Friday, March 6, 2015


Everything but the same old cars

Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category

Doctor Bennett Auction Roundup

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 24 - 2012


Doctor Bennett himself opened up the Bennett Collection auction with an introduction and a few remarks. What drives a man to build a collection of everything from Hillman Imps to Halibrand Shrike Indy race cars is difficult to sum up, but the Doc abides. “There are two great passions that rule my life. Automobiles and medicine. I’m still doing both. I’m still running a general practice everyday. And this is my collection. I’m 74 years old. You can’t take it with you. So I’m hoping you will take it with you! I hope someone ends up as happy as I was to own them. ”

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In a Word: Vermontero

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 20 - 2012

Driving with eighties turbocharged technology across the disintegrating concrete expanses of the greater Los Angeles area was all fine and good for the likes of the Starion. New England is a different story. After the 2011 Snowpocalypse and subsequent summer flood fest of a hurricane and tropical storm, it became clear a different sort of automobile was required for the frost heaved paved and narrow washboarded dirt roads. Something with pontoons, wheels, and four low.

While the ongoing search for the immaculate Mitsubishi Delica Super Exceed Star Wagon continues, a similarly equipped machine has been added to the Clunkbucket Collection. This 1989 Mitsubishi Montero will serve for the immediate future, and ideally into the somewhat distant future. Please stand by while we source another steel tin full of Diaqueen LSD oil to keep the limited slip rear differential in harmony with the road. Note to automakers: every automobile should have a built in inclinometer, so the occupants can know definitively when they are upside down.

A special thanks to Davey G. Johnson for coining the word Vermontero.

Vermont or Bust

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On October - 25 - 2010

rusty-brat-leadWe finally got the upper case I key on the old Underwood typewriter fixed, so now is the time for a first person missive pertaining to recent developments. You may have noticed a break in the action around here at the mighty Clunkbucket. No, I have not sold out to clandestine publishing interests in Moldova. The bad news is I won’t be hanging out in California as much as I have been over the last 25 or so years. The good news is I have accepted the honorable position of Associate Editor at Hemmings in scenic Bennington, Vermont. Is this the end? Not at all. This is a new beginning. Clunkbucket will continue on, with the probable inclusion of vintage snowmobiles. [now, with bonus gallery - ed] Read the rest of this entry »

Dodge Colt Time Machine

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 20 - 2010

1977-dodge-colt-leadThe 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 »

Voisin C6 Laboratoire avec Propeller

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 10 - 2010

voisin-C6-laboratoire-leadRacing 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.

More: Andre Lefebvre and the Cars He Created at Voisin and Citroen

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.

Turbocharged Minivans and Lasers

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 8 - 2010

turbo-dodge-leadToday 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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Tool of the Week: Fiat SST

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 3 - 2010

fiat-600-sstGoing 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.

Waiting for Gordini

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 2 - 2010

Renault-8-leadThere 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 »

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