The Los Angeles Roadsters have wrapped up their 46th exhibition. While we didn’t venture into the big show, we did spend quite a bit of time walking the swap meet trying to get our monies worth back from the parking and gate fees. There were certainly many show-quality examples of shaved ’32 Fords, pastel-hued Hiboys, and bazillion dollar traditional (don’t say rat) rods and kustoms on the show grounds, but after forking over the green our mission of the day was clear. Deliver a photo collection of exquisite castoffs, misfit toys, and hi-dollar junk. The hi-dollar street rods were left to themselves. All was balanced in the expensive junk continuum after a few hours of peering at bent-tube contraptions, tether cars, go-karts, T-buckets, and dining on a Hot Dog on a Stick. Thank you Los Angeles and your highways of the future for making this trip by automobile to through the past in Pomona a modern possibility.
Archive for June, 2010
As we approach the beginning of Mitsubishi Astron engine rebuilding season, it is time for the first in a series of tools that can help get the job done. A quality step in transforming a salvaged engine block into a working short block is checking the deck for flatness. One might think they could lay any old reasonably straight thing across the deck and mark it good, but unblown head gaskets on boosted engines depend on a perfectly flat deck. Measuring this kind of flat requires not just any straight edge, but a super straight edge – machined super straight. There is little room for error. The standard value of deck flatness on the G54B Astron turbocharged engine is 0.0020 inches, with a limit of 0.0039 inches, or one tenth of one millimeter. Checking for flatness requires a super straight edge and the right thickness of feeler gauge. Run the super straight edge across the deck in as many X and H patterns as possible, and see if the feeler gauge goes under the edge at any point. Looking close for any cracks at this time is also a good idea. The super straight edge is also useful for measuring flatness of intake and exhaust manifold surfaces, oil pump gear clearances, and countless other things where flat must be wicked flat. While you might be able to get away with using a belt sander and a vice to get that old Alfa Romeo exhaust manifold surface flat, this same method is not advised for engine block decks. Support your local machine shop to fix warped decks. Listening to SS Decontrol or Minor Threat and using the super straight edge is OK, but using that old McMetrics conversion ruler you picked up from the McDonalds in 1973 as a super straight edge is not.
The more or less recent edict handed down on high from the guys lighting Cuban cigars with $100 bills at General Motors was that they don’t want anyone saying Chevy anymore. Only Chevrolet. This being the case, they would certainly spit gag mouthfuls of their single malt Scotch and lapse into a fits of coughing if someone were to utter the word Chevette. So here goes. Chevy Chevette! There. We said it. This particular Chevette was seen on a trip out to a San Gabriel Valley junkyard where we have seen multiple Chevettes before. The General Motors Pinto and Import slayer was first sold in Brazil in competition with the Volkswagen Brasilia in 1974, and brought to North America soon after. Chevette sales continued until three years shy of the go-go ’90s. The Chevy hatchback holds the distinction of being the last subcompact rear-wheel drive car sold in the USA. The Chevette was produced in countless configurations, including Rally versions, Isusu diesel engine-equipped screamers, four-door hatchbacks, and as shown here, the deluxe CS package. With a reworked front and rear along with blacked out trim bits, the CS was the last refresh of the rear-driver before the mighty Chevette was scuttled in 1987.
The question when talking about the Bug-In is an easy one. Who doesn’t like wheelstanding turbocharged Volkswagen Beetles that run 11-second quarter miles at over 100 miles per hour? Anyone? While there is obviously a large amount of Volkswagen and America that that became synonymous with an unfortunate granola munching Hippie shtick in the ’60s, an intrepid few eschewed the slow for the quick, and modified their ass-engined economy cars for maximum velocity and performance down the 1320 feet of the drag strip. The last thing any of the German designers of the people’s car had in mind were people hanging up the front hoops in first and second gear, then laying down rubber from the slicks over about a half mile in the quarter. Throw in a car show and a swap meet, and you pretty much have a perfect day for Volkswagens at the California Speedway. This was the Bug-In: 35th Edition.
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In honor of the first day of summer and breaking news concerning formation of the junk centered megalith of online entertainment here at behemoth Clunkbucket, we take a journey back into 2009 on a walk through Vermont’s own famous Rathe’s Salvage junkyard. Most locals refer to this place as Rattys, as a term of endearment and a play on words. This rust packed winter Ünderland was not only filled with snow covered examples of some the world’s finest automobiles, but was also fraught with danger! Foot traction was compromised at least twice during the filming of this feature. The old ice cube down the back of the shirt gag comes to mind, but in a worse way. Fortunately no one was injured, and the camera survived unscathed. Standard California footwear is not recommended. Though we’re often spoiled by the almost park like settings and festival atmosphere Southern California boneyards, a pair of cleated boots or 1973 Arctic Cat El Tigre snow machine is advised for trips to ice sheeted junkyards in Vermont during the month of December.
Winter Walk Through Rathe’s Salvage in Vermont
Long-running negotiations have resulted in the first ever acquisition by media giant Clunkbucket – the premier destination for finding, fixing, restoring, and even racing your unloved or forgotten classic car. Clunkbucket set out to become the global destination for budget restoration and inexpensive motoring entertainment in 2009, and is excited about upping the frequency of junkyard journeys into the editorial calendar. All content on Junkyard Chronicle will eventually be republished on Clunkbucket, with bonus content added when applicable.
“If by documenting one automobile at the end of its road helps a few more of its kind avoid being crushed into oblivion, then our work preserving automotive and cultural history is done. Clunkbucket is here to keep the automotive restoration and preservation economy rolling one old car, truck, or minivan at a time”, said Clunkbucket Founder and Editor-in-Chief Mike Bumbeck.
Junkyard Chronicle was established in 2006 as a way to peer into automotive cultural history by way of the self-service automotive junkyards of Southern California. Junkyard Chronicle will remain active until financial negotiations are complete, at which point the site will be fully integrated into behemoth Clunkbucket. This virtually seamless media acquisition will result in a far more streamlined Clunkbucket content delivery experience moving forward into and beyond Q3 2010.
From the shrunken heads department of our northern California Plymouth desk comes the report that the Shrunken Fury is not only mostly finished, but has made the cigar-chomping fat cat big time world of printed media. Shortened Mopar idea man and builder Alan Rutter himself relayed the good news that the Fury custom coupe that Plymouth never made is now gracing the pages of the July 2010 edition of Popular Hot Rodding magazine. It was difficult to see a finished anything when we first saw the Plymouth in two large dissimilar chunks on his shop floor. Alan says that at times even he didn’t even really know what he had unleashed by slicing up the Fury. Perseverance paid off. After seeing the finished and painted Fury up at Thunderhill during some sort of racing mayhem named after a tart yellow fruit, we enlisted some pals in order to get a few shots of the Fury in motion while Alan pummeled the Faster Farms ’66 Plymouth Belvedere around the race course. Huzzah for a true Moparnaut.
Special thanks to Tom, Elana, the ultra-smooth ride of their Dodge Polara, and Al’s Rapid Transit for making these photos possible. Popular Hot Rodding magazine is available at your favorite newsstand or other fine booksellers.
One of the great unanswered questions of long-term automobile ownership is the mystery of the alternator. If the collective automotive powers can design and manufacture a car as complex and modern as the Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo, it would seem but a minor detail to install a bulletproof alternator under every hood. Why automakers cannot produce this alternator that serves in usefulness for the life of an automobile is a vexing question that may remain forever unanswered. A charging system failure results in one of the more common automotive repairs. Removing and replacing a bad alternator. Early symptoms of a spent or malfunctioning alternator are dimming headlights or sluggish electrical accessories after dark. Positive proof of a dead alternator or charging system gone haywire is a sad click-click-click, or no sound at all from the starter when you turn the ignition key. While replacing an alternator is a usually a simple remove and replace operation, it is good practice to test the charging system as a whole before throwing perfectly good money and time away.