Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Everything but the same old cars

Archive for October, 2009

France and Italy Together

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On October - 28 - 2009

corrugated_wagonWe know what you’re thinking. You pine away the hours longing for the sleek lines and elegant thrift of a 1958 Fiat 600. You revel in the idea of automobiles that incorporate corrugated steel as exterior paneling. You drift off into daydreams of motoring along on a hydro-pneumatic cushion of infinite suspension adjustment, your hands leaving the steering wheel just long enough to operate asymmetrically arranged climate controls. If any of this is the case, then Woodley Park in Van Nuys California is the place to be this weekend for a meeting of Franco-Italian automobiles along with the people that love them. Not only are automobiles of Franco-Italian manufacture welcome, but also any automobile that was designed by Frenchmen or Italians. The Best of France and Italy may be one of the few places to see a Renault R5 turbo or three and an Austin Innocenti Mini in the same general vicinity.

The 2009 Best of France and Italy show is happening Sunday November 1st in Woodley Park near Van Nuys, California. For more information or online registration visit the Best of France and Italy. The 1959 Citroen 2CV AK VA and 1958 Fiat 600 are from the 2007 show.

Cony Light Van Deluxe

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On October - 23 - 2009

cony_lead1When it comes to mid-ships driving amusement, the under floor engine arrangement of the Cony Light Van Deluxe is unparalleled. This 1967 model was hauled over from a long nap in a Temecula field to attend the Japanese Classic Car Show in Irvine. The entire Cony lineup was manufactured in Japan by the Aichi Machine Industry Company. Cony was eventually absorbed by Datsun. The Cony fleet included everything from utilitarian micro pickup trucks to the stylish Cony Guppy Sports. The Cony 360 two-cylinder air-cooled engine in this and every Cony Light Van Deluxe is mounted mid-frame, and located under the front seat. The rear seats can either hold an additional two passengers in Deluxe mode, or folded flat for greater van-like utility. The under floor engine seems like it would be especially useful for operation in colder climates, where superior handling by way rear-wheel drive and low center of gravity could join toasty warm seating arrangements.

Most factual information provided courtesy of this fantastic page of vintage Cony brochures over at

King Water Truck

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On October - 22 - 2009

rex_truck_lead1From the form following function department comes this ’50s-vintage REX water truck. Some said it may be a 1958 model. The mighty REX ruled to water the track surface at Petaluma Speedway for some forty years before getting dethroned just one short year ago. The Cummins diesel under the hood finally breathed its last. The REX not only has a Cummins engine, but also sports a small six-cylinder Ford gasoline mill behind the drivers side of the cabin under the tank. This power plant was fired up to pump the water out of the tank, and is known as a pony motor in dirt oval water truck parlance. The same cool water in the tank was plumbed directly into the pony motor cooling passages, negating the use of an additional radiator. Whether the expired Cummins will be replaced or repaired and the REX pressed back into service is unknown. For now it sits. Job completed many times over. The king is dead. Long live the king!

Hot Rod Reunion Roundup

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On October - 21 - 2009

chrr09_lead2The celebration of all that is awesome in drag racing known as the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion is a wrap. Extracting maximum performance and entertainment from alternative fuels was nothing new to these guys even back when flat out timed runs across SoCal dry lake beds gave way to the quarter mile contest we know today as drag racing. Early troublemakers and speed merchants bolted up roots-superchargers salvaged from old GMC trucks to the engines in their gow jobs and jalopies then poured all manner of liquids besides gasoline into the tank for quicker and faster runs. Some fuels were more successful than others. Today only a few of the fastest cars out on the drag strip are running gasoline at all. Most are propelled by alcohol, or the highest order of exotic fuels – nitromethane. Top fuel. While it may be tough to look at modern drag racing and visualize the field packed with garage-built jalopies and professionally constructed kontraptions alike, the annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion is an entertaining reminder that these pioneers of the sport were, and still are, American genius.

More: The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On October - 18 - 2009

img_0816Dateline – Bakersfield. Top fuel dragster and funny car action at Famoso Raceway continues on Sunday. Thirty something nitro huffing blown funny cars and eight top fuel dragsters are lining up in the staging lanes for what promises to be an epic nitromethane super drag racing battle. While Clunkbucket gets the cans and string a bit more well connected to the internets, please enjoy this live video feed of all the drag racing action at the 18th running of the California Hot Rod Reunion courtesy of the guys over at


Famoso Swap Meet

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On October - 17 - 2009

famoso_swapWhile October brings the smashing of giant pumpkins or a odd compulsion to eat candy corn for some, it also brings a season wrap up of west coast vintage drag racing scene. Clunkbucket has set up temporary residence at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield for the 18th running of the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion. Thunderous disintegration of pistons and valves is a large part of the deal, but the swap meet holds a unique spot in the vintage drag racing experience. Screaming runs down the drag strip have been known to be followed by racers trundling over to the swap meet on the top half of the track to find a spare supercharger or handful of dzus fittings. The rest of us can go check out a trio of Aurora Imposters or a 1967 issue of Car Preview magazine.

The NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion is underway at Famoso Raceway

Crash Nationals Roundup

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On October - 16 - 2009

crash_nationalsBecause getting the absolute last mile out of cars while extracting maximum entertainment is what we’re all about around here comes this roundup of the Crash Nationals at Petaluma Speedway. The Enduro racing formula is simple. Take in a heap of cars and drivers and line them up on a freshly groomed dirt three-eighth mile speedway. Passengers are also allowed. Let them take few laps to make a groove around the track while some stragglers make it into the field. Drop the green light unleash 200 laps of chaos! This particular race brought the return of the Enduring Corolla, more than one Ford Falcon, and an amazing showing by a well and truly destroyed Volvo. In the end it was Rich Denman and his ’73 Monte Carlo that took home the Bondo money against well-creased veterans and freshly dented newcomers alike in this West Coast Enduro season finale. The Porta Powers of winter should bring more racing action come springtime.

More: West Coast Enduro

Renault Hatchwagon Limo

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On October - 13 - 2009

renault_r16_limo_leadWhen a single Renault 16 Hatchwagon is simply not enough, welding two of them together into a horse drawn limousine will do nicely. The Renault 16 Super Hatchwagon Limo seen here was hatched as an alternative vehicle to transport Sacha Baron Cohen to the world premiere of Borat at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The build came about after Hollywood decided that Paul Greenstein’s Tatra 603 was not nearly Eastern European enough. They wanted a home built limo. They showed Paul a picture. Three days later two horses were towing two rusted Renault 16 halves welded into a limousine with Borat himself and a Persian rug in the rear seat. Paul in Russian hat worked the steering wheel and emergency brake. If you have two or more Renaults, some three-inch box steel, a welder, and a can or two of coca-cola around, you too can build a limousine. The current whereabouts of the Renault 16 Super Hatchwagon Limo are unknown.

All photos and story courtesy of Paul Greenstein. Some photos from the premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater

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