Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rob Baker put together a gallery of women racing at Brooklands in the 1930's

The most complete set of John Deere tools we're likely to see

from 1969, What Is a Truck Driver

GT 350

Interceptor, 1979. She's meanness set to music, and the bitch is born to run

1921 Kelly Field, Texas

How cops make money... they set up a situation to write tickets, having a guy walk back and forth across a street. That is his job for the day, eff up traffic.

Named as Somerville in the source article, but it did not give the state, in this video uploaded to Facebook on Monday showing what low levels to which police will stoop in order to issue a citation. This Police Department devised an ingenious method for catching “dangerous” criminals.

the van making photoshopper strikes again, this time, it's a COE

Found on

Probably the work of Jens Moller who did the others that I completely am nuts about, and hope someone builds. They would stun people at car shows for certain.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

book review, The Arsenal Of Democracy by A J Baime

In a word, terrific.

291 pages, 21 photos, and took about 8 hours to read

the story of Edsel Ford is the thread wound through this incredibly deep thoroughly researched history of how the Ford motor company began and was a success in the assembly line method of building cars even in the depression, and then when Hitler attacked other countries for conquest, and England implored the US for military assistance, events progressed to where President Roosevelt changed the course of American history from it's trend to neutrality and drawing down it's military to less than that of an ability to defend itself from hostile military takeover (Germany and Hitler) because of it's safe zones of the oceans to either side, and friendly neighbors to the North and South.

The sheer amount of history I learned from reading about the military status of the USA in the late 1930s was shocking. You'll probably find that to be true for you as well, as the high school history education in the 1980s I had in Michigan was useless in most aspects, and certainly about the years and events between the great depression and the onset of the USA's involvement in WW2. You might like reading this book just for that. But that is only a couple chapters.

You might value it for the extraordinary education about Henry, Edsel, Henry II and the way that family operated the Ford Motor Company before WW2, and how Edsel as president of the company had to fight his dad Henry, who never did loose the reins of the business, who was a pacifist and didn't want the company to make machines for war to kill an army that wasn't attacking the USA.

You'll likely never before have considered how the Ford family had to deal with their factories in Germany, France, etc that they had friends and business colleagues managing, were getting into a no win situation in enemy territory, and forced to build and sell Ford trucks and vehicles to the Nazi army, and communicating with those managers now making producing for, and collaborating with the Nazis.

Once the determination was made to stop making cars, and shift into production of B24s, they had to create an assembly line production for making airplanes... and no one was doing that. B24s were being made individually, and not very well... and for those of you that have ever worked in a factory, with engineering drawings, you will probably grasp the difficulty of starting to build a 4 engine bomber. I believe the book said the number of drawings for individual parts, and some of you will know that you have to make every single nut, bolt, rivet, and washer to the drawing spec, and the number of drawings was something like 5.9 million individual drawings. That's just for one plane.

The plant to make the bombers, Willow Run, was so enormous, it took 156000 lights in the ceiling to make it lit well enough to work, and keep in mind it was a dark out building so it wouldn't be seen at night in case of a bombing run by the Nazis. No windows. There are a couple chapters on how they had to design the factory to make so many different machines, foundry processes for a half dozen metals, chemical processes to treat the metals, x ray machines to check for bad forgings and castings, and the list just keeps growing of all the many things under that one roof it took to make the B24s. It's fascinating. And that's just the machinery, consider the people, the workers, and all the variety of things to make it a place that thousands of people could work together. Hospital beds, nurses, doctors and operating rooms for the workers injured on the job. Cafeterias for eating, bathrooms, break rooms, and all the rest. Training rooms for riverters, welders, mechanics, and the other specialist jobs.

Throughout the book are stats, facts and figures that I just found incredible, but a couple in particular are amazing. Like the way the author explained the interior size of Willow Run to be so large, every major league baseball team could have played 8 games simultaneously, with a crowd of 30,000 spectators for each game, and there would still be enough room left over for a football stadium and another 30,000 spectators. Ponder that.

The book is the best education you'll probably get on what it took to win the war from the standpoint of raw materials made into war machines. Of all the nations iron, 1/2 went to Detroit, as well as 3/4s of the plate glass, the leather, rubber, etc etc

A chapter or two go into the difficult problems they had with hiring thousands of people and not having anywhere to house them. Tent cities with no water, laundry, showers, or sewage systems. Once getting people to Detroit, training them and then little by little finding them leaving due to being drafted, injured, or moving on, they had to search farther out for workers, and went through the south on hiring trips to keep up the number of workers. It was the twelfth year of the great depression and 17 million people left home to find work in a war factory int he first half of the 40's, and Detroit grew to be the 4th largest city in the USA. The book also goes into the race riots, brought on by the racist southerners, the strikers, and the antagonists that wanted it all to fail. Ever hear about the Battle of the Overpass? You're going to get an astonishing amount of history in this book.

You'll be amazed at the pivotal moments that Henry and Edsel's wife made in keeping Henry in check. Blown away. You're likely already aware that Henry Ford is credited by most of  history as having changed the world. He was stubborn enough to accomplish about anything, and there were times when he had to have his mind changed about a couple of things. I'll leave it a mystery you can get to when you read the book.

Throughout the book the author has brilliantly placed excerpts or condensed versions of the diaries of people that kept a journal of their arrival at the factory, how they coped with the complete change of civilization, from normal life to ration stamps for food and gas.

It's one of the most amazing books I've read.... and you regular readers probably recall the other book reviews I've done, and you have no idea how many books I've read... before becoming a blogger I was an avid reader.

You can read a far briefer review at though it seems far more professional than my own way of writing and describing the book.

finding a 1967 GT500 Shelby Cobra Mustang... awesome. Buying it for 15thou in 1997, incredible. Letting it decay/not doing anything to fix it... signs you are "that guy" who is going to "fix it up someday"

Monday, July 07, 2014

National Historic Vehicle Registry

The first was the 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe, specifically CSX 2287 which won the FIA championship for Shelby / American racing team for the first time.

The Meyers Manx  prototype, 1964

And the 1938 Maserati 8CTF Boyle Special that won Indy in 1939 and 1940

the short list of cars on the list to be next include the 1907 Thomas Flyer that won the 1908 New York to Paris race, a 1919 Pierce Arrow owned by President Wilson, and a 1952 Hudson Hornet

Draft Criteria for Historic Significance
Criterion A: Associative Value – Event
A vehicle associated with an event or events that are important in automotive or American history.
 1903 Packard “Old Pacific” – early transcontinental traveler
 1953 Ferrari 375 MM – President’s Cup winner Andrews AFB race

Criterion B: Associative Value – Person
A vehicle associated with the lives of significant persons in automotive or American history.
 1932 Duesenberg SJ – Fred Duesenberg’s personal car
1909 White Steam Car – first US Presidential automobile

Criterion C: Design or Construction Value
 A vehicle that is distinctive based on design, engineering, craftsmanship or aesthetic value.
 1948 Tucker (design/engineering)
1925 Doble (engineering – steam)

Criterion D: Informational Value
 A vehicle of a particular type that was the first or last produced, has an element of rarity as a survivor of its type, or is among the most well-preserved or thoughtfully restored surviving examples. 1953 Corvette EX122 (prototype)
1899 Packard (first Packard built)

What do you make of a magazines "all star" picks when 1/2 of the winners and runner ups are gone, on life support, or their manufacturing company is out of business

Brian Wright wrote a letter to the editor of Automobile magazine pointing out that 3 winners and 7 runner ups from 1991 to 2012 weren't enough to survive, or keep their companies in business

Saturn SC, Chrysler LH, Plymouth Neon, Saab 900, Oldsmobile Aurora and Mercury Mystique, Pontiac Solstice, Fisker Karma, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Mazda RX 8, Lotus Elise

It's not that the "all star" pick is the same as the Madden Curse, or other famous winning problem, like the Heisman Trophy ( I'm no expert, but don't Heisman winners also have a big problem after winning?) but it seems like these 3 things are nothing but trouble.

meanwhile... in auction news, it turned out to be a waste of time to store a '95 ZR1 since day one of ownership

19 years of storing a ZR1 and not driving it... it had 60 miles on the odometer, was proven to be a mistake at the May 13th Mecum auction, when the latest investor/owner auctioned it off and got zero profit. They should have just driven it home and finally enjoyed the car they been storing. For 19 years. 19 years of hoping to profit from it, and they sold it for $64,800. They paid at least the $68,000 that Chevrolet asked for it.
So, if storage is a factor, and time is worth money... and that sure had to be a gut punch to discover that they'd either sold too soon and not kept it until the value went higher... or realized that it never will, because a new Corvette is only worth about 60 thou, and a 20 year old one isn't going to draw the same money as a better one that's new and doesn't need new rubber hoses and what not to be driveable but not as competitive, but looks about the same. 

Toyota is moving from Torrance California to Plano Texas

Texas is footing a $40,000,000 dollar bill in state assistance... to a company worth $40,000,000,000 that is 40 million paid or waived on taxes to a company worth 40 billion. There's a 39 billion and 960 million dollar difference in those two numbers.

The money might not matter as much as the easier business and lower cost of living for the 3000 California employees and 1600 Kentucky employees.

Toyota says it's relocating to be closer to it's plants and factories, and to plan to do business for the next 50 years.

A good article in Car and Driver August 2014 is written all about it by John Phillips, page 28. 

Eddie Alterman just did a well written piece in Car and Driver about the LaFerrari

and one line is very funny...

"I've driven cars that have tried to kill me before, but none with such a vast resume of homicidal know-how"

What is 270 mph...

the fastest street legal production car made today goes around 270.

Well, in 1938 Rosemeyer did 269 in the Auto Union V16 race car with the skinny bias ply tires of 1938

ponder that. 80 years and a streetable car can perform to the limits of a race car from about 76 years ago

no daytime speed limit of Montana, what happened to that? Answer - one asshole cop (Ken Braidenbach) pulled over guy (Rudy Stanko) who challenged his speeding ticket for 85mph in an unsafe area

Neither Nevada nor Montana had a daytime speed limit before before the the 1974 action that made 55 the federal speed limit... and when the double nickel was repealed in 1995 reverted to the original anything goes at your own risk... Rudy, who is easily found by Google due to his frequent legal problems was driving 85 mph. No big deal, I do it a lot. But he was in some area with no shoulders, narrow, and had frost heaves (according to the asshole cop qwho had to come up with some reason to arrest the driver) was hilly and curvy, and the cop and the judge who dissented from the majority of the rest of the judges on the case found that driving over hills and around curves is inherently unsafe because you can't see over hills and around corners. Appearantly, the judge and cop never do so. Saints among us, just absolute angels. (assholes)

So driving on a 2 lane in March 1996, in a 1996 Camaro with new tires, in full daylight, with no traffic and no other discernable elements to make his 85mph "unsafe" caused an asshole cop to pull over the Camaro. Damn cliche!

You can read the entire case, and it's effing great to read the legal brief that explains the appeal to the speeding ticket based on the vague nature of unconstitutional, but in brief, the cop, and the effing attorney general of the state of Montana could come up with no reason to arrest and ticket the driver Rudy. SO :

¶ 28 It is evident from the testimony in this case and the arguments to the Court that the average motorist in Montana would have no idea of the speed at which he or she could operate his or her motor vehicle on this State's highways without violating Montana's “basic rule” based simply on the speed at which he or she is traveling.   Furthermore, the basic rule not only permits, but requires the kind of arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement that the due process clause in general, and the void-for-vagueness doctrine in particular, are designed to prevent.   It impermissibly delegates the basic public policy of how fast is too fast on Montana's highways to “policemen, judges, and juries for resolution on an ad hoc and subjective basis.”  Grayned, 408 U.S. at 109, 92 S.Ct. at 2299, 33 L.Ed.2d at 228. - 

¶ 29 For example, the statute requires that a motor vehicle operator and Montana's law enforcement personnel take into consideration the amount of traffic at the location in question, the condition of the vehicle's brakes, the vehicle's weight, the grade and width of the highway, the condition of its surface, and its freedom from obstruction to the view ahead.   However, there is no specification of how these various factors are to be weighted, or whether priority should be given to some factors as opposed to others.   This case is a good example of the problems inherent in trying to consistently apply all of these variables in a way that gives motorists notice of the speed at which the operation of their vehicle becomes a violation of the law.   For all practical purposes, there was no other traffic on the highway at the time that Stanko was arrested, the condition of his vehicle was excellent, the surface of the road was dry, and the view ahead was unobstructed for a distance of at least 249 to 374 feet.   On the other hand, the road was narrow, there were hills and curves which presented some degree of obstruction to the view ahead, and there was an occasional frost heave on the surface of the road.   A reasonable speed under these circumstances would require a calculation of sight distances and stopping distances for the particular vehicle.   These functions are normally provided by engineers employed by highway departments who then post signs indicating when it is necessary to reduce speed on a curve or hill crest in order to safely operate a motor vehicle.   It is not the kind of decision that the average motor vehicle operator is qualified to make, and not the kind of decision that policemen or highway patrolmen should be called upon to make.   Most importantly, for constitutional purposes, even if law enforcement officials were qualified to make those kinds of judgments, the statute would not satisfy the requirement that a motor vehicle operator of average intelligence know what conduct is prohibited and when his or her conduct is going to be subject to criminal penalties. -

¶ 30 For these reasons, we conclude that that part of § 61-8-303(1), MCA, which makes it a criminal offense to operate a motor vehicle “at a rate of speed ․ greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation” is void for vagueness on its face and in violation of the Due Process Clause of Article II, Section 17, of the Montana Constitution.

¶ 31 We do not, however, mean to imply that motorists who lose control of their vehicle or endanger the life, limb, or property of others by the operation of their vehicle on a street or highway cannot be punished for that conduct pursuant to other statutes, such as § 61-8-301, MCA (reckless driving), or § 61-8-302, MCA (careless driving).   We simply hold that Montanans cannot be charged, prosecuted, and punished for speed alone without notifying them of the speed at which their conduct violates the law.

I learned about this from Car and Driver magazine, August 2014, page 66. They really should have reprinted the legal brief,  it's fantastic.

And so, they had to put up speed limits in Montana because cops aren't able to use better professional judgement to give speeding tickets. 

in a rare unique situation, a train derailed and dumped planes into a river. Probably has never happened before, ever

737s made in Kansas and transported to Washington... because how does that make sense? anyway, the train derailed in Montana... and now these are probably ready to scrap. Who would risk buying them?

Found on via and a gallery of more images can be found at

Sunday, July 06, 2014

my great great grandmother on my dad's mom's side, in her son's first new car in 1915

thanks to my Uncle Bruce for scanning and posting this on facebook!

She was possibly the first generation of her family to leave Scotland, or the last to stay... as I've been told that my dad's mom was a girl when crossing the Atlantic by ship to come to America with her parents

For a look at a remarkably similar 1915 Model T, I took photos of

LeMonstre of Le Mans

Le Mans allowed altering the body of a standard cars, so judicious aerodynamic and weight loss mods to a standard series 61 Cadillac (see the next post images for comparison) making it 13 mph faster and 3 inches narrower.

images and info from

Cunningham 1950 LeMans entry, a series 61 Cadillac

obviously an odd choice for a sports car race, but the only way to get the choice Cadillac engine for racing in Le Mans where they weren't allowing a mix of engines from Cadillac and cars from Ford.

Averaging only 8 miles an hour slower than the winner, and placing 10th, it was a surprise to everyone I believe

Info and photo from

1939 hot rod racer of Briggs Cunningham, the Bu Merc

irritated that so many cars in the ARCA (Auto Racing Club of Amercia) were not American, Briggs Cunningham assembled a 1939 Buick chassis under a SSK Mercedes body, with the help of a Indy 500 Buick racer.

IT was ready in time for the last race at the New York World's Fair, in October of 1940, but due to brake fade, ran into a lamp post. Then racing was cancelled until after WW2, and when in 1948 racing resumed at Watkins Glen, with the SCCA, the car was improved to mods suggested by Buick's VP of engineering. It placed 2nd behind an Alfa... and seems to have triggered Cunningham to make his own sports cars.

Photos and info found on the Rev's Institute which seems to be the car collection of the Collier brothers ( Miles and Sam) who were drivers for and friends of Briggs in his Le Mans and SCCA racing. They are also the sons of the founder of Collier County Florida.

the best selling car in the US in the '90s