Saturday, January 31, 2015


Everything but the same old cars

Archive for the ‘Odd Rod’ Category

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.

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 »

Dodge on the Rampage in South City

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 11 - 2010

dodge-rampage-leadThough is may seem like these shots are circa 1984, this super-clean Dodge Rampage was spied recently by photojournalist Dave Wallace on a trip to legendary Gotelli’s Speed Shop in South San Francisco, California. The Rampage and its 1983-only Plymouth Scamp rebrandmate were built on the Chrysler L-body platform, and shared a nose with its Dodge 024-Plymouth TC3 cousins. The Rampage was sold from 1982-84, and drove into the subcompact truck market against the Volkswagen Rabbit pickup and Subaru Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter – or BRAT. Legend has it that a few Direct Connection Shelby Rampages were built using components from a Dodge Shelby Charger. Lore says that even fewer of those got the turbocharged and intercooled version of the 2.2-liter mill under the hood. While all other Rampages were built naturally-aspirated, we know of at least one person that transplanted a 2.2 turbo mill under the hood to add street light surprise and torque steer amusement to the truck-like utility of the Rampage.

Thanks to Dave Wallace for the photos and Allpar for information on the near-mythical 1984 Dodge California Shelby Rampage.

Pontiac Bubble-Back Aerocoupe

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 10 - 2010

pontiac-aerocoupe-1The 1986 Pontiac 2+2 Aerocoupe was more or less the homologated result of Bill Elliot cleaning up the NASCAR competition behind the wheel of a mid-eighties Ford Thunderbird. As stock cars were still somewhat stock at this point in time, the Pontiac Grand Prix was in aero-trouble with its brick like nose and near-vertical rear window against the slippery T-bird. Throw ‘Awesome Bill from Dawsonville’ Elliot into the mix and the Pontiac division was in the soup on the speedways. The 1986 and one-half Grand Prix was the showroom result of adventures in aerodynamics from the Pontiac braintrust. The brick nose up front was sleeked out, and the bubble back window met up with a shortened fiberglass rear deck and spoiler out back. The production 305 V8 kicked out 165 horsepower through a 4-speed automatic transmission. The aerodynamic changes helped the NASCAR Ponchos chalk up a few wins, but teams succumbed to the unfortunate reality of using front-wheel drive bodies on rear-wheel drive race cars by 1988. This particular 1986-something Pontiac 2+2 Aerocoupe was seen parked and motoring about on a Van Nuys Cruise Night. As only 1225 or so of these cars were ever produced, the chance of seeing one in Van Nuys is about the same as seeing the same car featured in an in-depth article by Jeff Koch over at Hemmings.

MORE: Is Pontiac’s 1986 2+2 the Superbird of the ’80s? by Jeff Koch

Ramp Trucks and Towing Toys

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 4 - 2010


A day or two before any modern motorsports racing event, lumbering mega-trucks pull in and unfold into human-assisted race support giant robots. Empty parking lots are transformed in mere hours into a sea of trailers with satellite uplinks, spare parts, and very deep pockets to keep it all humming. This was not always the case. Phil Burgess over at NHRA Insider has assembled an excellent history of drag racer and master showman TV Tommy Ivo’s towing rigs, featuring words and photos from none other than TV Tommy Ivo himself. Before dreaming up and building the glass-sided rolling display trailers he made famous, Ivo towed his dragsters behind his own cars, which included a few sweet Cadillacs, a stylish Buick wagon, and a Buick Riviera! Head on over to NHRA Insider for the trailers that helped make the Ivo famous, the storied adventures of Tarzan, and how Don “The Snake” Prudhomme once washed his hair with motor oil.

MORE: Tommy’s Towing Toys and Ramp Truck Ramblings at NHRA Insider.

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

Six Wheels of Citroën

Posted by Clunkbucket Staff On July - 13 - 2010

citroen-cx-tissierJust in case you were wondering what to drive on the Ventura highway to the West Coast Citroën Rendezvous this weekend, we are proud to present this 1979 Citroën CX Tissier as a public service announcement. The stretch versions of the hydropneumatic pride of French modern motoring achievement were used for everything from ambulances to hearses – with countless towing, bread van, and delivery variants in between. This turbodiesel powered beauty appears to be for sale at the bargain price of about 28 thousand clams and change. Our German is a little rusty, but the translator tells us that the engine has been completely overhauled with nearly everything else that can go wrong on an automobile that employs internal combustion, turbocharging, pneumatics, hydraulics, and has six wheels repaired or improved. The interior is of course, brown leather. Enterprising customizers in dire need of a Citroën CX Tessier might save some bucks by duct taping a couple salvage title Ford Transit Connects together and replacing the stock suspension with airbags and hydraulics.

Check out the CXBASIS for more information and images of the 1979 Tissier. Southern California Citroën fans are advised to head to Ventura this weekend for the SoCal Citroen Club West Coast Rendezvous. Thanks to bread-baking beer-brewing near-future Citroën owner Jonny Lieberman for the Tissier tip.

Shrunken Fury Makes it Big

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On June - 15 - 2010

shrunken-fury-bigFrom 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.

Related: Shrunken Fury

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