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Showing posts from January, 2017

Reader's Rides: 1960 Ford Sunliner convertible BJ Davis

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By: Patrick Smith

For 1960, Ford entered the decade with a radical restyle of their full size car. Pressure was building from the grueling race against Chevrolet when GM went through a cost cut program that rolled Pontiac, Buick and Chevrolet tight together in the shell and body planning phase of development. The controversial 1959 batwing Impala following an off year for sales in '58, left Chevrolet scrambling for traction. Sales for 1959 were virtually tied with Ford so 1960 was an all new year for combat in the showrooms. Ford's weapon of choice was the Galaxie.

Ford may have matched Chevy in over all sales but their '59 Sunliner ragtop 
was bested by Chevrolet's Impala sport convertible with 72,765 sales to Ford's 45,868. The convertible was still an important market and as a halo product for a series, image was everything. Ford worked hard to make the 1960 Sunliner a better car. Towards that …

Zundapp's 1980 Motorcycle Line Up

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By: Patrick Smith

   The Zundapp Motorcycle Company in Germany got its start in 1921 with a basic two stroke 211cc job that leaned heavily on the existing Levis design. The firm grew quickly by the late 1930s during the NaziSocialist Democratic Party era, making over 100,000 bikes before the decade was out. Naturally, World War Two put the company on materiel production footing as well as making bikes for the mobile Werchmacht. After the war. Zundapp  returned to making motorcycles for the civilians in two stroke formats. The firm ran into serious financial trouble by the end of the 1970s. Although the range for 1980 looked promising, the competition was just too strong, at home with BMW, and abroad from virtually every Japanese maker.

    Zundapp went out of business by the end of 1984. A look at their 1980 product range shows a company that was offering two stroke engines in both air and water cooled versions. Five dif…

Why going for "Every Last Ounce" isn't always a good idea...

Gearheads have a tendency to never be satisfied, to always be looking for the next edge in performance. Sometimes that's a good thing, but sometimes it can bite you in the ass. Here's a few examples. # 1. "Air Gap" intake manifolds. NASCAR racers discovered that by raising the plenum and allowing air to flow under the runners, that they gained 10-15 hp on the top end because of the cooler fuel charge. Edelbrock, Holley and other companies began selling these "Air-Gap" manifolds to the public. In sunny California or at Daytona, this works fine. Whether or not you can actually feel a 10-15 hp gain in the average street car remains open for debate. However, in many northern or Rocky Mountain states people that ran out and bought these intakes were furious in the fall,winter and spring. Their cars would not start and idle properly, sometimes taking 20 minutes or more to warm up, and many wouldn't run at all because of carburator Icing! The buff magazines we…

Mary Tyler Moore & Mustang

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By: Patrick Smith

   Well poot, there goes another fond memory of youth. Although it debuted in 1970, The Mary Tyler Moore show ran for seven years and was popular enough to enter syndicated re runs for a good extra long time after that. I remember seeing it on air when it was new and in re runs. It was weird for me because like a lot of other people, our parents didn't have a color TV set. We had black and white jobs until 1979. The big fake wood console jobs were just too expensive. Either that or Dad just didn't care that much about color. I reckon the former. Money was tight.

   Anyway, my point is I didn't know it was in color so seeing Mary Tyler Moore and my all time favorites The Rockford Files and Emergency 51! in color was a blast. It was like a whole new show again.I wondered at seeing the cool cars in color that Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe got to rip open using the Jaws of Life. The show was sh…

Retro Flashback Feature: Those Pick Up Babes

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By: Patrick Smith

    You'd think some areas are safe from Madison Avenue hucksters and their formula of "Sex Sells." Well in Herb Tarlex Land, nothing is sacred. So if you think perusing vintage pick up truck ads is going to be free of babes, you're wrong. In fact without too much trouble, I was able to come up with some stunning images where the manufacturer thought, "let's put a babe in it," was the right approach. Without foreplay or further ado, we present you Those Pick Up Babes.

1970 Chevrolet C10 
Ostensibly, the theme here in the text is about toughness of Chevrolet half ton pick ups. They lead off with scrappage rates of Chevrolet being lower than the others. No actual figures are quoted. However, there's one hell of a figure to look at washing down that Omaha Orange and white beauty in the ad.A nice looking corn fed blonde in a bikini is drying off the fender of the truck.…

Read the whole article before you decide to buy or not buy parts....

Like I said in a previous post a lot of people are disappointed in their projects because they read snippets of a magazine article or read some quote from some "expert" on the internet and then spend money-or worse yet-don't buy parts they need because they didn't read the whole article. Here's some examples of why taking one paragraph of an article is a bad idea.  # 1. High-Performance Pontiac magazine did an article called "Junkyard Jewel" about building up a 455 that they bought from-duh-a junkyard. It came out of a '76 Gran Prix. It had 7.6:1 compression and was factory rated at 200 hp. They did some baseline testing on the stock engine and then started throwing parts at it. The first thing they did was put a set of headers on it. This showed exactly no gain on the dyno. Then they put an Edelbrock Performer intake on it. This also showed no gain. They were perplexed. Then they put a hot cam in it, and it LOST power! This further perplexed them. …

Restoration Files: 1970 Dodge Polara & Monaco Front and Rear Ends

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By: Patrick Smith

   The 1969-1970 fuselage C body cars were short lived and controversial. Low production numbers meant few survivors. The ones that still exist are prized specimens today, especially if they happen to be big blocks or convertibles. The 1970 convertible was essentially a carry over from 1969 with new front and rear fascias differentiating them from 1969. Production totals for convertibles for both years have been rolled into one sum by Chrysler.

   Finding restoration parts for these cars aren't easy because no one will touch retooling for such a niche market. This leaves restorers with the undesirable options of; a) bidding on NOS merchandise b) assembling their own pieces from bits of other used parts or c) buying a complete parts car. None of them are particularly affordable but beggars can't be choosers. Towards that end, I've assembled a guide for the restorer to help locate parts f…

Lost Star Cars: Lovejoy's Morris Minor convertible "Miriam"

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By: Patrick Smith

    It was the breakout comedy drama of the year from Great Britain: Lovejoy.  The series was based on the novels by Jonathan Gash. He wrote about the adventures of a a rogue antiques dealer with the rare gift of being a "divvy", someone who can spot a genuine antique among the scores of older reproductions, fakes and modern knock offs. Lovejoy had his shop in the countryside but mixed in with the dealers, auction houses and collectors in the Big Smoke. He was an outsider within an outsider's occupation. Lovejoy's network of associates may be wide, but his close friends he counts with the fingers of one hand; Eric Catchpole, Tinker Dill, Lady Jane Felsham and her husband albeit reluctantly at times!

   Lovejoy's basic character can be summarized as; broke, part liar, part conniver, lover of women secondarily and lover of antiques first and foremost. His choice of wheels in the …

Retro Flashback Feature: Do It Yourself Car Air Conditioning

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By Patrick Smith


   Back in the 1960s, a lot of what we take for granted in cars today were very expensive options. Take air conditioning for instance. Some models just weren't offered that feature because they were basic entry level cars and it was assumed the average buyer wouldn't ask for such a  pricey item. Usually it was the upper middle class family sedans or salesmen with territory to cover who ordered air in their cars. Even the upper price range makes like Cadillac made air conditioning an option,

   When it was available it was expensive. You think stereo radios cost loot? Air was often one sixth of the full MSRP of a car, sometimes more! Naturally when you have that kind of large, built in profit in a captive marketplace, it leaves room for entrepreneurs to move in and offer the same thing on a more affordable level. This is how do it your self air conditioning kits came to be. Comfy- Kit, based …

All these supercars were under-rated for the same reasons....

A lot of High-performance cars have their horsepower ratings grossly under-rated by the manufacturers. This was usually done for three reasons-( 1) To make the cars dominant in stock class drag racing, ( 2) To avoid the wrath of the safety Nazis, and ( 3 ) To avoid high insurance premiums. As early as 1966 activists like Ralph Nadar were demonizing musclecars and insurance companies were exorbitantly raising the rates on cars with engines over 400 cubic inches and hp ratings over 300 hp. Here's some classic examples # 1. Boss 302 Mustang / Z/28 Camaro. The 290 hp ratings that both Chevy and Ford had for these cars is laughable. The Trans-Am racers run by Mark Donohue,and Parnelli Jones and others had about 460 hp; and except for headers and maybe a little more cam, they weren't that far from stock. Think of this-the 11:1 302 Chevy with Corvette "Fuelie" heads, a hot solid-lifter cam,an aluminum high-rise intake and a 780 Holley , makes 5 hp LESS than a standard heade…

1952-53 Chevrolet De Luxe Convertibles

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By: Patrick Smith

 With all the attention beamed on the Tri Five Chevies, it's sad how the cars before 1955 slip between the cracks. The V8 era is of course important in Chevrolet history, but the stove bolt six was what put Chevrolet on the map.The Sloan era was also the definition of what made General Motors an industrial giant in the automotive realm. The early 1950s Chevrolets were the last remains of that original glorious empire.  In particular I'm going to focus on the 1952 and 1953 De Luxe and 210 convertible models. Both are rather special vehicles.


  The 1952 Chevrolet De Luxe convertible was a continuation from 1951 where the car was improved by switching from Huck to Bendix sourced brakes. Sales of the convertible were in trouble however as Chevy only sold 20,172 cars compared to 1950's higher total. Some felt the release of the hardtop body style which offered convertible appearance minus t…

Factor in the Whole Combination before you throw parts at it....

I've seen it so many times-people read an article in one of the buff magazines about an intake manifold, cam, torque converter, etc that makes the most power in a dyno test or offers the biggest improvement in 1/4 mile e.t. ,they go out and buy it for their car, and are severely disappointed because they didn't get the same results the magazine did, or worse yet-the car ran better stock. The reason for this is people don't take into account the intended purpose of the engine build, or the whole combination. Here's a couple perfect examples. A guy I know read in a magazine that the Edelbrock Victor Jr intake and 750 Holley Double-Pumper made the most power and torque on a dyno test of a small-block Chevy. He goes to his local speed shop, and buys this combo for his '79 Camaro and is furious when it doesn't run as good as it did stock. Here's what he missed. The magazine test mule was an 11:1 compression 406 with Trick Flow Aluminum heads,a Comp Cams 280H Mag…