEC members liable to U.S. anti-cartel legislation, the group, which is to all intents and purposes indeed a cartel, would break up and every member would boost production to its maximum.

This would be a repeat of what happened in 2013 and 2014, and ultimately led to another oil price crash like the one that saw Brent crude and WTI sink below US$30 a barrel. As a result, a lot of U.S. shale-focused, debt-dependent producers would go under.

Energy-sector earnings in 2019 are now expected to be down by 11% compared with 2018, based on a 1.5% decline in revenues and a 0.6 percentage-point fall in margins, according to JPMorgan.

Given the sharp rebound in oil, those forecasts may be too grim, the firm’s analysts write. Revenue and margins should start to increase again if oil averages $65 a barrel this year, and earnings would rise by 20% if the price recovers to $70, they say.

Oil is at $62 a barrel, currently.

yeah, do it. Gas was 1.35 a gallon. Go ahead, make my day.

ever consider how much inflation affects your chances at doing fun things, vs your great grandparents generation in the 50s? 5 dollars an hour in 1948, 240 dollars an hour in 2018, same city, same flying lesson

5 an hour, was probably 3 hours wages in 1948 for most people, people who were looking to get some training and learn a new job skill so they could earn more money at a new job, right?

240 an hour? well, not that I know many people making 24 an hour, but that would be three times as many hours working to get the same amount of money. Roughly, but just for simplicity, lets go with it and not dicker about the nit pinking baloney.

so, 5 bucks = 2 hours in 1948
240 bucks = 10 hours in 2018 if you've got a great paying job.
240 bucks = 13 hours at 18 dollar an hour job... 2 days wages, vs 2 hours wages?

inflation is a bitch. Of course, the cost of gas has went from 20 cents a gallon to 3.60.... 18 times as much?

so the price of an airplane for a flying lesson in 1948, who knows, probably military surplus, right?
vs the price of a Cessna, or Cirrus (Chinese name for Aviation Industry Corporation of China, which is owned by the Government of the People's Republic of China) or Piper will be over $100,000

so, sum it all up, a 5 dollar flying lesson? In 1948, was a steal. You could earn that in 2 hours maybe... now, it's 2 days wages, roughly

would you have the ignorance to show up to your bankruptcy hearing, in your personal jet? The big 3 CEOs did just that.

On November 18, 2008, auto execs flew to Washington to plead for an additional $25 billion in TARP funds. Congress had already agreed to lend $25 billion from a program to develop energy efficient vehicles.

Congress refused the automakers' request. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Big Three should return with "... a responsible plan that gives us a realistic chance to get the needed votes." It didn't help the public's opinion of the automakers that the three CEOs flew to DC in corporate jets.

Moving the brand headquarters... has it been just to make corporate leadership more comfortable because they refuse to live in Detroit, which has nothing to offer multi millionaires? Or to revive suffering brands?

GM hired Johan de Nysschen to give Cadillac a make over, and prevent it's slow circling of the drain - because he'd already proven to be very successful at giving new life to Infiniti and Audi.

Seems like a logical decision, right? Hire the makever artist who's already proven to work miracles.

Then what? Give them the rope to hang themselves? de Nysschen moved the corporate HQ of Cadillac to where the money was, and the people who buy Cadillacs... NYC.

de Nysschen’s first decision was to move Cadillac’s marketing operations and about 250 employees from Detroit to a premier West Side Manhattan address at 330 Hudson Street, between Tribeca and Greenwich Village. That project cost about $12.7 million. CEO Barra was okay with the move.

Seriously, what's the ratio of caddys sold in Detroit vs NYC... or even Michigan vs NYC?

Ok, makes sense. But then, he took to facebook, and I quote "I'm accused of moving the entire company just because I prefer to live in New York".. well, who can blame him? I was born and raised in Michigan, and I left 2 days after graduating high school, because other than family and beautiful outdoors  - there wasn't much to offer someone who needed a job, job training, and a look at the rest of the world before getting planted 6 feet under. Seriously, there are about 7 insects that just want to drain your blood, constantly, and annoy the shit out of you every waking and sleeping moment from Easter to Halloween. But there are no growing businesses, there are no available jobs for high school grads, and there are few chances to date anyone your not related to for 50 miles, unless you've got a car and a lot of gas money. 

Compare that to, oh, lets take California for example... more people than mosquitoes, no leeches, no ticks, no deer flies and horse flies. I don't think I've seen a hornet or wasp, but that might be just chance. On the other topic, I'm related to half the people in the town I grew up in, but in California? not a single relative, and more chances to date on a single city block, than in the entire high school I graduated from. Plus, you can quit, or get fired, and get another job the same week, 50 times a year. And never run out of jobs. Back in Michigan? You better keep that job, as there aren't any openings, and won't be any any time soon. 

So, de Nysschen moved Cadillac HQ to New York, and news of plummeting sales destroyed reputation faster than sound sales practices could improve it. Struggles with the dealer body over factory-mandated showroom upgrades introduced friction. Bold new marketing thrusts such as Book by Cadillac (pay a monthy fee, then order up any Cadillac model as needed) never got traction. Expensive advertising campaigns showing emaciated, scraggly-bearded, tight-jacketed metrosexuals posed in rain-drenched back alleys, urging the viewer to Dare Greatly—at what?—flopped miserably.

And in 4 years, the experiment to revive Cadillac was over, de Nysschen left General Motors 

He unapologetically challenged leadership and the Cadillac team, while drawing the ire of many U.S. dealers with an ambitious -- and contentious -- Project Pinnacle plan to overhaul the brand and its retailers.

In the end, GM couldn't change de Nysschen and he didn't change Cadillac quickly enough to satisfy GM's top brass, who replaced him with GM veteran Steve Carlisle, head of the company's Canadian operations.

Ford tried moving it's premiere auto group to Irvine... Jaguar, Aston Martin, Volvo, Land Rover, and Lincoln to share parts and engineering in order to cut costs, but just in time for the great recession, and sold off 3 of them before the 2008 bankruptcy. It still went for the govt bailout, "so it wouldn't suffer by competing with subsidized companies."

When Alan Mulally became Ford's President and CEO in September 2006, the Premier Automotive Group began to be dismantled.

 Ford sold 92% of Aston Martin, to a consortium of investors, headed by David Richards in 2007.
 In March 2008, Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors.
In 2010, Ford sold the Swedish brand Volvo Cars, the last of the PAG, to the parent of Chinese carmaker Geely for $1.8 billion.

GM's bailout... they had $82 billion in assets and $172.8 billion in liabilities. They were still giving raises to the boardroom.

in 2007 Toyota became the world’s leading automaker by meeting global demand for smaller cars.

Do you know what Ford, GM, and Chrysler still don't do? Build small 2 door cars

While Toyota was building plants in the United States, GM was closing them. Instead of changing, GM offered zero percent financing to sell SUVs and other large vehicles.

It was able to do this through its lending arm, General Motors Acceptance Corporation. It was formed in 1919 to provide loans to General Motors' auto purchases. It expanded to include insurance, online banking, mortgage operations, and commercial finance. Its mortgage operations were full of toxic debt. As a result, title insurer Old Republic announced it would stop insuring GMAC's mortgages.

The initial $18.4 billion bailout was not enough. In April, GM borrowed another $2 billion. On May 2, 2009, GM stock fell below $1 a share for the first time since the Great Depression. That forced it to require another $4.4 billion to stay afloat.

On June 1, 2009, GM entered bankruptcy. It had $82 billion in assets and $172.8 billion in liabilities. That month, sales hit their low point of 9.545 million cars and trucks.

The government lent GM $30.1 billion to fund operations through June and July while it went through bankruptcy reorganization. It also guaranteed GM's extended warranties. In return, it bought 60 percent of the company in warrants for common stock and preferred stock. The Canadian government bought 12 percent. A union health trust received 17.5 percent stock ownership. That was in lieu of the $20 billion needed to cover benefits for 650,000 retirees. Bondholders received 10 percent stock ownership in lieu of $27 billion in bonds.

Stockholders lost all their investment.

GM promised to repay the $30 billion loan by 2012 when it planned to break even. The company pledged to cut its debt by $30 billion by converting debt ownership for equity. It agreed to pay union health care benefits to retirees by 2010. It promised to sell its Saab, Saturn, and Hummer divisions, reducing the number of models for sale to 40. It shut down 11 factories, closed 40 percent of its 6,000 dealerships, and cut more than 20,000 jobs.

Government funding also provided the following incentives for new car buyers:

The government backed all new car warranties.
The economic stimulus bill allowed new car buyers to deduct all car sales and excise taxes.
Congress approved TARP-funded subsidies of zero percent financing for some Chrysler vehicles.
The government intended to make GM more efficient. That would allow it to become profitable when sales returned to 10 million vehicles a year. That happened in July 2009, when sales hit 10.758 million.

GM emerged from bankruptcy on July 10, 2009, as two separate companies. Old GM held most of the debt. New GM held the assets, $17 billion in debt, the contract with unions, and its underfunded pension funds. This allowed it to move forward as a profitable company. The new company only has four brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, and Buick. The company sold Saab and discontinued Saturn and Hummer.

In April 2010, New GM repaid its $6.7 billion TARP loan.

In November 2010, Treasury revealed it would sell half its ownership of GM. That sale allowed an initial public offering on the stock market of $33 a share. It had already gotten back $37.2 billion by selling its ownership in GM.

In November 2013, the Treasury Department announced it would sell its remaining 31.1 million shares in GM. In December 2014, Treasury sold its remaining shares in Ally Financial.

history moves pretty fast, and is forgotten REALLY quickly. In under 50 years everyone forgot there was an airstrip where a neighborhood adjacent to SDSU is now

A 1952 aerial view showed the remains of the Gillies Airport runway, above

and there is no evidence of it, at all, an any map or aerial photo now.

“With the end of WW2 the Gillies family arrived in San Diego and made an offer to the Jehovah’s Witnesses for that land, then resorted to legal means to acquire it, and since churches don't pay taxes, guess where the local courts went on the decisions? Getting rid of Jehovah’s Witnesses was a bonus for the locals, I suppose. Residential development began in 1948 and lots were for sale for $5,000.

Marketing materials noted that you could fly in and out with your own plane, then taxi it over to your own lot and house.

1946, which was probably the single year in which the most airports were ever established across the U.S

the X-400 Pontiac Grand Prix

do NOT toss water on a burning tuk tuk

someone stood around at the racetrack and took great photos of the cars getting pushed to the track... I wish they'd taken a great photo of every car there to race

notice that behind this Super Bird is a Mercury transporter rig

Buick Roadmaster


a gift idea for the crusty ol retiree who talks about how soft the new guys are, and how easy they have it... the iron butt award

one hell of a bus, and the most impressive side curtains I've ever seen

underground mining technique, not much on wheels, but interesting as it's why the mining equipment with wheels exists

Thursday, April 04, 2019

there once was a bridge, quite impressive looking... but a couple kids walked into the tube, and the roof caught on fire from their torch. That's why kids need parents to keep an eye on them

The Britannia Bridge connects Anglesey to the Welsh mainland. The original bridge, designed by Robert Stephenson, opened on 5 March 1850 to carry trains running to Holyhead Station. The entrance to the original bridge was adorned by four large limestone lions, two at each end, sculpted by John Thomas. The lions remain in place today, but are sadly hidden by the new bridge and are only visible from the train.

On 23 May 1970, children playing inside the train tunnel dropped a burning torch which ignited the wooden roof of the tunnel. The fire spread along the bridge and severely damaged the metal structure, leading to the bridge requiring rebuilding. The current bridge opened to trains in 1972, with the road carrying the A55 running above the trains tracks opening in 1980.

oday, the lions that once had pride of place at the entrance to the tubular bridge are still in place but below the the road surface so not seen (see photos above).