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Everything but the same old cars

Archive for July, 2010

Tercel is not a Starlet

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On July - 31 - 2010

toyota-tercel-03Because the mighty Starlet often gets mistaken for a Tercel, we bring you this first generation Toyota Corolla Tercel sedan. Not one but two generations of Tercel were sold alongside the Starlet’s four short years in the USA, with the second generation three-door hatchback version appearing to be the primary source of model confusion. The Starlet is not a Tercel for many reasons, the single most important of which is the Starlet employs rear-wheel drive for propulsion. This is important. As Hamilton said to Spicoli and pals in Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Learn it. Know it. Live it. Starlet.

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Of the Dodge Mahal and the Destroilet

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On July - 30 - 2010

travco-270-leadA 413 cubic inch big block Mopar wedge and modern aerodynamics are two good things to have when it comes time to hit the road behind the wheel of a house. This Travco 270 has not just one, but both these attributes. The Travco was originally marketed as a self-powered, self-contained, complete home-on-wheels. The sixties-era Travcos were indeed a groundbreaking vehicles, incorporating now commonplace recreational vehicle features such as central air conditioning, on board electrical generation, and Space Age fiberglass construction. All of this and more was molded into a modern design and set atop readily available Dodge truck chassis, with one version of the Travco easily holding the best name ever title for a mopowered motorhome. The Dodge Mahal.

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Tatra Plan and Party

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On July - 27 - 2010

tatra-party-leadThis is not the the first time for rear engine air-cooled Czechoslovakian automobiles and contraptions around here. First there was the Tatra. For motoring across the vast snow-covered plains of Mother Russia, a purpose-built Tatra snowmobile. Ham and eggs for breakfast near Chinatown in Los Angeles? Time for yet another, modern Tatra 603. This is, however, a first for authentic Czech goulash and Tatra-shaped cookies in celebration of Tatra. With the exception of the Tatra snowmobile, the aforementioned Tatras and more were in attendance at a party in honor of Los Angeles Tatra historians and restorers Paul Greenstein and Dydia DeLyser taking the coveted New York Times Collectible Car of the Year Contest win with the Tatra – their gorgeous 1941 Tatra T87. The Blue Star Cafe played host to the party, served up the authentic Czech food, a T87 shaped cake, a Tatra motorcycle and sidecar that never was, and saw the surprise appearance of a Tatraplan. The four-cylinder beauty motored down from Hrad Von Greenstein under its own power for the big celebration by burning a combination of antique gasoline and distilled spiders. Fun was had by all.

A special thanks to Paul, Dydia, Harpo the wonder dog, the mighty Tatra T87, and the Blue Star Cafe for making all this fun possible.

The Million Franc

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On July - 23 - 2010

delahaye-dreyfus-leadThis 1937 Delahaye Type 145 V12 Grand Prix racer is also known by its more famous moniker – The Million Franc! In an an effort to best records set by German and Italian Grand Prix machines, French leadership and the Automobile Club of France announced The Prix du Million, with a grand prize of one million Francs to the first French race car to best the standing track record at the Montlhery. The car had to use the 1938 Grand Prix rulebook in order to to take the win. With Rene Dreyfus behind the wheel the Delahaye 145 set the record, averaging 90 mph and change over two hours, and wearing the Dunlops down the the cords in the process. Alfa Romeo, Auto Union, and Mercedes Benz were no longer riding the top of the Grand Prix heap. Dreyfus the Delahaye 145 became the focus of French nationalistic fervor after setting the new the record. The Million Franc didn’t stop there.
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Five Tips for DIY Automobile Repair

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On July - 21 - 2010

five-tips-leadYou are one of the intrepid few that revel in the satisfaction of fixing automobiles yourself. You enjoy building things no matter the cost or even unfortunate result. While that unintentionally cubist home made book shelf in the living room may lean more towards Braque than Picasso, it represents a valuable lesson learned for the next square and far more rectangular mid-century appearing book shelf. Knowing a few lessons learned the hard way by others can help win at least half the battle when it comes to working on things with engines and more than two wheels. Read the rest of this entry »

Go Kart Bicycle Hybrid

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On July - 20 - 2010

bike-kartBringing the formerly disparate worlds of cruiser bicycles and vintage go karts together at last is this, uhm – well, we don’t know what this thing is. It appears that this internal combustion engine and human powered bicycle hybrid was fused into being by way of some cleverly welded steel and a castaway go-kart or minibike engine. A keen-eyed 1925 Citroen Cloverleaf owner spied this contraption parked outside its destination in Phoenix, Arizona. It may not be possible to create a more perfect vehicle for travel to and from the Harbor Freight Tools store. We salute whoever put this together, with hope that the coaster brake internals on that old cruiser bicycle are in good shape, and closely synchronized with the centrifugal clutch on the rear-mounted kart engine.

Thanks to Mark Saperstein for the on-the-spot photos

Tool of the Week: Battery Charger

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On July - 16 - 2010

charge-battery-leadDividing the number of times a tool is used into its own utility makes the battery charger one of the best long-term investments for the absent minded and forward thinker alike. Since the basic design and chemistry of a lead-acid automobile battery haven’t changed all that much since the days of Charles F. Kettering, the old battery charger is a tool that is often used for many years before getting passed onto the next generation. The official Clunkbucket battery charger was picked up over three cars and four motorcycles ago, and has never failed in in its ongoing task putting the juice back into the cells.
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New Hope in Dodge Colt Wagon

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On July - 15 - 2010

dodge-colt-wagon-03 From a long time ago, in a junkyard not that far away, comes this Dodge Colt Station wagon. The Colt is from a time when forces of economy gripped the nation. Escalating gas prices caused Americans to abandon their full-size automobiles for smaller, more thrifty versions. With Mopar there was no compromise, along with a new hope. One could choose from a full-size Dodge Diplomat or this compact Dodge Colt station wagon on the same dealer lot thanks an alliance with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. These modern rear-wheel drive motoring forces continued to fight on against the growing front-wheel drive clone armies of the Galactic General Motors Empire.

This Colt Wagon evidently soldiered on from the late seventies into the next millennium on its way to the boneyard. The forces of runaway thermodynamics on dissimilar metals may have felled this wagon in the same way many an Astron engine cracked its cylinder head or spun a silent shaft bearing before this. The mighty Colt was fully loaded (Yes, Johnny!) with a rear window wiper, air conditioning, AM/FM radio, sporty steering wheel, dash clock, and the big Astron four-cylinder topped with three-valve MCA JET cylinder head. The 5-speed manual transmission can be seen unmasked on the ground next the the wagon. No, Plymouth Reliant K Wagon, I am your Father.

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