Friday, February 27, 2015


Everything but the same old cars

Archive for September, 2009

Slant 6 Roundup

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 28 - 2009

sl6_redwood_leadAnother Slant Six Gathering leaves the vexing question of what a 1977 Dodge Aspen and a 1962 Dodge Lancer have in common. The answer? A leaning tower of power under the hood. The Slant Six faithful gathered this last Sunday at the Redwood City, California boat launch parking lot to carry on the tradition of durability and performance synonymous with the six-cylinder engine installed in millions of Chrysler products. Although who exactly organizes the gathering of sixes is a bit hazy, longtime Slant Six believers John Moran and Doug Dutra were there there to help. John has been taking care of the behind the scene arrangements for the 25 years or so the gathering has moved around the bay area. This year again welcomed project and daily driven Slant Six cars and trucks alike, and provided the usual low-key parts and advice exchange for all involved. Everyone left smiling at the end of the day after picking up a dash pad or taillight lens, along with invaluable mechanical knowledge passed along to keep the Slant Six fleet motoring down the road.

“My idea is really to help people”, said John.

More: Slant Six Forum

Santa Clara September

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 25 - 2009

img_7664Where do the months go? We don’t know either. The good news is that the last Thursday of September has passed, which means its time for another Santa Clara old schools import roundup bonanza! The coolest deal about this monthly gathering is that everyone drives in, then drives right back out again. Most of the cars on the lot are either daily driven or close to it. With a few exceptions, every one of the show going machines are works in progress – with some projects on a longer than short term completion schedule. One or two are for sale to become someone another project. So goes the old school continuum. The usual crowd of Datsuns were joined this time around by a few Toyotas, and even a lone Volkswagen mystery Beetle with a hot engine out back. Do people still drive and wrench on old cars for fun? Why yes. They do.

Detroit Spotlight 1966

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 24 - 2009

pop_tart_powersThe best part about having musty old car magazines from the ’60s is reading press releases about how by 1971, we would all be driving electric cars that ran on batteries comprised of then futuristic exotic materials. In the Detroit Spotlight department of a December 1966 issue of Motor Trend magazine is a small photo of a 1931 Detroit Electric Model 99, accompanied by the news of near future Big Three electric fleets. Ford had come up with an ultra-lightweight sodium-sulphide battery pack that held the equivalent of a tank of gas, thus overcoming the problem heavy and expensive electric automobile battery packs.

“Until now, batteries capable of propelling an electric car through a normal working day have either weighed around 900 pounds, or have been composed of esoteric, impossibly expensive materials…Aside from Ford, both GM and Chrysler are known to be working on electric car projects, along with alternate ‘fuel cell’ units. GM is leaning towards a lithium and air battery which is enervated in the morning simply by pouring water into it, but each night the plates have to be removed for cleaning, much like false teeth. Chrysler won’t talk about batteries, but admits that it likes the idea of putting an electric motor at all four wheels” - Motor Trend, December 1966

The mid-sixties were a regular thin-filmed nano-technology fully scalable electric car bonanza out there in Motor City! And to think that until 1966, the problem of heavy and/or expensive batteries for electric automobiles had yet to be solved. Now, if we could only harness the heat contained in a pair of freshly toasted Pop Tarts to power to the Starlet, an affordable and fortified with seven vitamins and minerals power source for sustainable and delicious motoring would be upon us.

Starlet and Starion Conquest

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 23 - 2009


While seeing a Starion and a Starlet together in the same driveway may be something we’re used to around here at Clunkbucket, rarely are the two cars ever seen together in the field. Andrew Layman is the only other person we know of that has not only a Starlet, but also a Starion. In this case the Mitsubishi is a 1986 Conquest-by-Dodge version Starion, and the 1982 Starlet packs a twin-cam mill from an eighties Toyota Corolla GTS under the hood. The narrow body, or flatsider Starions were sold alongside the wide body versions for 1986, and featured the same intercooler as their box-fendered cousins. Both cars are street driven to work and car shows alike on a regular basis, with the Starlet winning the commute champion title. Besides seeing occasional sideways drifting action on the race track, the Conquest holds the distinction of having the only known Peter Griffin aluminum radiator in any car.

More: Valencia Street Smog in San Francisco, California

Two Dogs Ford F-250

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 21 - 2009

two_dogs1Karl Richofsky purchased this 1963 Ford F-250 pickup truck in 1965. He was looking for a tough, low mileage, heavy-duty truck. He got one. Over 700 thousand miles, five engines, countless sets of tires, and 44 years later he still has the same truck – now known as Two Dogs. Karl is a retired Operating Engineer, who can be found these days working in the pits on front engine top fuel dragsters. Current power plant and engine number five is a 462 cubic inch Oldsmobile mill backed by a Turbo 400 automatic transmission. The Olds mill will boil both the rear tires no problem, but slow and determined is Two Dogs usual routine. While the nitromethane huffing dragsters Karl wrenches on regularly blast into the 230+ mph range in the quarter mile, top speed of Two Dogs remains an unknown factor.

“Top speed? I don’t know. I’ve never been there”, said Karl.

Tool of the Week: Snap-Ring Pliers

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 18 - 2009

snap_ring_pliersFrom the how did they get that thing in there division comes the snap-ring pliers edition of Tool of the Week. Snap-rings themselves are also known as circlips, rotor rings, and retaining rings. These flattish rings are usually found holding in a bearing or assembly by way of being stuck into a machined groove. In this case a pair of snap-rings was holding a piston onto a connecting rod by way of a steel pin. Snap rings can also be found holding u-joint bearing cups in place. Look closely before hammering.  A snap-ring pliers set or a fancy multipurpose pair of snap-ring pliers won’t get used too often, but you’ll be glad you have them when you run into a snap-ring. Attempting to remove a snap-ring or circlip with tools other than snap-ring pliers may have possibly lent these flat clips another name. The where did that damn spring steel thing go clip. In this case, a snap-ring assortment is a good plan.

Return of Bluebird

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 17 - 2009

For 1966, Datsun went to 11. The durable and Pininfarina-styled Datusn P410 was stepped up with more engine and became the Datsun P411. In 2004 Pete Peterson found this 1967 Datsun RL411 Bluebird SSS wearing various shades of blue and surface rust, and woke it up from a 20-year junkyard slumber. The chronicle of the this Datsun is one of two cars, forty years, and a meandering creekbed road. Read the rest of this entry »

Victory Econoline

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 14 - 2009

jet_econoline_leadLong before the Car Allowance Rebate System prematurely doled out billions for OK and used up automobiles alike, cars and trucks that outlasted their useful purposes met a natural dismantled end at the junkyard. A few chosen junkers of the highest order sidestep this recycling time line for a last go in the name of entertainment. Any automobile that makes a final pre-junkyard appearance at a thrill show, rollover contest, or smash-up derby, forever holds a unique slot in the pantheon of great automotive achievements. In this case a Ford Econoline van is shown doing its best to entertain a cheering crowd while chained to the back of a jet-powered dragster. Victory, Econoline.

More: 40th Annual Governor’s Cup Championship at Sacramento Raceway Park

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