Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday (actually Thursday) at the Chula Vista CA Pick and Pull

Hi folks -- an amazing experience yesterday.  As some of you know, I like to go to Pick and Pull junk yards to sift through the Mercedes cars for parts I rarely need. I like to sit in the 380s and figure out where all the hidden parts are configured, since by the time I get there usually much of the dash is removed and thus I can see vacuum servos, relays, etc. and how they are positioned.

OK, so Thursday morning to Saturday this week was 50% off at Ecology in Chula Vista. My son-in-law Tony and I got there Thanksgiving morning at 7:45 a.m. and there was already a long line and they were letting people in.  It just got crazier as time went on, and by the time we left at 10 a.m. there were hundreds upon hundreds of folks milling and pulling parts. For a time son-in-law Tony and I were the only Anglos in the yard where for the most part Spanish only was spoken.

It was insane -- actually a Mexican acted insane so that he could try to jump the line -- addled and oblivious to anyone. Nice guy, just crazy and not dangerous.  There were thieves amongst us, so paranoia reigned concerning keeping a close watch on tools and pulled parts.

This was a once in a lifetime experience -- I came home with 5 Mercedes 15 inch alloy wheels, each for $14.49!  But then you add in the core charge for each ($5), dismounting tires ($3), and it all adds up.  For junk!  The wheels may work out, but I am not totally sure for now.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Thanksgiving Road Trip Film: Planes Trains and Automobiles

A 1986 Chrysler Town and Country

Getting home for Thanksgiving, any way one can!  No matter how life is,there is that moment of joy when first getting home for the holidays. Then the joy gets complicated once reality sets in.

One of the funniest depictions of a burned up but somehow running automobile.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Kjell Qvale dies at 94 -- a key individual in bringing the sports car to America! Who is the girl who won the 1974 Jensen Healey?

Photo taken from New York Times Obituary.  Can anyone identify the girl who won this Jensen-Healey in 1974?

Kjell Qvale, who introduced Americans living on the West Coast to the sports car in the years immediately after WWII, died on November 1. A figure as important to the hobby as Max Hoffman was to those living on the East Coast and Chicago, Qvale entered the car business in 1946, investing $8,500 in a Jeep dealership located in Alameda, CA. After taking a trip to New Orleans where he first rode in a MG-TC, he subsequently became an MG dealer and left Jeeps behind.  Qvale's efforts in promoting the MG in Northern California was so significant that in 2005 the Automotive News stated that MG's popularity as the sports car America loved first was "largely because of one man, Kjell Qvale." Later Qvale added other foreign brands, including Aston-Martin, Austin-Healey, Jaguar, Morris, Bentley, Jensen-Healey, Volkswagen and Porsche. By 1970, he operated  more than 100 dealerships. In building this business, Mr. Qvale overcame difficulties in acquiring capital and in developing a parts supply inventory to support his dealerships.

A promoter of sports car racing beginning in 1949, he promoted the first Pebble Beach race in 1950, and then in 1956 the first events at Laguna Seca.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Select Bibliography of American Road Trip Literature Published before WWII

Bedell, Mary Crehore. Modern Gypsies: The Story of a Twelve Thousand Mile Motor Camping Trip Encircling the United States. New York, 1924.

Copeland, Estella M. Overland by Auto in 1913: Diary of a Family Tour from California to Indiana. Indianapolis, 1913.

Dunn, Edward D. Double-Crossing America by Motor: Routes and Ranches of the West. New York, 1933.

Faris, John T. Roaming American Highways. New York, 1931.

Finger, Charles Joseph. Adventure under Sapphire Skies. New York, 1931.

Gladding, Effie Price. Across the Continent by Lincoln Highway. New York, 1915.

Higner, Dorothy Childs. South to Padre. Boston, 1936.

Hogner, Dorothy Childs. Westward, High, Low and Dry. New York, 1936.

Humphrey, Zephine. Green Mountains to Sierras. New York, 1936.

Post, Emily. By Motor to the Golden Gate. NewYork, 1916.

Stockett, Maria Letitia. America, First, Fast, and Furious. Baltimore, 1930.

Van de Water, Frederic Franklyn. The Family Flivver to Frisco. New York, 1927.

Gail Wise's First Mustang Ever Sold -- and a personal note from Ed Garten

Gail Wise, retired Chicago schoolteacher, on her Mustang—believed to be the first one ever sold—as told to A.J. Baime for the Wall Street Journal (November 13, 2013)
“I bought my Mustang on April 15, 1964, for $3,447.50. I had just graduated from Chicago Teachers College and I told a salesman at Johnson Ford on Cicero Avenue that I wanted a convertible. He had none on the floor, but he invited me into the back room, where he had a baby blue convertible under a tarp. And there it was.
I had never heard of the Mustang. It hadn't been launched yet, but they let me drive it out of the showroom that night. Everyone stared at me. I felt like a movie star! Two days later, Lee Iacocca unveiled the Mustang to the rest of the world at the New York World's Fair.
In 1979, the car's battery got stolen and my husband, Tom, put the Mustang in the garage. It stayed there until 2006, when he fully restored it. A year later, Tom was reading a story about a Mustang purchased the day after I bought mine; that owner claimed to be the first buyer. This summer we brought the Mustang to a car show in Dearborn, Mich., where we met some Ford executives. The car was a hit, and that was the beginning of Ford recognizing us as owners of the first Mustang ever sold.”
Note: A Ford spokesman says Ms. Wise's paperwork convinced the company hers was the first known retail purchase of a Mustang.

A Personal Note from Ed Garten: In May of 1964, my stepfather’s sister purchased an early 1964 Mustang coupe in light blue.  In backwoods West Virginia where we lived the car was the talk of the town and everyone wanted a ride in it.  This was one of the last cars purchased from the Ford dealership owned by my grandfather Garten since in late 1964 he sold the small dealership and retired to Florida.  My late uncle told me that the dealership sold only two Mustangs that first year

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bambi Airstream Trailer pulled by 1957 Buick Caballero Wagon

Ed Garten has pointed out that the 1957 Caballero wagon was a very rare car, a station wagon hardtop! What a cool combination. Anyone know how many of these wagons were made and possibly survive?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The 1958 Packard

This photo was taken by Jenny Wright for the Detroit News Auto Insider at the August, 2013 Auburn In Auction.

The above two photos are of Bob Ebert's 1958 Packard

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cover and Contents for my forthcoming book Stealing Cars: Technology and Society from the Model T to the Gran Torino


vii     Acknowledgments

  1        INTRODUCTION: Park at Your Own Risk
  7        CHAPTER 1. “Stop, Thief!”
 36       CHAPTER 2. Juvenile Delinquents, Hardened Criminals, and Ineffectual Technological Solutions (1941–1980)
 68       CHAPTER 3. From the Personal Garage to the Surveillance Society
 87       CHAPTER 4. Car Theft in the Electronic and Digital Age (1970s–Present)
115     CHAPTER 5. Mexico, the United States, and International Auto Theft
144     CHAPTER 6. The Recent Past

157     CONCLUSION: Stealing the American Dream

161    Appendix. Tables Summarizing Various U.S. Automobile Theft Crime Reports and Surveys, 1924–2010
179    Notes

205    Essay on Sources

211    Index