Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Everything but the same old cars

Archive for the ‘Performance’ Category

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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Measuring Honda CR-Z Performance

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On July - 1 - 2010

honda-crz-leadFor those who ponder how aftermarket parts and performance upgrades are available as soon as an automobile hits the market, this Honda CR-Z measuring session is the answer. The Specialty Equipment Marketing Association, or SEMA, brings the big car makers together with aftermarket gurus far enough ahead so that the good stuff is ready for action as soon as the automobile is. The three 2011 Honda CR-Z hybrids shown here are being measured for everything from seat covers to supercharger systems. Constructing a 2700 or so pound production automobile that has an electric motor, an internal combustion engine, multiple batteries – and survives the NHTSA giant mechanized robot gorilla and evil steam shovel gnashing of cars test is a feat in itself. The new Honda sporting hybrid is a departure from the usual drab green automobile formula. This joint Honda-SEMA measuring session means the titans of the automotive aftermarket are already at work, and that Honda CR-Z owners will have a choice of suspension, brake, wheel, and engine modifications ready straight away. Now if Ford would finally build the Nucleon, we could hop up the on board atomic reactor with some hot control rods and exotic fissile isotopes.

Thanks go out to Honda and SEMA for letting us peer into this top secret session. Archive imagery courtesy of Honda. Look for the 2011 Honda CR-Z in late August 2010.

Breaker Points Ignition Upgrade

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On April - 12 - 2010

pertronix-citroen-01 Along with technological miracles of the ’60′s and ’70s such as urethane skateboard wheels and mood rings came the advent of transistorized electronic ignition. With no moving parts to wear out, this modern advancement relegated breaker points ignition to the trash bin of automotive technological history. Breaker points cause the ignition dwell to change as they wear out, requiring near constant adjustment and frequent replacement. Ditching the points distributor and upgrading to an electronic ignition usually involves one or more trips to the boneyard, some creative rewiring, and with removal and replacement of the distributor. Enter the Pertronix Ignitor. This simple Hall Effect device replaces the breaker points with a solid state transistorized upgrade in the same space the old mechanical points sat – with no distributor modifications required. Better still is Pertronix has Ignitor breaker points replacements for everything from Volkswagen Bugs to a 1969 Citro├źn DS Safari Wagon. Read the rest of this entry »

Slicing into a Sixties Charger

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On February - 23 - 2010

kozik_charger_leadMost folks think of automobiles comprised of parts that are fitted together with no imperfections or miscarved lines to ruin the illusion of perfection. While this may be somewhat true of a car or truck made in the last ten years or so, it is certainly not the case of an automobile manufactured as recently as the eighties. Dip back into the sixties and things get even more agricultural. Getting a car straight at the robot-free factory circa 1969 meant people using hammers, shims, and spreaders full of molten lead. Bringing a fusty old Mopar that rolled off the assembly line fortysomething years ago back into line again after an accident involves drastic measures.

This 1969 Dodge Charger owned and maintained by Frank Kozik of the Chiselers SF needed its coke bottle curves smoothed back to jet age perfection after getting rear-ended. While some of us might be able to fashion up some sort of near facsimile of a Dodge body panel with a gallon of Bondo and a potato masher, the end result won’t look better than it did when it came from the factory. Kozik decided new rear quarter panels were the way to go. Ace custom and body man Rolfe Brittain took on the job, and let us peer into the process from the first cut. Slicing through forty years of Mopar is not a task for the ill-equipped. Check out the gallery for the beginning of the work. Head on over to Rolfe’s for the ongoing saga of getting the lead out and put back in again.

More: Rolfe James Brittain Customizing

Return of Bluebird

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On September - 17 - 2009

For 1966, Datsun went to 11. The durable and Pininfarina-styled Datusn P410 was stepped up with more engine and became the Datsun P411. In 2004 Pete Peterson found this 1967 Datsun RL411 Bluebird SSS wearing various shades of blue and surface rust, and woke it up from a 20-year junkyard slumber. The chronicle of the this Datsun is one of two cars, forty years, and a meandering creekbed road. Read the rest of this entry »

Budget Motoring Five and Dime

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 13 - 2009

datsun_510_slots1.jpg From the driving a work in progress department comes this 1973 Datsun 510. Dan Carney woke up the coupe from a longish and stationary nap. Over the course of a year he’s enjoyed his lot as builder and test pilot of this poor man’s BMW. On the way to roadworthy Dan stepped up the mechanicals beyond the usual resurrection process of swapping out rotten hydraulic hoses and spongy fuel lines. The suspension underneath the green road patina employs the finest in junkyard engineering and swap meet scores to keep the car on corner line and give it the right stance. The slot mags? All that is known of the mystery brand of 14-inch aluminum magnesium alloy hoops is that they came with the 510 by way of a Datsun Z-car. Read the rest of this entry »

Datsun by Nissan

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On August - 7 - 2009

nissan_200sx1.jpg One of the more amazing things about moving to the west coast in the eighties was seeing 20-something year old cars driving around that looked as if they had rolled off the assembly line only a week before. No road salt? No rust! Original hubcaps. Shining paint. Occasional Malibus and Novas were then punctuated by an odd Barracuda or similar economical yet stylish choice from the 1968 model lineup. Fast forward twenty years, and the phenomenon is just as incredible. Case in point is this 1982 Datsun 200SX by Nissan, owned and driven by Maria since she bought the sport coupe brand new.

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LeMon of the Week III

Posted by Jonny Lieberman On April - 2 - 2009

citroen_smBack to France in just two short weeks? Is Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife double-barrel smoking hot? And why you ask? Because this week our LeMon is a rusty 1973 Citroen SM. According to some of those car cognesceti types (hi mom!), the Citroen SM is one of the very greatest cars ever made. If not the greatest. To more rational, reasonable and logic-based types, the Sport Maserati by Citroen is a five-alarm fire from which you must run, run, run! Maybe it’s one of the three timing chains that need to be tuned every 5,000 feet miles, or the fact that you’re getting a mix of French hydropneumatic suspension and late 60s Italian engine technology. But never mind any of that. Just think of all the advantages such a fine piece of machinery offers your LeMons team.

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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