Saturday, September 29, 2012

The last cruise-in of the summer of 2012

A very nice 1973 BMW 2002.  The car had numerous decals indicating track time at Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen.

The above three photos are from a 1973 Cougar XR-7 Eliminator. Nice car, but by 1973 the vehicle was getting heavy an overdone.

The above two photos are of a 1963 Volvo P1800. This is a very nice car. The owner showed me around it, and has discovered that actually it was made of three 1800s. So there is a Pressed Steel tag up front along with a Gotburg tag.  Similar kinds of evidence exist in the rear of the car. It has Weber carbs and is nicely set up.

An early MGB -- how early I do not know. It had an original Nisonger radio, the first I have seen in some time.
A nice early 1950s lightly customized ford -- note the Frenched headlights!

A good night weather-wise for the last cruise-in at Beavercreek, Ohio.  I had an adventure as well, as I noted that the Porsche was not starting briskly when I left the house for the event. That became a crisis of sorts when I attempted to leave the cruise-in, as the car would not turn over.  I got a jump, but as I was going home I noticed electricals were  fading -- dash lights, radio light, etc.  Turned off my headlights near home to conserve the battery,which I was running off of, and made it home. Today I discovered a loose wire going from the alternator to the voltage reagulator, which explained why the battery drained down and there was at the same time no red light coming on!  Should be repaired as of this afternoon -- I'll see in an hour or two when the battery is recharged and I take the car out for a spin

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Before the Garmin or Tom-Tom -- the 1939 "Arrow-Auto-Touring Chart"

Hi folks - a very neat pre-WWII travel calculator. This one is at the Library of Congress Maps division.  Note routes to and from New York World's Fair and the Golden Gate Exposition held in San Francisco in 1939. Certainly you need a good navigator, but no need to worry  about folding the map back. Anyone have one for sale?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Old English White 1964 MGB

A photo taken by Ed Garten at the recent Dayton Concours.  It was only a year or two after the B got into the market that the folks at MG switched to a "white" white.  Old English white is what we today would think of more like a cream color. This is an example of an early B, in my opinion the best one to have. You get the advantages of roll up windows and a light, free of emissions-controlled B engine. With clean, small bumpers, this car is to die for!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

1916 Bathing Beauties with a Paige-Detroit automobile

Hi folks -- it has always been about cars and girls....

Paige-Detroit automobile with 'Bathing Beauties' / photo by Harry M. Rhoads.


Women in bathing suits pose on a Paige-Detroit automobile in Denver, Colorado. One woman holds a banner that reads: "Paige".

Title and "dressed in 1916 bathing attire. Automobile manufactured from 1908 to 1927" hand-written on back of print.

Your Car -- an interesting primary cultural source for auto history, mid-1920s

Hi folks -- this source is digitized at the Library of Congress and available online via American Memory. Some very interesting articles, including one on auto theft that I will use..

President Calvin Coolidge , The AAA, the Highway Gang, and his Lincoln

Hi folks -- from the Library of Congress, a few images from the mid-1920s depicting President Calvin Coolidge

 [President Coolidge in automobile at D.A.R. Hall, where he attended a meeting of the American Red Cross].
 [Charles A. Frazer presents President Coolidge with an American Automobile Association emblem before a small gathering of AAA members on the White House lawn].
 Chauffeur seated in new automobile of President Coolidge.
President Coolidge standing with members of the Highway Education Board on the White House lawn]

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Dayton Concours, September 16, 2012 -- A Pontiac Chieftain and a Cyclops

Hi folks -- yesterday was glorious!  Below are two contributions from Ed Garten. While I judged yesterday, I did not take photos of the event.  Judging was difficult, and I was part of a team of three doing American Classics, 1930-1942. While a 1941 Maroon Cadillac was the class winner, a few other vehicles stood out. There was a 1936 dark green Packard that had its original paint and interior, with 32,000 or so original miles!  And my favorite, from Centerville, was a 1935 Bentley 4 place roadster with a Ward Body, finished with a blue interior and steering wheel. The owner was incredibly knowledgeable about this car, and had purchased it from David Scott-Moncrief in 1965.  Originally owned by a lady living in Devon, England, all I could imagine last night was taking that car with the top down on the winding roads facing the sea in a world yet to be turned upside down by the winds of WWII.

A very nice Indian Head hood ornament on a early 50s Pontiac.  This was the exact color of one that one of my aunts owned.  When she would visit us she'd typically stay until dusk or dark and as she'd get ready to go, I'd beg her to turn the lights on so that I could see the Indian Head light up.  This one at the car show today is clearly a reproduction as the early ones, after a few years, would "crackle" and develop a nice patina.  Nonetheless, while there may have been other "light up" hood ornaments, I know of no others apart from the ones that Pontiac created.
While Pontiac is now an orphan marque, one wonders if the Indian Head would now be viewed as politically incorrect?

How does one judge a "Cyclops" (is this a real car?) as seen today at the Carillon Park Concours d'Elegance? See two attached photos I took today of this car owned by a couple from Beavercreek.
Not much available about the "vehicle" on Internet apart from the following:
How does Stan Mott and Robert Cumberford created the Cyclops II, an iconic car, in 1957. It was introduced in Road and Track's March 1957 issue in an article titled 'Beyond Belief.' The car was road tested in the September 1957 Road and Track issue and from there 22 more Cyclops articles were run over the last 53 years.

Glen and Matt Thomas built this Cyclops II from scratch in 2010. It was a father and son project, which started with the picture of Stan Mott in the original, a three view drawing of the Cyclops II and the road test article with the overall dimensions. Glenn developed a layout using a go-cart drive and steering type system. They built the car in their garage using simple tools such as circular saw, drill press, hand jigsaw and a 110 Mig welder. The rolled panels were accomplished using a homemade roller, which consisted of a pipe sitting on wood. The basic materials are 16-gauge steel and 3/4-inch plywood for the floor.

Cyclops II Wows Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance Biggest Crowd

The smell of overheated olive oil and scorched Cinzano filled the air as Cyclops enthusiasts of the rare Italian breed flocked to the 17th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance last March to see, in person and up close one, of 2-1/2 surviving, running examples from the famed house of Automobili Cyclops SpA. The mighty V-1 engined Cyclops II is the latest of the noble Italian breed that has charmed and inspired, confused and bewildered American enthusiasts, car buyers and customs officials since 1957.

Cyclops won no cup, trophy or ribbon at the 17th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance but it did draw the most attention on the Concours field strewn wîth significant competition machines and multi-million dollar collector cars. The 1957 Cyclops II is the rarest automobile ever displayed at The Amelia.

Created by Stan Mott and Robert Cumberford and manufactured by Italian automotive genius Piero Martini, the Cyclops II is minimalist transportation to the point of abject torture (fetal seating position). American Cyclops importers Trebor Crunchcog and T. Tom Meshingear were said to be present as current owner, Glenn Thomas of Beavercreek, Ohio, brought the lone surviving base model Cyclops II to Amelia, and parked it on the field amongst a heady collection of motoring giants. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Mott passed the reviewing stands in a tribute to the eight significant cars on Amelia's 'Field of Dreams'. It is rumored that the equally rare Cyclops 'Fantistico' is in private hands somewhere in Michigan.

This Cyclops' automotive hubris typifies the spirit of European auto manufacturing following WWII and before such niceties as wind tunnels, hand held calculators, CFD and the Arabic numerals. The Cyclops II is thought to be the only car built after the Franco-Prussian War that used only Roman numerals during the design stage. Hence the name, Cyclops II.

The Cyclops answered questions that no one dared ask about personal transportation and individual mobility. Its minimalist design and manufacturing philosophy created a car that shamed the efforts of Volkswagen, Renault, FIAT, Isetta and Hotpoint.

Making a mockery of the discipline of planned obsolescence, the Cyclops II was a car for the ages. The Cyclops' design is basic, simple, straightforward, inexpensive and easy to manufacture wîth basic hand tools. Marketing them in the 1950s to an America in love wîth fins, chrome, horsepower, style, ride, performance, comfort, reliability and value was the heady job tackled by American Cyclops Importers Crunchcog and Meshingear. However, Cyclops' extraordinary victories in competition over the years, as reported in the august journal Road & Track, winning LeMans in 1960, The East African Safari in 1964, The Targa Florio in 1965, the Indy 500 in 1968, the Nurburgring in 1969, the Japanese Grand Prix 1971 and the Great Wall of China Grand Prix in 1972 did help sales.

Some feel the Cyclops is not a car for automotive connoisseurs or, for that matter, anyone who'd actually driven a real car. It fits at Amelia exactly because it's one of those rare cars that allow us to answer that trite age old question 'Are we having fun yet?' wîth a hearty, 'Yes we are!' This fun was graphically captured in a genuine cartoon (above) wîth one of the most attractive ladies at the 2012 event expressing her appreciation of Cyclops charm.

In true concours spirit the Cyclops II was driven to and from the field by its owners and was last seen racing a Goggomobil and a 1906 17 liter Pomeraner once thought owned by the Duke of Hess-Pless-Heth through nearby Fernandina Beach at speeds approaching XCVI kilometers per hour

Sunday, September 16, 2012

More Donk Photos

The owners of these cars are absolutely nuts!  Why would anyone put that kind of money into a ehicle that is so impractical and actually anything but cool.  Stupid.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Ultimate Chic Convertibles -- The Boys will go Crazy!

                                        Elle McPherson gets the first Fiat 500 convertible
                                              2012 VW Golf and happy sisterhood
                                                  Heidi Klum and a VW Barbie Beetle
                                                  2 Texas Beauties and a 1965 Mustang
                                            A Hollywood Beauty and a Ferrari California

What will make a woman better -- Botox injections or to get behind the wheel of a great convertible?  I'd say the convertible, which has the potential of making a wallflower into a hot item.  

Live a little and buy an elegant convertible.  Men will let you down, but a good car will renew your spirit about life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why it is important to buy from bonded vehicle dealers?

Why it is important to buy from bonded vehicle dealers?

Whether you’re in the market for a new, used or classic car, you know working with a trustworthy dealer is an important part of the process that can make or break your car buying experience. Unfortunately, you also know that finding such a dealer isn’t always as easy as it should be. You probably know at least one friend or family member who was ripped off by a selfish, unethical dealer. To help limit the amount of auto dealer fraud that takes place within the market, government agencies enforce a number of different policies. One of the most common is the use of auto dealer surety bonds.
Before we get started, let’s quickly review how surety bonds work and why they’re required.
Surety bonds function as legally binding contracts that join three parties together. The principal is the auto dealer who buys the bond as a financial guarantee of future work performance. The obligee is the government agency that requires the bond as a way to reinforce industry regulations and protect consumers from financial loss. The surety  is the insurance company that issues the bond and provides a financial guarantee of the dealer’s ability to perform according to bond terms.
Now that you know how bonds work, let’s talk about the two main reasons buyers should buy from bonded dealers.

1. Bonded car dealers are likely to comply with licensing laws.

Dealers in 47 states are required to file a surety bond before they can be legally licensed to sell cars. In some states dealers have to be legally licensed and bonded even if they intend to sell no more than two or three vehicles a year. Surety providers don’t issue bonds to dealers who are likely to break licensing laws because then they’d have to pay out claims. As such, if your dealer is licensed and bonded, chances are he follows whatever auto dealer licensing laws apply in your area. So, when you find an auto dealer you’d like to work with, be sure to check with your local auto dealer licensing agency to verify that he’s legally licensed and bonded.

2. The bond’s financial guarantee protects you from fraudulent dealers.

Depending on the bond’s legal language, the bond amount could be used to reimburse buyers if a dealer
  • fails to disclose accurate mileage
  • sells stolen vehicles
  • fails to provide a vehicle title
  • otherwise misrepresents facts about a vehicle to its purchaser
  • uses other fraudulent sales tactics
If the auto dealer commits these atrocities or breaks the bond’s terms in another way, harmed parties can make a claim on the bond. If the claim is found to be valid, the harmed parties will be compensated for their losses. It’s easy to see why surety bond protection is so valuable to maintaining the integrity of the auto industry.
Danielle Rodabaugh is the chief editor of the Surety Bonds Insider, a publication that tracks news related to the surety industry. As a part of the publication’s educational outreach program, Danielle helps consumers better understand the role bonding plays in the auto industry.

Still Car Guys and Car Girls.....After All These Years

A contribution from Ed Garten:
The attached photo was taken around May 1948 and hows four "first cousins" with their Grandmother Garten.  That is me in the middle having just been born a few months earlier and beside me the "Garten Twins" having been born a few months prior to me.  Sitting in front is cousin Ralph who is a couple of years older.  These are Grandmother Garten's four grandchildren.
We all "grew up" in Grandfather Garten's Ford and Mercury dealership and one or more of us often played together in the showroom during the early to mid-50s.  We would climb into new Fords and play like we were driving or we would wander back into the shop while mechanics fixed cars.  In 1955 my father and mother divorced and, sadly, my mother kept me away from the Garten side of the family until.............only a year ago, when I wondered what my three first cousins were like and was determined to made contact with all three of them.  And that I did after all these years!
Susan and Judy are retired nurses living in Huntington and Summersville, West Virginia, respectively, while Ralph is retired in Florida after a long career with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In late October, the "four cousins" are going to get together for the first time since the attached photo was taken.  For all of us this is a reunion over 55 years too late.  And when we get together we will surely talk of our good times playing in the Ford showroom.  All four of us have been lifelong "car guys" and "car girls."  Curiously, we are getting together at a little restaurant that is now located right across the street from the old dealership.

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Ingenious Crap Truck for sale at the Springfield Car & Parts Event

Hi folks -- the photos say it all!  Note the straight pipes -- not that loud when running, but that may be because the driver is somewhat deaf.  I had to ask him a question twice because he did not hear me the first time.  Can you imagine bringing this thing home to the wife?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Quiz -- From What European Car Did this Horn Button Come From?

Hi folks -- I found this horn button at the Cars and  Parts Swap Meet in Springfield, OH today.  It has a Lucas marking on the back.  From what car did this come from?

An answer from Society of Automotive History -- Britain webmaster Tom Clarke!!

That's an item made by Joseph Lucas Ltd. (now part of Goodrich, formerly TRW) for a British Austin/Morris car of roughly the late 1950s into the 1960s or so. It's probably an ox fording a river, hence the city of Oxford on the Thames and Isis rivers, and in turn the Morris Oxford car. I seem to remember such a button on Morris Minors too.
Good luck with your quest,
Tom Clarke,
SAHB webmaster

Friday, September 7, 2012

The GM Bailout -- The "Big" Campaign Question of 2012

Hi folks -- as the author of The Automobile and American Life and an Ohio voter I feel that I must weigh in on what has emerged as the Presidential campaign issue in the election of 2012. I confess, that overall I am an independent voter with conservative leanings.  That said, I take issue with some of the arguments that were made by Michelle Malkin in today's Dayton Daily News (Sept. 7, p. A8). Ms. Malkin is a smart journalist whose work I normally enjoy reading.But on the matter of GM and its current state she is on thin ice.
Malkin states that : "GM is once again flirting with bankruptcy despite massive government purchases propping up its sale figures. GM stock is rock bottom."  Malkin may be right, but I would argue hardly anyone, and in particular the public knows where GM stands right now. The company's financial status is obscured by accountants and finance people employing "smoke and mirrors" data control. We know that Gm's leadership is frustrated by that lack of real change within the company and the absence of risk takers emerging as leaders within the organization. We know that consumers have a much longer memory than GM ever thought,and thus people like myself, once burned with a GM car years ago, vowed and will hold to the decision of never to buy a GM car again.I don't care if they make the best car on the planet, I would rather drive a flawed Suzuki first.
And, yes, Ms. Malkin, lots of GM's efforts are now going to create jobs overseas. But that is what you have to do in the global auto business to remain competitive.
Short term, Obama can point to jobs coming back to Ohio and Michigan, and for now saving us from a calamity that would have been catastrophic in 2008-9. Long term, maybe Romney and Ryan are right, that bankruptcy would have made for a desperate GM, one that would have to be totally transformed or die. But in reality, neither side of the political struggle really knows if what was done was good or not.  WE don't have the data!  GM has always played its cards tight to the vest. It might be that Ohio goes for Obama, and then GM dies on the vine.  Or perhaps Romney carries the day,and GM has another 100 years. For both parties to stake so much of their campaign on the fate and future of GM without really knowing the firm's health just makes my voting decision that much more difficult.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My favorite Year -- 1955 -- The Golden Age of the Automobile at its best!

Hi folks -- far more coming on 1955 and autos in the days ahead! Brace yourselves.

 This Buick Century was a solid, upper middle-class symbol in 1955.  It was far out of reach for my family at that time. It was as solid as America -- the nation's economy and stable society.  But the winds of change were beginning to move.
 One of my first memories of riding in a convertible and the freedom derived from such a ride was from an experience with a 1956 Chevy convertible, not terribly different than the 1955 Indy pace car shown here.
 This Chrysler 300 C may be considered as America's first Post-WWII muscle car.
 I had a neighbor, John Healy, who destroyed one of these 1955 Thunderbirds in the early 1960s by putting a Pontiac 421 in this Bird. A crime against humanity, for this was one fabulous car, inside and out.
A Chicago street corner in 1955.  Trolley tracks have not yet been taken out. Note how difficult it was to negotiate the streets with that trolley in the way!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Works Progress Administration Auto Posters -- great art, great expressions of 1930s &1940s car culture

  • Title: Your wartime duty! Don't waste water Do not use hose for washing your automobile. Do use water from a pail / / Kerkam.
  • Date Created/Published: [New York] : NYC WPA War Services, [between 1941 and 1943]
  • Medium: 1 print on board (poster) : silkscreen, color.
  • Summary: Poster for The New York City Department of Water Supply, Gas & Electricity for a campaign to conserve water, showing a man washing his car.

  • Title: Don't kill our wild life
  • Date Created/Published: NYC : Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project, [between 1936 and 1940]
  • Medium: 1 print on board (poster) : silkscreen, color.

  • Title: Can you stop? - Speed and stopping distance - Iowa State Safety Council / designed & produced by Iowa Art Program.

  • Date Created/Published: [Iowa]: Iowa Art Program, [between 1936 and 1940]
  • Medium: 1 print on board (poster) : silkscreen, color.
  • Summary: Safety poster features a chart including miles per hour, feet per second, and estimated distance required to react, brake, and stop a vehicle.

  • Title: Evite accidentes No se quede en la calle durante una alarma / / 6 MAR.
  • Creator(s): Rodrídguez, Miguel A., artist
  • Related Names:
       Federal Art Project , sponsor
  • Date Created/Published: [Illinois] : WPA, [1942]
  • Medium: 1 print (poster) : silkscreen, color.
  • Summary: Poster showing a man lying on the sidewalk next to an automobile crashed into a lamp post. 

  • Title: Don't jay walk Watch your step.
  • Creator(s): Posoff, Isadore, artist
  • Date Created/Published: Pennsylvania : WPA Federal Art Project, [1936 or 1937]
  • Medium: 1 print (poster) : woodcut, color.
  • Summary: Poster encouraging pedestrians to obey the laws, showing a man being hit by an automobile while crossing the street, a policeman stands in the background.

  • Title: Federal Theatre [presents] "It might happen to you" A drama in three acts by Leon Lord : The most powerful courtroom drama ever written.

  • Date Created/Published: [California : Federal Art Project, 1939]
  • Medium: 1 print (poster) : silkscreen, color.
  • Summary: Poster for Federal Theatre Project presentation of "It Might Happen to You" at the Savoy Theatre, showing a woman hit by an automobile.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Russell Lee Photograph: Wheels and Tires, Deming, NM, 1939

  • From the Library of Congress Photo Collection

  • Title: Display of automobile tires and wheels, Deming, New Mexico
  • Creator(s): Lee, Russell, 1903-1986, photographer
  • Date Created/Published: 1939 Aug.
  • Medium: 1 negative : nitrate ; 35 mm.
  • Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-012349-M4 (b&w film nitrate neg.)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rudolph Valentino's Cars

                                                 He was quite a mechanic in his own right!
                                                               His Isseta-Franchini with Fleetwood Body
                                                         His Voisin, at the Netercutt Museum
                                                                    With the Voisin

                                          A miraculous escape, but it only gave him a bit more time!