Saturday, April 13, 2024

Do you recall the 1994 film with Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce, about drag queens with a bus in Austalia? "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" an Oscar-winning smash hit. Thank you Raymond G!

Not long after the 1994 film became a smash hit, the titular bus disappeared. Where did it go? Who had it? But for years, no one has known where the bus used in Stephan Elliott’s film went. Not long after the 38-day shoot finished in 1993, it seemingly vanished without a trace.

For years, the bus was the white whale for curatorial staff at the History Trust of South Australia, who hoped to acquire it for the National Motor Museum in Birdwood, SA

But in 2019, they got a call from a man claiming the bus was sitting on his property in Ewingar, New South Wales (population: 67) and he wanted to sell it.  By that time, the bus had been languishing outdoors for a decade. In the years following, it survived multiple bushfires and floods. In October 2019, when huge flames came within centimetres of the bus, a water bomb struck it and saved it.

it had the right number plates, the distinctive animal print curtains and dashboard cover, and the original name roller,” says Adam Paterson, manager curatorial at the History Trust.

The bus was purchased in 2023, and transported to Brisbane (I've been there! Lovely small city!) 

“We are restoring it to the state it was in during the making of Priscilla because the film is why it is significant,” says Rees. “So if the crew say it was a bit manky then, then it’s going to be that way when we’re done with it.”

But Priscilla was almost 20 years old when she featured in the film and will turn 50 in two years’ time, so she needs a lot of work, and a lot of money, and the History Trust is hoping people around the world will help raise A$2.2m (US$1.4m/£1.1m) – a total that includes A$750,000 for an extensive restoration, including possibly making the bus roadworthy again.

The rest will go to building an ambitious “immersive” exhibit, fit for a queen, in the National Motor Museum in South Australia. (The SA government has already committed $100,000.)

REM, a handheld "power stick" that works completely independent of the user's skateboard, might be a good alternative to electric skateboards


Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, REM is being developed by Barcelona-based startup Limitless Propulsions.

The setup has a top speed of 25 mph along with a complete lack of brakes – the onus is upon users to stop themselves as they normally would, without a motor.

Power is provided by a 44.4V lithium battery which is claimed to be good for a range of about 12 miles per charge.

Of course, if the battery runs out, the skateboard can still be used on its own. In fact, one of the big selling points of REM is the fact that it leaves the user's board light, sleek and unaltered, instead of being weighed down and cluttered with a motor and battery.

A Polish farmer was working a field with a plow when a part broke off and was lost in the dirt. When looking for it, he found an extremely rare German 1596 coin!

The search team brought the coin to the museum for analysis, where it was determined to be a Renaissance thaler, a type of coin minted in silver from the German state of the Duchy of Saxony, a region in the northern region of modern-day Germany.

 The discovery was made in Duniewo, near the northern coast of Poland on the Baltic Sea.

Causes me to wonder, just how many things of historical wonder have been found by farmers

In the early 1970's, The Wheelmen and member Dr. Charles Hetzel started compiling a list of bicycle brands made in America. They found 2925 bicycle brands between 1878 and 1918.

strange bit of license plate trivia...

 What do you think of that? 

Friday, April 12, 2024

carrying extra tracks and using them as armor... damn good idea. The Liberation of Arnhem 15th April 1945

one of nineteen Skytrains shot down by flak west of Bastogne on 27 December 1944. It landed safely behind American lines

The aircraft was from the 94th Troop Carrier Squadron, 439th Troop Carrier Group, and was baptized ‘Aint Missbehavin’ by the crew. Photo taken on 30 December 1944.

The pilot, Captain Ernie Turner of the C-47 cargo transport crash landed safely after having dropped supplies to elements of the 101st Airborne Division which had successfully repulsed all attempts to capture the besieged city of Bastogne, Belgium.

thieves have stolen more than a dozen vintage 1920s-era bronze streetlight poles from Pasadena

only one B-29 became the only bomber to become a jet ace

Although 57 Superfortresses were lost to enemy action, B-29 gunners are credited with 27 enemy kills. The most notable of these was the B-29 named Command Decision, with a record five MiG-15 kills; the world's only bomber "jet ace."

In addition to their five jet kills, the crew flew a total of 121 combat missions and dropped 2,500,000 millions pounds of bombs.

A group of five Airmen, led by Master Sgt. Jenkins, 22nd Maintenance Squadron flight chief, have been volunteering their time for a special project: restoring the B-29 "Doc"

The team has dedicated countless hours to repairing and manufacturing cables that previously deemed Doc unflyable.

Fred Smith, decorated Marine Vietnam vet has been named the 2024 Military Veteran of the Year by Military Times. He is the founder of FedEx

Post-service, he followed the entrepreneurial family tradition and founded Federal Express on June 18, 1971. He used his family inheritance and raised around what would be $690M in today's dollars in venture capital to start the firm. The company initially had 14 Falcon-20 jets to service 25 cities.

Smith once used the last $5,000 that Federal Express had and gambled it in Las Vegas playing Blackjack, turning it into $27,000. The winnings covered the firm's fuel bill of $24,000. 

The Corps played a critical influence on the culture and organization of his company, which included the USMC company grade and NCO leadership tenets serving as key components of the FedEx Manager guide and FedEx Operating manual. 

He made sure veterans were taken care of as well. Smith explained, "If you could fly, drive a truck, or lift a box, if you served in Vietnam, you had a job."

He serves on the board of many high-level companies such as General Mills, EW Scripps, Autozone and as the chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council. Of note, he donated $65M to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation in 2022, which is the largest private gift the organization has ever received.

it's arguable that the most famous aircraft from World War II was the Memphis Bell, or, the Enola Gay. But have you heard of Marge, the P38? I haven't. Have you heard of Richard Bong? I haven't. But, he's America’s top flying ace

Bong was a deft pilot who seized the P-38’s monster weaponry to claim his first two aerial kills in December 1942 over Buna, New Guinea. At five aerial victories a month later, he earned the title “ace.”

In April 1944, he exceeded the 26 aerial kills claimed by America’s top World War I ace, Edward Rickenbacker, making Bong the highest scoring ace in U.S. history, a title still standing. 

During a rescue mission in New Guinea, Bong was flying overhead while three fellow pilots took a small rubber boat across a lake to reach a pilot who had been missing in the jungle. As he circled above, Bong noticed a crocodile trailing close behind his comrades in the boat. Dropping his plane low to glide along the water, Bong hit the crocodile with a 20 mm round, blasting away the animal and saving his crew, earning himself a story typically only found in legends.

Along the way he was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross and Medal of Honor. 

I wondered about the art of his wife, as it's really out of the question that anyone was talented enough to paint that, and Joe (Thank you Joe!) sent me a couple links today, and one explained that it's a blown up picture from her graduation photo, and he glued it onto his plane. For more about her life story, see

On March 24, 1944, another pilot, 2nd Lt. Tom Malone, was flying Bong’s plane on a weather reconnaissance mission over New Guinea when electrical malfunctions forced him to bail out at about 11,000 feet. The plane crashed, and it's location are unknown, so, the search will begin soon to find it. 

 Bong, who was promoted to major, went on to fly more missions in other planes, racking up 40 aerial victories before he was brought back to the U.S. mainland in early 1945. There, he married, hawked war bonds and became a test pilot for the first jet fighters. 

Bong’s untimely death later that year should have been major news, but it was eclipsed by a cataclysmic event. He crashed while flying a P-80 Shooting Star jet fighter shortly after taking off in Southern California on Aug. 6, 1945, the same day America dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Who knew they referenced OJ in Shrek?

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Ford Motor Company Station Wagon Body Ready for Shipment, Kingsford, ca. 1940- 1949

it had it's own fire department naturally, because all that wood needs fire protection!,%20Dickinson%20County,%20Michigan%20-%20Ford%20Plant.pdf

Michigan Speedway, August 1969

Cycling began in the late-19th century as a gimmick to sell newspapers

Newspapers thought that they could increase sales by covering cycling races. The longer the distance the better for the newspapers. They would create their own cycling competitions to increase the sales at their newspapers.

Henri Desgrange owner of L'Auto and he launched the first Tour de France as a way to sell newspapers, bike racing would promote sales of L'Auto and crush competing road races by Le Velo.

the yellow jersey was first introduced in 1919 mid tour so spectators could identify the leader. It was yellow because that was the color of the paper that L'Auto was printed on.

next year they are going to open the worlds largest time capsule... and there is a car inside


the Motown label, which came out of Detroit (The “Mo” in “Motown” refers to the Motor City). Plus, Motown founder and Detroit native Berry Gordy Jr. — the man who signed the band in 1962 — had spent the early part of his career as an assembly line worker at the Ford Motor Company. That time profoundly influenced the music he would later produce.

“The quality control element of Motown was something that [Gordy] picked up directly from working in a car factory,” says Adam White, author of "Motown: The Sound of Young America." “He understood how everything had to be at a level of quality and integrated it, which was unusual for a music company, in his business. So some records were thrown out because they weren't good enough, just like a car that would come through and a part wasn't fixed on well enough.”

Gordy wrote songs while on the assembly line, but didn’t fully make the leap into music until 1958, when he got an $800 loan from his family

new cars insurance costs are soaring, jumping 22% since this time last year, according to Reuters. That's the largest insurance cost increase since the 1970s. ( I just learned about this last week)

According to Insurify, insurance costs for new cars skyrocketed 24% in 2023 and, while that rise is projected to slow down in 2024, it's still going to increase by 7% this year.

 An even more disturbing figure, per Insurify, is that increases to insurance rates outpaced wages by a staggering 638% last year.

The insurance industry as a whole, which includes the health, property, and auto insurance companies, has reportedly spent $3.6 billion in lobbying since 1998, making the industry the top second spender between 1998 and 2023. The insurance industry was only beat by the pharmaceutical and health products sector which spent $5.9 billion during the same timeframe.

I found that my insurance had grown 30% over the past two years from 750 every 6 months for my 2015 Veloster, to 1150.

That's 2300 a year for a car that's possibly worth only 7k. 

Stupid, right? So, I called up Allstate to ask about lowering my maxed out coverage (100 300 to 50 100) and they stated that the difference would be 90 dollars less for bare bones insurance. 

So why bother lowering the coverage when you save no real actual money? 

Volvo is celebrating its 97th birthday with the opening of what it calls "World of Volvo" in the company’s hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. It opens to the public on Sunday, April 14

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

there is a time to back up... and there is a time to BACK THE EFF UP MORE! This was something like MORE and GTFOH!

Somehow, the Plymouth XNR is in the opening scene of the Fallout tv show that just started on Amazon Prime (starring Walter Goggins (also was in Worlds Fastest Indian and Sons of Anarchy))

I haven't seen it since 2018 but the better post about it is this one 

the VW bus that Mike Sinyard sold to pay for his trip to Europe, which is where he happened upon the right contacts that led to importing parts…which is how Specialized started. (Mike's the founder)

the Drag Stripper that Specialized has in their museum

Urban Cowboy, by Specialized

I haven't seen this bullshit since a ghetto in Boston in 1990

Who the hell goes out stealing wheels anymore?

Recommending an episode of Jason Mamoa's new show, On The Roam.... number 6.

 He goes to to the Goodwood Revival, stops by Mike Wolfe's place and they head out on a ride on stock original 36 Harleys, then he goes to Billy Zane's, then stops by Specialized bicycles near San Jose, and has them build a couple board trackers, and mentions that as a teen he worked at a cycle shop, Lee Cyclery,  in Ft Collins Colorado. I bet they wish he'd stop by and say hi! 

Specialized has a museum at their shop in Morgan Hill Ca. 

By the way, in epsiode 7, he hangs out at the Fender guitar shop in Corona, hangs out with Billy Gibbons, hangs out with Les Claypool, bassist for Primus, who was also part of the recent documentary of Geddy Lee's, the bassist from Rush. Yup, I watched that too, I love guitars (and yes, one of these days I'll quit blogging to learn to play guitar, and music theory, and to read music... 

Then Jason stops by Brooklyn to meet Carl Thompson. 

some adverse events in life can result in business partnerships, when companies recognize your passion for something they too are involved in (unless it's blogging about car stuff, no company has wanted to hire me... hmmm)

After getting wrecked by someone in the race, Joey Gase grabbed the rear bumper cover from his wrecked race car, and threw it at Dawson Cram's windshield

Bumpers That Deliver took notice, and decided to partner up for the free publicity (hell, I'm doing it right now) and sponsor Gase. The auto parts manufacturer first appeared on Gase’s rear bumper at Martinsville, one week after the incident, and will provide full support for Gase’s No. 53 NASCAR Ford at Michigan for the Xfinity Race on August 17th.

Batmobiles through the ages imagined by the incredibel artist and photographer, Stefan Marjoram

I loved this!

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

there are a lot of interesting things on the internet, but sometimes you only come across them by accident,%20July.pdf

Jason Mamoa has a traveling adventure documentary show, on Max streaming service... and the first episode is about building a 1936 Harley, a bunch of guys focused on the early Harley's, who want to race up hills on really old Harleys.

 So, he met a LOT of hardcore vintage bikers, and vintage bike racers, and Mike (American Pickers) and bought the original stock parts of 1936 Harleys that Mike had collected, and had a 36 built. 

And he bought a Harley DH, and had it scanned into a 3D computer file, so exact replica castings could create three new 36 Harleys, so he and his bike club "The Roamers" can go hill climbing, as men once did on early Harleys. A project that started around two years ago, but just got to Max a couple months ago

Because only 12 original DHs were made, no 4 were ever together, running at the same time, and only a handful of guys have ever ridden one. Until now. 

Ford is targeting Subaru owners with a conquest incentive for the Bronco family,

in recent months, Ford has launched those types of incentives that aim to get Challenger/Charger and Camaro owners to purchase a new Ford Mustang, as well as existing Jeep owners a discount on a new Bronco.

But the Subaru incentive only applies to the Seattle area. A Subaru stronghold of loyalty

Monday, April 08, 2024

Here's one you've never heard of, National Union Electric Company who owned the Henney Motor Company, and the Exide Battery Corporation, bought Renaults, and made them electric in 1960! (thank you Paul Z!)

Initial marketing of the vehicle was to electric utilities. The start and stop feature of an electric vehicle fit with certain industry jobs such as meter readers and bill collectors. It also was a good runabout for workers at large utility plants.

The 1960 model had a little more oomph, said Kemp. It had 12 six-volt batteries, a top speed of 60 mph, and a range of 60 miles.

The sticker price was $3,500

Sunday, April 07, 2024

interesting idea, made with an impressive team. But it didn't take off. Probably too many crop sprayers operating dirt cheap with old planes to warrant anyone investing in an expensive upgrade

A development of the 1950s-era, purpose-built Grumman Super Ag Cat biplane, it replaced the Ag Cat’s single 600 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial engine with two 310 hp Lycoming TIO-540 flat-6 engines.

Rather than being offered as a complete, factory-built aircraft, the Twin Cat was a modification offered in the form of a supplemental type certificate (STC). The Twin Cat Corporation targeted Ag Cat operators wishing for more easily serviceable engines with increased overhaul intervals and multiengine redundancy, and the company offered to travel to the customer for on-site modification of their Ag Cats.

The Twin Cat’s total fuel consumption was the same as that of the single-engine radial Ag Cat. They also claimed the new layout improved forward visibility, prop clearance, and spray dispersion.

The company had some impressive experience at the helm. The president had overseen the development of a turboprop conversion of the Grumman Albatross and was assisted by the former chief test pilot at the general aviation division of Rockwell International. Most of the test flights were flown by Herman “Fish” Salmon, retired chief engineering test pilot of Lockheed.

car club newsletter award

only days after watching the 3 Body Problem, and seeing the Austin Healey 3000, I see one on The Gentlemen

I am watching the Steve Martin documentary and they took a moment to show how immense his influence was on the late 70s culture, here's a nice example

a real street sign in Bakersfield, but you'll probably never see it there... it keeps getting stolen by Korn fans.

The street was named to honor Korn on Feb. 24, 2006

The sign has been stolen and replaced at least 6 times.

The cars weren't as futuristic as the convention hall they were displayed in... they sure looked weird though, and were the early stages of what designers had to go through to get to cool looking concepts

Lets say, someone out there disagrees with me. Take another look at that 4 door. It's hideous. 

I just got an email from Bob G in New York... check out his teenage car! Did 11s in the 1/4! Thank you Bob!

I owned an authentic 1969 Ford Cobra ( Torino) 428 SCJ motor, modified as most teenaged cars of the times were. But, as you look closer at the attached pictures, the interior has been modified extensively as well.

In the early 70's I was a carpenter and helped friends with custom van interiors. Paneling was very popular in these custom vans. Some how I came up with idea I could lower weight by removing the rear seat and a little structure. 

Ultimately, a flat deck was constructed with paneling and being a fastback, the back window turned out to be quite nice to view stars with my girlfriend. :) Car ran high 11's in the 1/4 mile. Note, your favorite wheels of the day also :)  (slotted mags!) (Really shiny too!)

Space pilot

 well done!