Saturday, March 7, 2015


Everything but the same old cars

Archive for March, 2010

Tool of the Week: Dead Blow Hammer

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On March - 31 - 2010

dead-blow-hammerDirect from the Van Nuys desk of the Tool of the Week aptly named hammers division comes the dead blow hammer, or mallet. There are many hammer-mallets, but none have the unique functionality of the dead blow hammer. Inside the hollow plastic or steel center of the dead blow hammer head is a measure of sand or steel pellet shot. The pellets are similar to those found inside a shotgun shell. The shot dampens the rebound or bouncing associated with lesser hammers. The shot also softens the hammer blow to your wrist and hand. The quick-shifting shot even adds bonus power the hammer blow. The shot delivers its mass and inertia to the inside of the hammer face a split-second after contact with the frame rail, steel shelving, 55-gallon drum lid, or whatever else is being hammered. Bonus double hit!

While the dead blow hammer is great for smacking together wooden joists, convincing automotive chassis parts into place, or use anyplace where a focused blunt force is required, the somewhat malleable faces of the hammer are not suited for use on sharp objects such as chisels or nails. Some dead blow hammers and kits come with replaceable faces, making these dead blow hammers akin to the subject kid in one of our favorite Richard Hell and the Voidoids songs – The Kid with the Replaceable Head. Always wear safety glasses when operating the dead blow hammer. A exceptionally mighty Thor-like hammer blow could cause the dead blow hammer head to asplode, sending plastic and steel shrapnel in every direction. Unless like the kid you can pick your replaceable heads at will from the shelf, wearing the safety glasses while hammering anything is a capital idea.

Special thanks to Alex Nunez for the Tool of the Week tip.

Hopped Up Renault 4CV

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On March - 25 - 2010

renault-4cv-leadOver a million Renault 4CV sedans can’t be wrong. Sales of the 4CV hit half a million units in 1954, and surpassed the million mark by 1960. The 4CV was sold here in America, and manufactured under license as the HINO 4CV in Japan. And what’s not to like? Rear engine. Developed in total secrecy by a German-occupied WW2 France. Rear wheel drive. Cheap to buy when produced. Still relatively easy to hop-up with proven modifications, as long as there’s a few spare parts kicking around. Very light at 1230 or so pounds. The Volkswagen-like 4CV is even the progenitor of the rally-winning Alpine A106. Larry Peacock has one more great reason why he digs his 1960 Renault 4CV with a Lexus emblem glued onto the side. It hasn’t caught on fire and burned to the ground like his Citroen SM did.

Read the rest of this entry »

Frozen Volkswagen in Vermont

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On March - 22 - 2010

vermont-bug2 A rusty old Volkswagen Beetle similar in condition and proximity to this Bug is where it all began. The machine that started our continuing saga of 500-dollar automobiles was a mostly oxidized Bug, just a few years younger this engineless 1968 model. The archetypal Clunkbucket was purchased just north of the Gulf station on Route 7 in Salsbury, Vermont where we saw this blue and white beauty for sale on a trailer late last year. Back in 1981, the new-to-us 1964 6-volt Bug barely rolled away under its own power from a snow covered parking lot. Dad trailed closely for safety in an equally if not more rusty yellow Ford Pinto MPG.

We eyed this 1968 gem on a holiday respite to the frozen state, almost thirty years after the fateful first car day. This VW was owned and raced by a former mini-stocker, and reportedly saw action at the torturous Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Perhaps the ’68 Bug and fellow mini-stockers warmed up the now defunct Catamount Speedway (aka Thunder Road) for the legendary Beaver Dragon. Price on both cars for 1981 and 2009? 500 bucks. This Bug’s location just down the road from the Concrete Ape, along with near proximity to spot of the original 500-dollar Bug seems to indicate a potentially dangerous vortex of 500-dollar Volkswagens in the general vicinity. Please be advised.

The Great Indoors

Posted by Jim McCraw On March - 19 - 2010

autorama-18 Can we get a loud amen, please, for the indoor car show? A couple of weekends ago, we got up very early on a Saturday morning, shot through the morning ritual, and headed our trusty ride from the suburbs down to the beating heart of Detroit to attend the 58th annual Detroit Autorama at Cobo Center, one of the oldest, largest and most widely respected indoor hot rod and custom car shows on the planet.

Auto show pioneer Bob Larivee and his right-hand man Bill Moeller have been doing this show and the other Autorama shows for a very long time now, and we are of the opinion that A nobody does it better and B, the Detroit show is among the very best of them, right up there with the Grand National Roadster Show, aka the Oakland Roadster Show, which is senior to the Detroit show by only three years (this year was the 61st). OK, the GNRS went from Oakland to San Francisco and is now more or less permanently located 400 miles south of Oakland in the L.A. suburb of Pomona. That’s OK, because the Detroit Autorama didn’t start out in Cobo Center in Detroit, either, because Cobo wasn’t finished until 1960. Its first home was the Coliseum at the Michigan State Fairgrounds on the north end of the city. Read the rest of this entry »

Tool of the Week: Bench Grinder Buffer

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On March - 19 - 2010

bench-grinder-bufferThe pine-like Little Tree® was famous long before Miller handed one to Otto the ’80s classic movie Repo Man. You find one in every car. You’ll see. The shop or home garage is another place this object based continuum occurs. Be it on a bench or pedestal, most every garage or workshop in the land has at some point in its existence contained one (or more) bench grinder buffer-polisher machines. Some of these appeared recently, and still wear bright paint, a gooseneck light, and perhaps some manner of safety eye shield. Other bench grinder-polishers have achieved near invisibility in a corner of the garage, covered with a neutral gray mix of the dust from everything that ever touched its wheels over since Eisenhower was in the Oval Office. While most bench grinders are essentially an electric motor with a shaft on either end, others have more elaborate belt drive systems. The good machines will be passed on from one generation to the next, and serve in circular utility for many years to come. Lackluster or far-too-heavy to move units are often left behind in the garage or shop for the next person that wants to clean the threads on an rusty old bolt, or polish up some aluminum. The bench grinder is everywhere. You find one in every garage. You’ll see.

Full Race Jalopy

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On March - 16 - 2010

full-race-jalopy-leadThe American Heritage Dictionary defines jalopy as a word used to describe an old, dilapidated motor vehicle – especially an automobile. The origin of the word itself is hazy. The Ultimate Hot Rod Dictionary goes further, suggesting the word may have come into being as a result of many dilapidated automobiles sent to the Mexican city of Jalapa. The second definition of the word is the very automobile seen here. Any rough, oftentimes crudely constructed early-vintage automobile used in circle track operations during the ’40s and ’50s. Once driven by Benny Hofer, this is not just any jalopy, but a genuine 1940 two-door Ford coupe full race jalopy. Read the rest of this entry »

Bakersfield As Barometer

Posted by Jim McCraw On March - 12 - 2010

march_meet_leadThe motor homes across from the pits stretched out side-by-side a quarter-mile long and four rows deep, all the way back to the fence.  On the deeper, wider pit side, there were hundreds of megabuck transporters and motor homes and trailers and a quadrillion dollars’ worth of vintage race cars, hot rods and customs. Orange groves, grape arbors and oil wells surround this hallowed, historic Kern County property, now littered with the entourages of 575 racing teams and those who came to urge them on. Nobody here was crying the blues. Everybody here was having fun. This was Famoso Raceway. This was The March Meet, 2010, and it was spectacular. Recession? What recession? Read the rest of this entry »

Javelin AMX proudly wears 1978

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On March - 11 - 2010

Pedro Ramirez bought this yellow 1968 Javelin in 1978. Over thirty years later the AMX rolls as a time capsule of how a car owner would mod out a pony car ten years after it rolled off the assembly line. While the engine and mechanicals have been gone through a few times over the years, the car remains largely as it was purchased from a co-worker in late seventies. Pedro first saw the Javelin while working for Manuel’s Auto Body in Bakersfield, California. The car was driven into work everyday by one of the painters at the shop, and Pedro had his eye trained on the louver-backed four-speed Javelin from day one.
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