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#451 Magoo

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 14:43

Here's a Detroit-area event showing another aspect of the Motor City and the car industry.... in part, goes back to a traditional practice of Detroit auto execs finding, restoring, and owning vintage cars... it was a status & pecking order thing. Bragging rights, shows how one is a "real car guy," etc.

Anyway, partly as a result there are a whole lot of really old cars around this town, passed down through families and so on, and one of the events where they come out is the annual Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village, Henry Ford's historical theme park, the picture-perfect venue for a vintage car show. The cutoff date is 1932, so this is strictly OG stuff.

Two photo essays about the 2012 event last weekend:


Greenfield Village Old Car Festival 2012 | Mac's Motor City Garage.com


More from the Greenfield Village Old Car Festival 2012 | Mac's Motor City Garage.com



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#452 Magoo

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 17:09

Here's yet another series at Mac's Motor City Garage.com inspired by conversations with you guys. I guess I will just keep trading off your ideas until they run out.

This is called The Year in Cars -- instead of focusing on a particular make, theme, styling feature, mechanical topic, etc. it's pick a model year. 1932, a seminal year for American cars, seemed like a good place to start.

The Year in Cars: 1932 | Mac's Motor City Garage.com


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Edited by Magoo, 13 November 2012 - 17:16.


#453 Canuck

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:21

Man - we think we build big vehicles now. I can't get over the sheer vastness of some of those cars. They were huge.

#454 Magoo

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 23:54

Man - we think we build big vehicles now. I can't get over the sheer vastness of some of those cars. They were huge.


Yes indeed, but maybe not as big as they look. The Franklin close-coupled coupe/sedan above is on a 144-in wheelbase, while the Buick 7-pass. sedan is 134 in. The tall wheels and tires add to the statement.

Here's an in-depth followup on the story above with more photos and info illustrating how styling evolved in this period.


More on the Year in Cars: 1932 | Mac's Motor City Garage.com



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#455 mariner

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 18:56

I hope I'm not stealing Magoo's thunder by going back to the Packard plant part of this story , but the Detroit newspaper hasa whole section on it

http://www.freep.com...EWS01/120814070

Its a pretty impressive peice of historical journalism for a daily paper

#456 Magoo

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 19:27

I hope I'm not stealing Magoo's thunder by going back to the Packard plant part of this story , but the Detroit newspaper hasa whole section on it

http://www.freep.com...EWS01/120814070

Its a pretty impressive peice of historical journalism for a daily paper


I was just going to post a link to it here. It's magnificent, the best feature on the Packard plant ever done.

My favorite is the then-and-now photo gallery with the trick mouse-over gadget.


#457 Magoo

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 16:35

I hope everyone checks out the Free Press article on the Packard Plant -- it really is impressive. I only wish wish we had the resources and skills to do something of that caliber.


Meanwhile, among our humble offerings, here's the latest in The Year in Cars series, 1949. It was an important year for the Motor City automakers with many important new models and developments. Please check out the story and photos. As always, your input and feedback are highly valued.



The Year in Cars: 1949 | Mac's Motor City Garage.com


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#458 Terry Walker

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 16:29

Love your site, Magoo.

#459 Magoo

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 00:04

Love your site, Magoo.


Thanks. I take that as a genuine compliment coming from a member of this forum. I just try to publish material that is of interest to us gearheads.

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#460 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:37

Originally posted by Magoo
Yes indeed, but maybe not as big as they look. The Franklin close-coupled coupe/sedan above is on a 144-in wheelbase, while the Buick 7-pass. sedan is 134 in. The tall wheels and tires add to the statement.

Here's an in-depth followup on the story above with more photos and info illustrating how styling evolved in this period.


More on the Year in Cars: 1932 | Mac's Motor City Garage.com




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Speaking of (huge!) Franklins, this nice old example was in a shop for resto work when I was in California:

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Undoubtedly it was a very long wheelbase model and clearly a true classic:

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And that unique - and probably very strong! - inline six:

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...which will, incidentally, be replaced by a small block Chevy in the interests of simplicity in service!

Edited by Ray Bell, 10 December 2012 - 12:38.


#461 Tony Matthews

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 14:19

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Looks like someone was thinking inside the box...

#462 Magoo

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 18:28

...which will, incidentally, be replaced by a small block Chevy in the interests of simplicity in service!


Oh, I hope not.

#463 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:21

Your hopes are definitely in vain...

I couldn't believe it when the bloke told me. He's doing the job and has no qualms about it at all.

The owner clearly doesn't deserve the right to own this car!

#464 Greg Locock

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:41

This is what he could have had

http://commons.wikim...klin_engine.jpg

what a shame.



#465 Magoo

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:21

Along with air cooling, the Franklin had a number of unusual features. Note the full elliptic leaf springs at the front.


In authentic condition this car qualifies as a Full Classic with the CCCA. As a street rod it would only be weird and ungainly.

EDIT: Also used a laminated wood chassis frame until rather late, '25 or '28. Franklin axles and steering gears were very nice pieces often used on racing cars of the period.

Edited by Magoo, 11 December 2012 - 11:43.


#466 Magoo

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:00

Before there was a Tech Center in Warren, Harley Earl used the roof of the GM Research Center, aka the Argonaut Building, in Detroit as his design courtyard. Throughout the '30s, countless new models were viewed and photographed there.

Here's a little story about Harley Earl and the Argonaut Building with plenty of photos, including some rare prototype cars:


Up on the Roof | Mac's Motor City Garage.com


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#467 Kelpiecross

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:20

...which will, incidentally, be replaced by a small block Chevy in the interests of simplicity in service!


The Chevy could be just a temporary fix so the owner can actually drive the car around. I don't know if it would be possible at all to rebuild the Franklin engine - if it was possible I would imagine that it would be very expensive and probably take years to do.
If fitting the Chevy caused no irreversible changes to be made to the chassis - I see no harm in doing this.

#468 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:03

Nooo...

The restorer made it quite clear that the reason was to make the car more practical. The original engine would not be considered at all. And I think it went further than just the engine.

#469 Kelpiecross

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:42

Nooo...

The restorer made it quite clear that the reason was to make the car more practical. The original engine would not be considered at all. And I think it went further than just the engine.



If so, that would be very unfortunate.

#470 Magoo

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 15:03

Unfortunate indeed. As mentioned earlier, in original form the Franklin Airman is a rare and desirable auto that enjoys full Classic status with the Classic Car Club of America. With a small-block Chevy V8 it's just another weird old off-brand street rod. Recently I featured a gorgeous little '35 Chevy Standard Coupe at the website, a very original car with tons of character. The owner says people often ask him how come his car doesn't have loud, bright paint and giant chrome wheels. They seem genuinely confused.


In other Yank Tank news, here is a piece on the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana, one of the great car guy destinations... beautiful, historic facility with a matchless collection of cars. Until you can make it there yourself, here's a big photo essay.



A Visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum | Mac's Motor City Garage.com



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#471 Canuck

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:59

The J Murphy poking it's not-inconsiderable snout into the foreground is a creation to behold. Between the stunning black '37 812, this J Murphy and the orange '29 L-29 I could gaze for hours. Of course there's the imposing E-1 prototype...and the Cabin Speedster...and the Boattail...

Most of these cars I'd only ever heard referenced in passing. The Boattail so...perfect - it (and many of the others) has that undefinable (for this schlep) presence, collection of shapes and flow...I don't know. They really don't make them like that today do they?

#472 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 08:29

Unfortunate indeed. As mentioned earlier, in original form the Franklin Airman is a rare and desirable auto that enjoys full Classic status with the Classic Car Club of America. With a small-block Chevy V8 it's just another weird old off-brand street rod. Recently I featured a gorgeous little '35 Chevy Standard Coupe at the website, a very original car with tons of character. The owner says people often ask him how come his car doesn't have loud, bright paint and giant chrome wheels. They seem genuinely confused.


In other Yank Tank news, here is a piece on the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana, one of the great car guy destinations... beautiful, historic facility with a matchless collection of cars. Until you can make it there yourself, here's a big photo essay.



A Visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum | Mac's Motor City Garage.com



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When I was a kid I had an Auburn similar to the brown one in the background. Navy blue with dark colored leather cloth. It was my cubby house for lack of a better word. It was used to help fill in a swamp in about 1968. I reckon it had disc wheels, defenitly not wires, Columbia 2 speed diff i am sure and was a straight 8 sidevalve that was broken. Which I guess is how the car was scrapped in the first place.
Hindsight is a wonderfull thing, it would be worth a dollar or two now. And be a very classy pre war drive.

As for the Franklin, really a shame to see it rodded, BUT at a guess the cost to refurbish the mechanicals would be beyond most people expertise and budget. In that respect a Chev makes so much sense. otherwise quite possibly the car will just become scrap metal.

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 18 December 2012 - 08:34.


#473 Magoo

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 09:28

Remember this tale from early in the thread? Here's the long version of the Aerocar/Hudson plant story, with lots more facts and photos...


Still Standing: The Aerocar/Hudson Plant | Mac's Motor City Garage.com



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#474 mariner

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 10:04

Way back I posted a bit about my visit to the Morgan factory with some poor quality pics.

The Autocar magazine has kindly done some professional shots of the factory for a christmas feature . Here

http://www.autocar.c...actory-revealed

It may be old but they are very far from out of date in assembly efficiency, the scissors jacks to raise the aero chassis to a good working height is new addition since I was three a year ago.

One funny detail, if you look very closely in the right had side of the old office shot you will see a book with man's face on it. He is John Harvey - Jones the ex boss of what was Britani's biggest chemical company ICI. He did a TV series called troubleshooter "fixiing " businesses in trouble usig his CEO skills. He was highly critical of Morgan saying it was hopelessely out of date in its methods.

"Organisations featured included Morgan Motor Company, Copella apple juice and Triang toys,[5] where Harvey-Jones put his finger on the problems they faced or in some cases had created, and pointed the way to success. Sometimes they followed his advice, such as at Copella, and sometimes, notably at Morgan, he was met with absolute resistance".

Today ICI doesn't even exist any more - Morgan has had its best ever production year - I like their sense of humour!

Edited by mariner, 24 December 2012 - 10:06.


#475 275 GTB-4

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 10:14

Way back I posted a bit about my visit to the Morgan factory with some poor quality pics.

The Autocar magazine has kindly done some professional shots of the factory for a christmas feature . Here

http://www.autocar.c...actory-revealed

It may be old but they are very far from out of date in assembly efficiency, the scissors jacks to raise the aero chassis to a good working height is new addition since I was three a year ago.

One funny detail, if you look very closely in the right had side of the old office shot you will see a book with man's face on it. He is John Harvey - Jones the ex boss of what was Britani's biggest chemical company ICI. He did a TV series called troubleshooter "fixiing " businesses in trouble usig his CEO skills. He was highly critical of Morgan saying it was hopelessely out of date in its methods.

"Organisations featured included Morgan Motor Company, Copella apple juice and Triang toys,[5] where Harvey-Jones put his finger on the problems they faced or in some cases had created, and pointed the way to success. Sometimes they followed his advice, such as at Copella, and sometimes, notably at Morgan, he was met with absolute resistance".

Today ICI doesn't even exist any more - Morgan has had its best ever production year - I like their sense of humour!


Scissors jacks you say?? to raise the aero chassis to a good working height? is new addition since I was three a year ago....at this rate of progress they will discover computers etc :cat: :p

#476 mariner

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 16:19

Yes, a new scissor jack is pretty low tech. but yes they do have some computers and they run just in time stock control.

I do think Morgan are smart as a business . They make about 900 cars /yr. with about 160 staff, so six units per worker. To make a comparison Ferrari employed 2,600 staff in 2011 to build 7,000 cars or under 3 cars per worker. Obviously Morgan don't make engines, unlike Ferrari, but why bother when you have supply of 32 valve BMW V-8's with an eight speed auto.

A Plus 8 is $100k at retail ,pre taxes and is assembled in 80 hours. So revenue is over $1,000 per hour . Of course most of it is bought-in sub assemblies and powertrains so all they actualy do is paint, trim and assembly plus doing the core Morgan thing the alloy body which helps cost control.

The fixed costs aren't huge either - aside from any R+D - the whole factory is about the size of four main dealer workshops plus a modern paint shop.



#477 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 22:11

Just-in-time stock control would be very important with the costs of some of the components they're installing...

Why, oh why, would a Morgan come with an 8-speed automatic transmission? Isn't there a 5- or 6-speed manual available?

#478 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 23:25

Just-in-time stock control would be very important with the costs of some of the components they're installing...

Why, oh why, would a Morgan come with an 8-speed automatic transmission? Isn't there a 5- or 6-speed manual available?

I dont think the Bimmer engine comes with a manual?
In the case of Morgan they can probably order most of the components when they get the order, especially the expensive stuff like the engines and transmissions.
Though I bet the steel for the chassis etc is a bit special and has to be ordered in reasonably large amounts at a time. I doubt it is off the shelf 3x2 or similar.

#479 275 GTB-4

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 05:20

Probably done by subbies...for example:

http://www.radshape.co.uk/bonding.html

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#480 mariner

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 10:13

Yes, a lot is outsourced and always has been. Bit like the old days of UK racecar production where Arch motors, Wiliams and Pritchard plus Specialised Mouldings did so much of the fabrication.

The bonded chassis is one, by the company linked by 275, the old plus 4 ladder chassis has ben outsourced for decades and the beautiful flowing wings of the Aero 8 are produced by an aerospace sub contractor via a unusual very hot air blow moulding process.

More details of how Morgan build here

http://www.morgan-mo...nufacturer.html

#481 Magoo

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:45

Yes, a lot is outsourced and always has been. Bit like the old days of UK racecar production where Arch motors, Wiliams and Pritchard plus Specialised Mouldings did so much of the fabrication.

The bonded chassis is one, by the company linked by 275, the old plus 4 ladder chassis has ben outsourced for decades and the beautiful flowing wings of the Aero 8 are produced by an aerospace sub contractor via a unusual very hot air blow moulding process.

More details of how Morgan build here

http://www.morgan-mo...nufacturer.html


I wonder how much of a premium is built into the list price by the historical cachet of the Morgan brand? What could they get for the car if it had Toyota or Dodge badges? Not $85,000 USD, I don't think.

#482 Magoo

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:58

Here is yet another story inspired by a previous conversation in this forum...it's about the modeling phase of automotive styling/design. A car is often won or lost in the clay studio. Here's a big photo gallery with nearly 60 examples, including some real winners and losers...enjoy.


Dreams and Nightmares -- the Clay Studio Edition | Mac's Motor City Garage.com


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#483 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 21:54

I trust you don't mind that I've directed folk from another forum to your site, Mac...

Some wonderful stuff on that page!

#484 Magoo

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 21:58

I trust you don't mind that I've directed folk from another forum to your site, Mac...

Some wonderful stuff on that page!


No, I appreciate it a great deal. Digital "word of mouth" is the only possible way to build an audience on the web. Thank you!


#485 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 00:28

Here is yet another story inspired by a previous conversation in this forum...it's about the modeling phase of automotive styling/design. A car is often won or lost in the clay studio. Here's a big photo gallery with nearly 60 examples, including some real winners and losers...enjoy.


Dreams and Nightmares -- the Clay Studio Edition | Mac's Motor City Garage.com


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Now that 300C is so ugly it is beautifull. It is art.
Where as a Checker had styling? I thought they just drew it up and made the tooling.
A modern lack of styling is late model Toyota Hi Ace vans. The most 2 dimensional vehicle I have ever seen.

#486 Magoo

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 15:37

Some sad or at least unsettling news many of you have already heard.. the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, MI is not closing, exactly. But it is suspending viewing hours for the general public indefinitely at the end of the year. Here is a brief explanation of the facility's future, along with a big gallery of photos of the car collection taken this weekend. What a great collection of cars!

A Final* Visit to the Walter P. Chrysler Museum | Mac's Motor City Garage.com



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#487 Magoo

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 14:30

Now that 300C is so ugly it is beautifull. It is art.
Where as a Checker had styling? I thought they just drew it up and made the tooling.


The huge-finned Chrysler 300 was actually built in metal and Virgil Exner was known to cruise it around town. The driver was sorta better looking than the clay model, in photos anyway. I'll look around for some good images.

I don't know who designed the Checker A8... hmm, seems like something I am supposed to know. For what it is, I think it's fairly handsome in the original single headlamp version. I would assume Checker would have farmed out the design work and the clay modeling, as seldom as they would ever need them, and they probably didn't spend a ton on it, as you suggest. The photo looks a bit like Creative Industries. Note the privacy drapes.

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#488 Magoo

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:15

1957 Chrysler C 500C proposal, aka Project 613, aka "The Five Hundred"

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#489 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:33

1957 Chrysler C 500C proposal, aka Project 613, aka "The Five Hundred"

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Really a 300 with some custom rear 1/4s and the spare wheel location.
I see a few 300s here in Adelaide with all sorts of different specs. Engines, body and trim. No I do not want one but I do appreciate the art that Chrsler made with those big cars.
The Checker however does not seem to feature locally, I cant imagine why.
I am told there is an upmarket? one in Victoria. Though why would one ever buy a car that is bland ugly and basic. I guess they were quite functional!

#490 Magoo

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:57

Really a 300 with some custom rear 1/4s and the spare wheel location.


Exactly. Except for the cartoon fins and continental spare, this design became the 1957 Chrysler.

To my eye, the gigantic tailfins truly dwarf the rest of the car -- they actually do make the rest of the car look smaller in the photos.



#491 Magoo

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 06:31

The Checker however does not seem to feature locally, I cant imagine why.
I am told there is an upmarket? one in Victoria. Though why would one ever buy a car that is bland ugly and basic. I guess they were quite functional!


The Checker was also offered in civilian versions, first the Superba and then the Marathon, available as both a 4D sedan and a station wagon. It was the taxi with more colors and chrome trim and nicer interior materials. They were fairly rare in the USA, too, production was a few thousand per year at best. The appealed to a certain hyper-practical and oddball demographic...people who serially resoled their shoes. I recall seeing the monthly Checker ads in the National Geographic.

The Checker cab is, I suppose, the Yankee equivalent of the London taxi. The 1956 A8 model came about when the city of New York changed its regulations so that production passenger cars no longer qualified for taxi service. Designed for fleet use, the Checker was built like a tank. One interesting feature: the exterior body shell had virtually no welding or solder. The quarter panels and door skins could be replaced simply by removing bolts, to cut down on body shop time and cost. The sheet metal is heavy gauge, like a '30s car--when you rap it with your knuckle it clangs.




#492 Tony Matthews

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:50

...when you rap it with your knuckle it clangs.

:) I imagine the greatest risk when T-boned would be deafness.

#493 Magoo

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 21:20

Here's another fun item, hopefully: famous people and their cars.

Automotive executives, celebrities, musicians, and mainly classic Hollywood stars with all sorts of automobiles. And a few surprises, perhaps.

How many are you able to recognize? Any personal favorites, cars or owners? Hope you enjoy.


Cars and Stars -- A Photo Essay | Mac's Motor City Garage.com



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#494 Greg Locock

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 02:08

Fun as you say. was Amelia Aerheart related to the famous aviatrix? And how did SD Jr get a laptop in 1955?


#495 Magoo

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:40

Fun as you say. was Amelia Aerheart related to the famous aviatrix? And how did SD Jr get a laptop in 1955?


Thanks for the spell check. Eternal vigilance is required to fight off the metatagging used by photo archives. It's a constant battle.


#496 Tony Matthews

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:05

The lap top is an early Remington prototype. Unfortunately for the company the board of directors decided there was no future for such new-fangled devices and it was parked.

#497 Magoo

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 14:32

Yes, Sam was a fairly sharp fellow. It's common knowledge, of course, that he invented the diecast horn ring and the laptop computer, as shown here. However, less widely known is that he first nailed down the renormalization problem in quantum electrodynamics. However, he had a show at the Sands that night so he jotted it down in the margins of The Saturday Evening Post and handed it to Sin-Ito Tomanaga in the hotel elevator. The rest, as they say, is history.

#498 Tony Matthews

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 15:59

Even less well known is that he inspired Erno Rubik to produce his frustrating toy. The Davis Cube was simpler in using the same colours but only six faces.

#499 mariner

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 17:10

redundancy can also lead to re - invention

http://www.greenerid...ient-3-wheeler/

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#500 gruntguru

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 22:36

Thanks for the spell check. Eternal vigilance is required to fight off the metatagging used by photo archives. It's a constant battle.

Ah so it was Amelia Earhart - but what the hell is a Terrplane?

Constant indeed. :)