The story behind this time capsule 1977 Dodge Colt has the makings for a great one liner joke. Did you hear the one about the Mitsubishi Lancer, the late seventies, a Dodge, and the used car salesman wearing a 10-gallon hat while riding a dog named spot – that was really an elephant? We didn’t either. The punchline is 100% original custom paint job on this otherwise all stock captive import survivor. The custom stripes are not vinyl, but rather genuine seventies paint. Legend goes that the van-style stripes were laid down with seventies hues at Cal Worthington in South Gate, California. Proud owner Lou Bircheff is going to leave the Colt as is, having picked up the car just a short time before the Colt’s reintroduction into the Mitsubishi Lancer Dodge Colt space-time continuum at the 2010 Japanese Classic Car Show. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for September, 2010
Racing cars with propellers are something we would need more of around here. The propeller on this 1923 Voisin C6 Laboratoire Grand Prix special worked in reverse, utilizing otherwise unused energy borrowed from the blazing 100+ mile per hour top speed of the Voisin to circulate engine coolant in an attempt to keep the near 2000 cubic centimeter sleeve valve straight six from overheating. The Voisin C6 Laboratoire was the first Grand Prix car to use a lightweight monocoque construction and aircraft derived slippery aerodynamics together, but could not break pace against its competitors. Four Laboratories started the 1923 Grand Prix, but only one crossed the finish line. The engine was not enough even for this lightweight car. The propellers spun, but not for victory.
The Voisin C6 Laboratoire shown is an exact replica built from the original plans and parts, on display at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California.
Today marks recognition of the unsung yet pioneering heroes of the four-cylinder turbocharged production automobile universe. These are the eighties turbocharged Mopar four-cylinders. Long before you could buy a universal turbocharger kit of questionable origin and functionality off eBay for a few hundred bucks, you could step up to your local Chrysler-Dodge-Plymouth dealer and drive off the lot in a factory-equipped turbocharged K-car, Omni, Voyager minivan, and even Laser variants. Near 200 horsepower doesn’t seem like much today, but these cars were quick for their time. Carroll Shelby jumped into the mix and produced the Dodge Omni GLHS, which the eighties turbo faithful soon figured out stood for goes like hell.
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Going by the book while driving and repairing fine vintage automobiles usually means running into the point where the manual says use Special Service Tool X-5745 to remove a bearing, or SST set 09612-10091 and a block of wood to overhaul the steering gear. Many of these tools have long since been tossed into the dumpster of discontinued parts. Lack of availability can result in fabrication of customized sockets or creatively bent wrenches. This would especially be true if you drive a 1959 Fiat 600, but not in this case. Dan Lennon is not only the proud owner of a Concours’ d’Lemons winning Fiat 600, but also the special service tool devised in Italy solely to tighten the otherwise impossible to reach cylinder head bolt behind thermostat housing. Dan carries this tool and torque wrench with the Fiat. Not all of us are lucky enough to locate these most purposeful of tools. Somewhere in the Clunkbucket Arsenal of Tools is a box end wrench bent into a 90-degree angle with open end hacked off in case of small block Mopar distributor adjustment.
There are not a great number of cars in America that satisfy the requirements of daily drivability, rally heritage, fuel economy, performance – and being French. Felicity More chose this 1967 Renault 8 for these reasons. Rear wheel drive. 1100 cubic centimeters of rear-engine fury. Four wheel disc brakes. Enough room two or four people, a few weeks worth of gear, and a happy dog. One Amédée Gordini doubled the horsepower of the Renault 8 and drove it onward to victory in the Monte-Carlo and Alpine Cup rallies. This is Felicity’s Renault 8, and a fine sporting sedan it is. She drove it home to San Francisco after picking it up in Seattle via eBay in 2008, and has been driving it everyday since. Read the rest of this entry »