Friday, February 27, 2015


Everything but the same old cars

Archive for August, 2009

Hover Dynamics RX2000

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 28 - 2009

img_6866Lest the gnashing tones of bad news make us forget we must continue to forge headlong into the future of alternative and entertaining transportation, we bring you this late-eighties early-nineties vintage Hover Dynamics RX2000 personal hovercraft. This mint-condition machine was seen in the swap meet section at a recent Goodguys show, and appeared to be the ultra rare RX2000 Rock and Roll Ferrari edition. The concept potential of a Clunkbucket personal hovercraft first surfaced years ago while living in Oakland-Emeryville, and working on nearby Treasure Island. Why pay full price to drive only half way across the bay bridge? Bah. With the RX2000 or similar hovercraft, an early morning coffee could be followed by a traffic jam and toll free land-sea-land excursion at speeds approaching 50 mph!

According to a New York Times article dated October 16 1989, the RX2000 was powered by a 43 horsepower Cuyuna aircraft engine and sold for about 7500 dollars brand new. Nadaguides currently lists an average retail price of a 1990 RX2000 at a bargain 2,300 bucks, with low retail project versions drifting into the sub 2K range. The RX2000 floated on a cushion of air and could carry up to 450 pounds of people or picnic baskets. Fuel consumption was roughly two gallons per hour. Hover Dynamics RX2000 personal hovercrafts are sadly out of production. And now for a quasi-related but important Public Service announcement. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is scheduled to be CLOSED to all traffic from Thursday September 3rd at 8PM, until Tuesday September 8th at 5AM.

More: San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge

Renault 16 Hatchwagon

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 26 - 2009

img_3829From the Sahara Desert Expedition desk comes this 1971 Renault R16. Owner Ken Nelson’s latest excursion was to the Concours d’Lemons event. Ken reports he’s already¬† loading the machine for its next outing – this time to the desert. The R16 is indeed a rugged automobile and features and impressive amount of cargo space for journeying from its current home base in Palo Alto, California. The 1600cc mid-ships mounted engine drives the front wheels, which are also equipped with power disc brakes. Ken reports 35 mpg fuel economy and a healthy top speed of 90 mph, although not simultaneously. When Ken isn’t driving the R16 he spends his time restoring various orphans of the automotive world. With a garage full of Jowett Jupiters and a Traction Avant converted by the Vietnamese after they kicked the French out into cut-down sedan undergoing the rustification process in the driveway, Ken relies on the durable R16 for practical and stylish transportation. “It’s my work truck”, said Ken.

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Old School Imports Meet

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 25 - 2009

santa_clara_mazdaIt’s that time on the calendar where various third Wednesdays or last Thursdays mean there’s a reason to fire up that old bucket and drive it out and meet up. This Thursday the 27th, 2009 marks the third roll-in of the NorCal SoBay Old School Import faithful in Santa Clara, California. The gathering runs from 7PM until whenever. There is no admission fee other than driving in with a BMW 2002, Mazda Rx-3, Datsun 710, or even Renault 16. The meet originators would like to keep this casual meet casual. That means no burnouts or other event-ruining behavior is allowed. Wednesday night drag races and accompanying burnout bonanza can be found here.

WHAT: Nor Cal’s South Bay Old School Import Meet
WHERE: 3605 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA
WHEN: Thursday 8/27 @ 7pm
WHY: Because you dig the Old Schools

Tool of the Week: Universal Joints

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 24 - 2009

universal_socket_leadWelcome to the we’ll make it fit bonus trick edition of Tool of the Week. If there were an equal amount of space around every nut and bolt, we would all only need one kind of wrench. The reality is getting the twist to the fastener in just half the battle. What goes together like butter at the factory usually puts up a fight in the garage. Why did they put that bolt up there against the firewall? So folks would buy universal joint drives! Shown are impact and hand cranked varieties of universals, or wobblers, that have collected over time in the Clunkbucket Arsenal of Tools. The least expensive universals are the non-impact u-joint type, which have their own issue of wobbling around every direction except the one they should. Years ago we learned a trick to solve that problem with a short length of electrical tape. Follow a simple step-by-step for improved universal control.

Achieve Universal Control with this E-Z Tape Trick

Gap and Replace Spark Plugs

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 24 - 2009


Changing a set of spark plugs is a task that always sounds like an easy job, because most of the time it is. Swapping out a crusty spark plugs for a freshly gapped set is one of the few routine things left to tune up on modern engines – with modern being a relative term around here. Problems start with certain engines and spark plug designs that can turn changing the spark plugs into everything but easy or money saving. Fear not. Spark plug disaster is the exception rather than the rule. A little research can prevent a lot of headache.

Fuel. Air. Spark.

The obvious task of the spark plug is to light up the fuel and air mixture when the piston reaches the top of its compression stroke. The resulting burn pushes the piston back down in the cylinder. So it goes. The less obvious function of the spark plug is to transfer heat away from the combustion chamber as a heat exchanger. The spark plug wicks combustion heat through itself into the metal of the hole it’s screwed into, and into to the engine coolant surrounding that metal. Spark plugs are rated from cold to hot based on the speed at which they can transfer heat away from the combustion chamber. At the correct heat range combustion byproducts burn away. The spark plug cleans itself!

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Concours Photo Bonanza

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 21 - 2009


While one will occasionally run into a Pinto at a classic car and hot rod show, or a Gremlin at a drag strip, these occurrences are relatively sparse. Convention is often the guiding rule over exception at your average judged car show. The first annual Concours d’ LeMons set out to change all that. While the rest of the Monterey Peninsula sipped on old fashioneds and attempted to keep errant caviar and endive hors d’oeuvres off their seersuckers, the unkempt masses drove onto the lawn for this revenge of the car nerds.

Slant 6 Gathering

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 21 - 2009

slant_sixLeaning Tower of Power fans should mark their calendars for the upcoming Slant 6 Gathering on September 27th 2009 in Redwood City, California. This annual social event is the place for an old slant sixer to learn new tricks, a new slant sixer to find new pals, and the stalwart few who are hardy enough to want to race a slant six to find out how. Since we know you’ve been looking for that NOS ’66 Valiant tail light lens for years, the good news is a small from-the-trunk parts exchange is part of the deal. Daily drivers and project cars are especially encouraged to attend. V8-powered A-body Mopars are welcome too. Those inclined to snack are encouraged to bring a pic-a-nic lunch. The event starts at 10AM, with an economical suggested donation of just five bucks.

More information on the Slant 6 Gathering. Use this handy map so you don’t get lost.

Victoire de Citrons!

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 20 - 2009

img_6622Michael Harrell owns two out of an estimated two thousand KV Mini 1 automobiles ever made. He occasionally drives this one to work. With those facts in mind it seems only fitting that his 1980 KV Mini 1 took top Worst of Show honors at the first annual Concours d’LeMons show in Monterey, California. The KV company manufactured scooters and other motor contraptions like the Solyto delivery van before creating an automobile, that through a loophole in French law, required no license to drive! As Michael jokingly informed us when we asked – they were French. The company is no longer in business. Read the rest of this entry »

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