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Everything but the same old cars

Archive for November, 2009

Confluence of Gremlins, now with more Porsche

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On November - 25 - 2009

gremlins5Communications from operatives over the last day have produced not one but three AMC Gremlins. Two are evidently in the wild. One is for sale, and has a Porsche engine swapped in under the hood in place of the AMC peanut grinder. First was Jim, seeing and snapping a few Gremlins in the states to the north west. One Gremlin appears mostly stock, while the other is somewhat more mysterious and art like. Hours later came the ever vigilant Alan Rutter, who forwarded along a Craigslist post for a Gremlin with a fancy steering wheel, and a Porsche 924 2.0 mill bolted up to the slushbox. All this for the princely asking price of 650 bucks! With close proximity to the holiday this AMC confluence could mean that the Plymouth where the pilgrims dined on the famous turkey was actually a Gremlin. It also means that if you’ve been dreaming about a Porsche-powered AMC hatchback, your time is now. What could possibly go wrong?

1976 Porsche-powered AMC Gremlin in Yreka

Replace Windshield Wipers

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On November - 24 - 2009

replace_wiper2Replacing windshield wiper blades is one of those things that most of us forget right up until the five foot blizzard hits. Those wiper blades that have been baking unused in the hot sun all summer? Toast. The good news is that replacing wiper blades or wiper refills takes minutes, and can provide improved visibility in even the crummiest weather. Swapping out a set of wiper blades is a task best performed on a balmy day with an iced beverage, instead of a freezing rainstorm at the supermegamart parking lot.

The meat of a windshield wiper is a strip of rubbery material attached to an assembly that holds the strip against the windshield. The job of the windshield wiper is to clear water, bugs, snow, dirt, and lobsters falling from trucks off the windshield to clear up the forward line of vision. Rear wiper blades also come in handy to remove the same from rearward glass. If heavy rains, snow, slush, or downright harsh weather is more the norm than upgrading to heavy-duty winter wiper blades can help get through the slush and ice.

How to Replace Windshield Wipers of Wiper Refills Step-by-Step

Wet weather is not the only thing what wears out wiper blades. Wiper blades take their greatest amount of abuse sitting unused in the baking hot sun. The same UV rays that make the summer days long and lazy can cook the flexibility and usefulness out of wiper blade material. Worn blades that worked OK during summer showers will usually give up when the first winter storm hits. Danger can strike with just one unfortunate moment of impaired vision. The good news swapping out crusty old blades for the new replacements is an easy deal. Some auto parts stores will even swap out wiper blades or refills with purchase for you while-u-wait.

Engine Room! Full Astern!

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On November - 23 - 2009

newport_leadFrom the flagship of the fleet department is this Chrysler Newport seen on the side of the road with an asking price of a mere four hundred dollars. The 1971 Newport heavy has a 383 big block connected to a an apparently blown up TorqueFlite automatic transmission. The scrawled message on the side glass says the big block does indeed run. Even with a toasted transmission, that’s still only one hundred bucks per door, and just pennies over a dollar per cubic inch of V8 mopower! Those Newport fans traveling along West Winton avenue in Hayward, California are advised to keep their eyes peeled for acres of beige sheet metal complete with rust. The Ministry and Iron Maiden decals on the rear window are either an indication of previous owners musical preferences, or a telling omen that this Newport shall rock once more.

Seeing Double Morrissey

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On November - 18 - 2009

morrisseyThere are simply not enough cars in your driveway. You like your automobiles in pairs. You want nothing more for Christmas than an English runabout with a transmission in the trunk. Better still, is you’re the one who has been longing for a duet of Morris Minors since Morrissey and Marr were together on stage in Manchester. There has never been a better time then now. Alan Rutter of Al’s Rapid Transit fame has unearthed not one, but two of these standard Morris beauties and put them up for sale. It would be your mission to make them run. These two stylish econoboxes could represent the perfect opportunity to start that Morris Minor spec racing league. It might also be time to blow the dust off that wire-feed welder in the garage and fab up some scrap metal along with one (or both) of the four-pot 37HP engines into some sort of English car themed Tilt-a-Whirl style carnival ride. You know, for the kids.

Because winter time is Bondo time. Two 1959 Morris Minors at Al’s Rapid Transit

France and Italy Show

Posted by Tom Anderson On November - 16 - 2009

france_italy_leadIf you were traveling through L.A.’s San Fernando Valley on the first Sunday in November and experienced a sudden craving for a scoop of gelato, a double espresso, and a few puffs on a Gitanes, chances are you passed within spitting distance of the 2009 edition of the Best of France and Italy car show. With sunny skies above and a soundtrack which included French versions of Disney movie songs and the wail of fire engine sirens responding to a nearby brush fire purportedly sparked by a radio control aircraft mishap, hundreds upon hundreds of people jammed the lawn to gawk at row after gleaming (and not-so-gleaming) row of voitures and automobili, as well as cars that didn’t hail from France or Italy, but did have significant connections to one or both of the two nations. There were plenty of parts and automobilia dealers on hand, along with a dual citizenship’s worth of gastronomic delights. What could be more delightful than a car show with no less than five Facel Vegas?

Get ready for next year now. Find the Best of France and Italy here, and a molte bene gallery of event photos courtesy of Andy Takakjian and the SoCal Citroen Club.

Mid-Engine V8 Beetle

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On November - 12 - 2009

newman_bug_leadWhat began life as a stock 1963 Volkswagen Beetle convertible is now nearly everything but. We walked past the Bug a few times at the SEMA show before finally stopping to peer inside and see a stonking Ford V8 mounted amidships! The legend goes that Paul Newman had Jerry Eisert take some time out from constructing INDY race cars and engineer this mid-engine monster Bug to toy around with the Hollywood Porsche and Corvette sets on Mulholland drive. Newman donated the car to some college kids after having fun on the streets. Retired Chaffey College Racecar Technology Professor Sam Contino told us the story of how this restored mid-engine V8 economy sleeper has returned. Read the rest of this entry »

What, Me Worry?

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On November - 9 - 2009


Early hot rodders squeezed the best out of the junk they had. Fenders and running boards came off to save weight. Hop-up parts scored second hand from circle track racers made their way onto flathead eights for more horsepower. Keeping with this pioneering spirit but using modern technology and parts is the Truckster, seen here on display at the Painless Performance Products booth at SEMA 2009. The Truckster started out as a 1978 Ford pickup and a concept drawing. A custom frame was fabbed up, and the large part of the ’78 cab was fused with a Model A bed, a ’38 Dodge Grille, ’37 Chevy headlights, and interior leather sourced from a Ford King Ranch edition. While the Mercury flathead in between the frame rails is from 1952, fuel and air induction is a modern upgrade. Hanging out inside what looks at first glance to be a pair of old Stromberg carburetors is electronic fuel injection. Two injectors per throttle body are joined by an ECU to make the Truckster a genuine modern gow job. Getting the Truckster in gear comes by way of an Ed Roth monster style shifter topped by the sculpted likeness of none other than Alfred E. Neuman himself, complete with signature toothy grin. Potrzebie!

Biggest Ruckus

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On November - 6 - 2009

bowls_la_leadIf you happen to be in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles and hear a motorized ruckus rolling down the boulevard, chances are it will the the Bowls LA crew. Taking a stock Honda Ruckus onto the ninth level of customization is the best two-wheeled idea since a Honda put an inline four under the gas tank of the CB750 back in 1969. The Bowls crew brought some of their finest Ruckus out to the SEMA show. They also sell and install all of the good stuff one might need to squeeze enough horsepower out of a Ruckus to push it to a 70 mph top speed. Hanging out with the rest of the Ruckus was a turbocharged Ruckus packing a modified engine from a Ruckus knock off for 150 cubic centimeters of boosted Ruckus. Mushroom air filter and twice pipes made for total win. Check out Bowls LA if you need a pair of PF Flyers for you feet, or a Gokubuto Kit for your Ruckus.

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