Monday, November 26, 2012

More Historical Substance on the Trotters

The Trotters Hot Rod Club
Several years ago, as I was perusing through the stacks of my local library, I found a brief history of a car club from Middletown, Ohio.  What struck me about its contents, however, was a photo taken of a dragster that was built by an African-American car club from Columbus, Ohio known as the Trotters. I found a few photos of the Trotter’s cars on the Web, and I posted them  on my blog, but nothing else. Lately, however, two of the members of the Trotters contacted me and gave me their stories of the club and their role in the membership.
The Club began around 1952  with 5 members and one car, a 1932 Ford 2 door sedan powered with a Chrysler hemi.  During the early 1950s these 5 friends, including George Wingo, from the Dayton area, and Larry Williams, approached the Pipers Car Club from the East side of Columbus, but were rebuffed from joining. So the Trotters emerged as a primarily African American, but also interracial club that  built, owned, and maintained a show and go trophy winning B dragster, and a screaming 34 3 window coupe. Their cars and members were featured in Hot Rod Magazine and Ebony, but their very success ultimately led to their end.
The Trotters organized an annual  custom car show in Columbus, appropriately named Trott-A-Rama, that proved to be a tremendous financial success.  So much so, that the true car guys in the club were purged by a group not nearly as obsessed with racing machines. Charles Bryant, his brother, and Larry Williams were all removed from the club, a fatal move in the long run.  And what happened to the B rail dragster?  Apparently one night, after being left behind before a race, maintenance chief Bill Richardson, out of anger or frustration, took a torch to the frame of the dragster and cut it in two, thus ending the Trotter’s presence on Midwest and national drag events in 1966.
Only five members of the Trotters are still alive, the rest having gone “through the pearly gates.” During the Golden Age of the 1950s and early 1960s there were many hot rod clubs active from coast to coast, and like the Trotters their members are now either getting up there  or deceased.  With their passing we are losing historical accounts of great value. If you were once a member of one of these clubs, or know someone who was a member, please get your recollections down on paper, as they are a valuable part of auto history.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Trotters Hot Rod Club Revisited

Hi folks -- I got two emails in my box this morning from members of the Trotters Hot Rod Club, an African American group that was very competitive during the 1960s.  From the short messages, it appears on 5 members are still alive, as the rest "have gone through the pearly gates." I'll try to call my two contacts today and get back to you with some interesting history. Until then, here are a few new photos I dug up on the web.  See a previous post of mine on topic if you are interested, but I'll report back soon.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving -- Turkeys who drive cars or turkey cars?

Hi folks -- there are a few images depicting turkey cars -- Pintos. Pacers, Edsels, etc. Not that funny. More significantly, we need to think about all the turkeys who drive cars -- stupidly as a a turkey. You know them -- the folks who don't dim their high beams, go the wrong way on an interstate entrance ramp, are texting while driving, and it goes on and on. We need to gut their heads off, and be thankful they are off the road!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mitt Romney Pumping Gas in LaJolla

Hi folks -- I visited Romney's place in LaJolla back in August ( well ,to better explain I drive by it), and wish I were there for Thanksgiving! We all look ruffled once and a while. A good man who would have been a good president, but it wasn't in the cards.
Unless you are in New Jersey where they have mandated gas station attendants (what a bunch of quasi-socialist  bullshit -- let's give all morons a job!), filling your own tank is a reflection of the democratic ideal.

More Mary Kay Cars and Women

Hi folks -- I am sure the stories behind the people are far more interesting than the cars themselves  It is about determination, entrepreneurship, self image and esteem, and overcoming the odds.  It is about inner strength and developing a spiritual whole that exudes self-confidence. The car is a symbol of achievement, but more importantly about the inner being!  Congratulations to all who earned a pink Mary Kay car!.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Laughing on the scene (Oceanside, CA) at a driver involved in a fatal crash!

The driver who led police on a high-speed chase and crashed, injuring himself and killing a passenger, was heard saying someone was laughing at him while he was trapped in the vehicle according to several witnesses.
Two cars were street racing at speeds over 100 miles per hour on State Route 78 according to California Highway Patrol officers.
An officer spotted the 1991 Honda Civic racing a dark colored sedan in the westbound lanes near College Boulevard in Oceanside.
The sedan slowed but the driver of the Honda took off on residential streets at Mission Avenue going 80 miles per hour officers said.
Then while traveling on Mesa Drive, the Civic hit two dips, fishtailed and crashed into a parked truck, killing the passenger instantly.
The driver, Jorge Luis Lopez of Oceanside, was injured in the crash. The passenger has not been identified.
Sandra Zamarripa said she witnessed what happened after the crash and claims she heard officers laughing at the driver who was screaming for help.
She heard screeching of tires and a loud smack.
“You could hear the young man screaming, 'Kill me too,'” Zamarripa told NBC 7 San Diego. “They went up to the young man and told him that he had just killed his best friend, he was dead and they were smirking at him.”
“He just started screaming ‘What are you laughing at? What are you laughing at?’ They were laughing," she said.
It's not clear at this time, if Zamarippa saw a CHP officer or an Oceanside Police officer.
A neighbor who said he could see the rescue of the driver from his driveway about 100 feet from the crash scene said he also heard the driver complaining about being mocked.
After officers approached the vehicle, the man said he couldn't hear the exchange but soon afterwards, the driver began screaming.
"The driver was cursing and asking officers ‘What the f--- are you laughing at?,” said the man who asked not to be identified.
However, he said the driver cared only about the condition of his car.
"His only concern was his car. ‘My car, my car, my car,’" said the witness.
He said he heard officers ask the driver, “'What about your friend?'” referring to the deceased passenger.
The man recalled seeing five CHP officers and two Oceanside police officers around the vehicle.
“They were really calm so I couldn't hear them," he said. "I could see the expressions on their faces and they were all business.”
A third neighbor, Shauna Haley, said she didn’t hear officers laughing but did hear the driver ask officers to shoot him.
Around 1 a.m., Haley heard the sound of a car speeding down Mesa followed by sirens and a loud crash. She recalled 10 police cars surrounding the crashed car.
From where she was standing, she could only see the driver and the officers, however she said there were so many onlookers, the driver may have been speaking to someone standing on the street.
“I certainly didn’t see any police acting inappropriate at all,” she said.
She said it took firefighters a long time to demolish the vehicle and remove the deceased man from the wreckage.
"They dismantled the car. They took great care in taking care of getting that second person out of the car," Haley said.
Oceanside police responded to the criticism of officers' reaction with this statement:
"The Oceanside Police Department strives for professionalism in all matters. If this indeed is the case, this is something we absolutely do not tolerate. We will be looking into it as the investigation continues."
The OPD conducted a preliminary investigation of the alleged misconduct. They reviewed CHP video footage and spoke to several witnesses in the neighborhood. They determined there was no evidence that the officers behaved inappropriately.
"They're compassionate people," said the witness who asked not to be identified. "But when somebody kills somebody and then his only concern is about his vehicle, how would that make you? I wouldn't be real compassionate to that dude."
Investigators say alcohol was a factor in the collision. Lopez faces several felony charges including evading, felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter according to the CHP.
“He was lucky they were there. It was senseless, absolutely senseless,” the man continued.
The dark colored sedan was not wanted at this time.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Favoritism at the DOE? Government Bullies and the Electric Car

From a Heritage Foundation website;
A lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday alleges mass favoritism in the Department of Energy’s decisions to award federal grants to major car companies to develop electric vehicles, according to a legal complaint obtained by Scribe.
The plaintiff, San Francisco-based XP Technology, says in a complaint filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that “corruption and negligence” pervaded DOE’s decision to award loan guarantees to Ford, Nissan, Tesla Motors, and Fisker Automotive for the development of electric vehicle technology.
“Investigations have shown that DOE officials intentionally stalled numerous applicants’ reviews in order to force them out of business and protect favored players,” the complaint claims. It adds:
XP has received information demonstrating that the unprecedented number of failures in the DOE program relative to what DOE officials have claimed to be “the most expensive and extensive due diligence in history” is explained by manipulated reviews, in the due diligence effort, on behalf of what the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigations found to be “favoritism” in published investigation reports. A senate ethics investigation states, in published reports, that “negligence and mismanagement by DOE officials” was a regular occurrence.
XP, which applied for federal backing under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, “is seeking to have applicants who were “targeted” receive fair re-reviews, in a transparent manner, if they so desire.”
In addition to an unfair selection process, XP alleges that DOE retaliated against the company for reporting evidence of negligence corruption incorporated into the various investigations into the ATVM program.
After XP staff first reported the incidents, becoming “whistle-blowers”, by reporting the evidence to GAO, Justice Department, The White House Press Office and The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, among others, they received threats and personal attacks. Over time, the volume of third party investigations, which have validated the charges of questionable acts by DOE staff have become voluminous.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cars that hit houses -- some 45 in Dayton Ohio this year!

Hi folks -- an interesting news report tonight -- 45 cars have hit houses in Dayton this year. For a number of different reasons, including drinking, the hitting of accelerator rather than brakes, distractions, etc. WHIO-TV has a  a link to a map on their website that seems to indicate this is for the most part taking place in poorer neighborhoods, and probably a reflection for the most part of lower socioeconomic class behavior tendencies.  But as the attached photos seem to indicate, this accident can happen anyplace, at any time, and with any class of driver.

Contemporary Music and the Car Thief

Song and Car Theft
            Unlike the medium of film, song has rarely exploited the topic of automobile theft. Its conspicuous absence is an irony given that particularly since World War II the car has been at the center of popular music. Yet, on the few occasions where stealing cars has been featured in lyrics, themes common to those used in motion pictures emerge, but with a far more desperate and dark tone.   Car theft as connected to adventure and sexuality stand out in Joe Bonamassa’s “Tennessee Plates” (2011) and Sting’s “Stolen Car,” but then so does failure, the end of relationships, and loneliness.
The highs from the reckless abandon gained by illegal mobility, however, eventually leads to dire straits.  Employing a story not terribly different than that from Bonnie and Clyde, Bonamassa (first performed by Randy Travis in 1998) tells the listener of a girl “shivering in the dark” on a cold night, and how that begins a tale of bank robberies, car thefts, an exhilarating ride crossing “the Mississippi like an oil slick fire,” and a man left for dead on the interstate.  Yet the trip ends in confusion, for the hero wakes up in a hotel room “in original sin,” with no answers to his current dilemma.[1]
Of all the songs on car theft, perhaps the best known – and the one with the deepest psychological overtones -- is Stings’ “Stolen Car” (2003). About a poor boy hotwiring a rich man’s car, the song's lyrics coupled with its rhythm reach deep inside the listener, evoking a sensual experience involving adultery, the lingering smell of cologne, and the coming into light while surrounded by darkness. 
Late at night in summer heat. Expensive car, empty street
There's a wire in my jacket. This is my trade
It only takes a moment, don't be afraid
I can hotwire an ignition like some kind of star
I'm just a poor boy in a rich man's car
So I whisper to the engine, flick on the lights
And we drive into the night[2]

Like that of Sting, Bruce Springsteen’s “Stolen Car” (1980) possessed a dark angst, perhaps connected to adultery. The common everyman protagonist agonizes over a marriage gone bad, riding in a stolen car during a “pitch black” night, horribly fearful and alone, desperate and at the end of the line. Yet, as Springsteen laments, “Each night I want to get caught. But I never do.”[3] Similarly, but in the context of a very different urban environment, the Beastie Boys posit their own take on the matter with their hip hop genre title “Car Thief” (1989). As in all of the above songs, our character’s life is coming apart “at the seams,” the consequence of violence, plenty of drugs and a disconnected urban lifestyle that has resulted in human worthless, with incarceration at the “Mountain,” while Ricky cuckolds his girl.[4]

[1] Joe Bonamassa, "Tennessee Plates," written by John Hiatt and Michael Stuart Porter,, accessed 12/8/11. 
[2] "Stolen Car," Sting, http:///, accessed 1/18/2012.
[3] Bruce Springsteen, "Stolen Car," written by Bruce Springsteen, Columbia Records, 1980,, accessed November 11, 2012.
[4] Beastie Boys, "Car Thief," written by Beastie Boys and the Dust Brothers, Columbia Recoreds, 1989,, accessed November 11, 2012.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The last swap meet of 2012 -- Springfield, Ohio, November 10

A beautiful day in Southwest Ohio!  And a good way to spend a Saturday morning.  The November Swap meet is always much smaller than those in May and September, but today the weather was as good or better than those previous events.  I learn so much every time I go, from looking at parts, to thinking about cars on display, to getting a sense of the market. I rarely buy more than a trinket or two -- today it was a Hella fog light that should be a good spare for the two on my Porsche ($2!), and 7 1958 -1960 Hot Rod magazines for evening reading.  My camera batteries died quite early into my walk through the car corral, but I caught a few interesting rides. A very nice 1956 fuel injection Corvette was for sale, A Gran Tourismo Studebacker Hawk that was a bit to gussied up for me, and the above 1957 Olds wagon ( I have not seen one of these in years!).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Teens and Fatal Automobile Accidents

It seems to happen every few days in the Miami Valley (Dayton and vicinity).  7 students killed during hte past week -- 3 in Darke County, 1 in Springboro, 3 in Greene County. This time three young girls from Bellbrook, Ohio, just a few miles from where I live. And the driver survived and is home. What a call for parents to receive late in the night. How do we stop this from taking place as much as it does?  Should parents just be more aware of their children's activities and not let them stay out so late? Should teens be restricted from driving at night? Speed?? Should there be more mandatory driver education? No other technology takes as many lives as automobile.  We are against wars that kill a few thousand Americans a year. But auto accidents take many more from us. Cars can be engineered to be only so safe, and then it is up to the people who drive them, including young people.

Ed Garten's account after visiting the site of deadly crash :

This afternoon I drove by the Bellbrook teens crash site on Wagner Road (not too far from where you play tennis) and there were two Sugarcreek Township police cars there sort of guarding the crash site already strewn with dozens of flowers and teddy bears and such.  I stopped and talked with an officer and he said they were there because they expected teens from Bellbrook to stop by and because it was a dangerous stretch of highway they wanted to slow traffic down if young people were mingling around.
The truck they were in was coming from Kettering and across the bridge that goes over I-75 and makes a sharp curve.  As soon as one rounds the curve the road immediately has a high crown to it and one can see that any vehicle at a high rate of speed would hit the crown and become airborne in a split second.  The officers speculated that this is what happened and the truck then wrapped itself around a very large and old tree.