Thursday, March 5, 2015


Everything but the same old cars

Archive for June, 2009

Lakes Kadett

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On June - 30 - 2009

opel_kadettSome of the more interesting cars at any car show are often tucked away in the parking lot. This late sixties early seventies vintage Opel Kadett was spied by our man in the field Dave Wallace at the Kulture Shock car show in Lake County, California. The show was open only to traditional pre-64 hot rods and customs, which evidently relegated this Kadett to the spectator grass. Keen eyes will notice a side exit exhaust on both sides, a hood full of louvers, and a strategically placed naca-style hood scoop. All this together with the V8 emblem on the rear lid are good clues that this Kadett is probably packing a few more cylinders than stock. Possibly four more. Compact rear-drive sub-2000 pound coupes and hatchbacks with more horsepower than people should be allowed to have is exactly what we’re working towards around here. Project? 1967-72 Opel Kadett B plus Ecotec turbo engine and six-speed manual transmission from a Pontiac Solstice FTW!

More: Dave Wallace’s Hot Rod Nostalgia

Drive-On Ramps

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On June - 26 - 2009

rampageWhen it comes time to dismantle suspensions or any other monkey wrenching agenda where the wheels come off the car, a sturdy jack and jack stands are the tools for the job. A set of drive-on ramps can be the answer for less involved chores like changing the oil and filter, greasing the chassis, or replacing a leaky lower radiator hose. Thanks to the miracle of space-age polymers, drive-up ramps are now made of light yet strong injection molded plastics, and an inexpensive solution for those who like hanging out under their cars.

Drive-On Ramps E-Z Instructions

Common sense rules should always be followed anytime you intend to crawl under thousands of pounds of anything. So it goes for rolling automobiles up on steel or plastic ramps. The first and most important rule of ramps is to make certain the automobile in question does not exceed the rated capacity of the ramps! Next is to always work on a hard, level surface. Last is to take care not to drive over the top of the ramps. Don’t ask how we found out this was a bad idea in 1980 with a 1964 Volkswagen Bug, snow tires, and a set of Macho Ramps.

Tool of the Week: Pan and Tray Edition

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On June - 26 - 2009

drip_trayFrom the environmental protection and creative reuse division of Clunkbucket comes this installment of Tool of the Week. While not at all glamourous, the drip tray and oil change pan are supremely useful – and can in fact help save the planet. Collecting used oil in a container that won’t puke all over the trunk makes it easy to recycle used engine oil. Picking up another drain pan and dedicating it for engine coolant means pouring the poison green stuff right back into the radiator after replacing a stuck thermostat or cracked heater hose. A drip tray is bonus protection against toxic spills or ruined concrete. Bringing used oil back to an official collection and recycling station means knowing it will get cleaned up and put to good use. The titans of global industry will tranform old crud into new Chuck Taylors, Yuri Gagarin Junior Politburo bureaucrat paperweights, or another quality plastic oil change pan!

Related: Oil and Filter Change

Oil and Filter Change

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On June - 26 - 2009

oil_changeChanging the oil and filter on a regular basis is the single best way to keep an engine running as long and best as possible. A thin film of oil molecules is the only thing that keeps gnashing engine internals from turning into an expensive heap of scrap metal by way of friction and heat. Another function of engine oil is to keep those same engine parts clean. Dropping out the oil and swapping in a new oil filter takes but about an hour, and can mark the beginning of a do-it-yourself tradition of maintaining your engine and wrenching on your ride.

Why Change the Oil?

Even though engines run cleaner and more efficiently than ever before, some of the by-products of combustion end up as junk in the oil. A certain amount of metal will also float into the oil as the engine normally wears. Engine oil and oil filters can only suspend and contain so much crud and combustion by-products, before the balance of lubrication shifts away from trouble free motoring and towards engine wear. Changing the oil and filter gets rid of the crud. The engine stays cleaner and lasts longer.

E-Z Step-by-Step How-to Change Oil and Filter

When to Change the Oil

The best advice to follow as far as engine oil and filter changes comes from the folks that built your car. Every 3000-5000 miles or three months is conventional thinking. Stop-and-go city driving can qualify as “severe duty” when it comes to maintenance schedules, and require more frequent changes. Spending 20 bucks on an oil and filter change every few months is still less costly than a new engine – even over the course of multiple oil changes. Always prevent oil spills by containment. Drain containers and drip pans are also cheap, making it easy to recycle the used oil and properly dispose of the filter.

Useful Things:

  • Drive-on ramps or a jack and jack stands
  • The biggest drip pan that fits under the engine
  • A container or oil drain pan to catch and store used oil
  • A wrench for the drain plug
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Recommended oil and oil filter
  • Disposable gloves
  • Shop rags, and lots of them
  • A new drain plug gasket

American Motors

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On June - 25 - 2009

amc_javelinThe genuine possibility of more rear-drive muscle returning to the race tracks of America is certainly welcome, but without AMC Javelins slipping through the apexes, things just won’t ever be completely right again. Mark Donohue forever etched the red, white, and blue into American Motors when he took the Trans-Am series in 1971 and 1972 behind the wheel Roger Penske-prepared AMC Javelins. The good news is all is not lost. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Historic Trans-Am Group, the legend of American Motors Corporation Trans-Am history lives on not static in a museum, but moving around the race track – complete with high octane gasoline, side exit exhaust, and an overabundance of chin and deck spoilers. Getting up close to these beasts in action is immensely entertaining, and makes it easy to gain respect for the driving and engineering skills required to muscle one of these long nose monsters out in front at the finish.

Head on over to the Historic Trans-Am Group for more information and hundreds of photos of Trans-Am racing action.

Waffle House

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On June - 24 - 2009

waffle_houseEating while driving is just not right, and can be dangerous. Getting out of the car to sit down and enjoy a meal can often be the best part of the drive. Any trip near to or south of the Mason-Dixon line must include taking some time to sit down and enjoy a delicious experience at one of the numerous Waffle House dining establishments. Since 1955, the Waffle House has been open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. As the world’s leading server of hashbrowns, t-bone steaks, and grits, the tasty waffle is only the beginning of an impressive lineup of famous foods served under blocky yellow letters by a friendly staff. Certain parts the Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways feature Waffle Houses on both sides of the road on the same exit, making the decision to dine at Waffle House easy one regardless of which direction you’re going. Saving fuel otherwise wasted driving clear across to the other side of the road is another bonus. Walk in to get some breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and you’ll feel like you never left.

MORE: Waffle House Restaurants

Unencumbered Dauphine

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On June - 24 - 2009

img_2605It’s not often one sees a Renault Dauphine in the wild. Seeing one on top of an Atlas looking figure wearing a W on his belt buckle in Bowling Green, Kentucky is something, that up until recently, was on the very high order of improbable. Even though we didn’t hit the winning numbers on the Kentucky Powerball, we did see this Renault Dauphine atop of what we can only assume is a reasonable likeness of Walt himself of Walt’s Allstates Transmission Service. According to current shop proprietor Carlos, the likeness is in fact supposed to be Walt, who is retired and living in Texas. Is Walt strong enough to hoist a Dauphine over his head? “At one time, he was pretty strong”, said Carlos. No one seems to know where the Renualt came from or how it ended up on top of the sign – which was built in the early seventies. No matter. What better resting place then a roadside sign for an automobile that Tom and Ray from Car Talk said “was truly unencumbered by the engineering process”. Taking this Dauphine off the road may be the only thing that preserved it for future generations to enjoy.

Walt’s Allstates Transmission Service is located at 1724 Us 31W Byp, Bowling Green, KY. Thanks to Carlos for taking the time out to talk.

Swap Meet: Bowling Green Edition

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On June - 23 - 2009

DixcoThe glamour of the road recently brought Clunkbucket to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway Park. A slow walk around the swap meet netted a deal on a ultra rare Tiger in the near 100 percent humidity. According to legend, Tiger mufflers occasionally appeared from a parked semi trailer somewhere near Celina, Ohio. Every once in a while the trailer would be liberated of a few mufflers, which in turn ended up bolted onto to local exhausts. The seller said it was one of only three of the Tigers he had ever seen, but since he had since found a nicer example, he made us an offer that we couldn’t refuse. “If you take that with you right now, you can have it”. Deal!

More: Awesome video and photo action from the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion over at

Tool of the Week: Fiat SST

Posted by Mike Bumbeck
Sep-3-2010 I 1 COMMENT

Replace Window Regulator

Posted by Mike Bumbeck
Aug-28-2010 I 1 COMMENT

Five Tips for DIY Automobile Repair

Posted by Mike Bumbeck
Jul-21-2010 I 8 COMMENTS