Riverside Green

Featuring: Jack B. and Bark M.

Guest Post: Life of Riley

Note: Today’s post is by my friend April Chadwick, whose personal fleet includes a Lincoln Continental Mark IV, an Excalibur Phaeton and a Lexus SC400, among others. Please give her a warm welcome. -TK

Picture it: it’s 1951 and you have Cadillac money to spend on a new car, so what do you buy? Perhaps the Standard of the World is too flashy, maybe a Packard, or how about a sedate Imperial?

If your answer is newfangled malarkey, head on over to the home of Motoring Majesty and put down four or five grand on a car that still is made with wood and leather. Did I mention that the body has a wood frame and the roof is padded leather stretched over wire mesh? As the Riley brochure assures you, as old as the industry, as modern as the hour.

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Geely GE Concept: Phantom of the Off-Brand

NOTE: Another one from Tony LaHood! -TK

Chutzpah is a Yiddish word that’s worked its way into the American vernacular. Simply put, it describes the gall it takes to do something unbelievably, jaw-droppingly arrogant and nervy. (The classic example involves a man who kills his parents and then asks the court for mercy because he is an orphan.)

Which brings us to the Geely GE concept. Looks familiar, doesn’t it? As they say, if you’re going to steal, then steal from the best. It is at once sad and infinitely amusing that the Chinese auto industry is notorious for, well, appropriating existing designs from other manufacturers, and to hell with international copyrights.

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The Wild and Crazy Times of the Chrysler Ghia Plainsman

Note: Today’s post is by a friend of mine in Sweden, who goes by the nom de plume of Billie Biscayne. She’s always loved Fifties cars and wanted to submit a post right here on RG. Please welcome her. -TK

Have you seen Barrett-Jackson on tv and made a mental note of putting that on your bucket list? Barrett-Jackson puts on an amazing show, but there is more to Scottsdale Auction week if you are prepared to venture off the beaten track and visit some of the other auctions going on! If you are lucky, you will see some fantastic cars, meet some amazing people and hear some astonishing car stories, just like this one about the infamous Plainsman Concept Car where a chance encounter with the current owner, Mr. Pete Vicari, at Worldwide Auctioneers provided the material for this article!

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John Z: An Appreciation

I read John Z. DeLorean’s autobiography about thirty years ago; I was alternately fascinated and horrified. One of our readers, “Reno”, wrote this up as part of a healthcare degree he’s been taking. If you’ve never heard of the fellow beyond his stainless-steel coupe, this is a good place to start!

A healthcare leadership paper about Al Sloan and Charles Kettering would be an interesting intersection of the US automotive industry and cancer care. Alfred Sloan donated $4,000,000 to what was then known as the New York Cancer Hospital, and Charles Kettering agreed to oversee the organization of the cancer research program. At that time Alfred Sloan was the chairman of General Motors and Charles Kettering was Vice President of research at General Motors. These men came from wealthy families and made their fortunes running General Motors and forming Delco (Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co.). Charles Kettering is credited for inventing the electric starting motor at Delco. General Motors acquired Delco through its acquisition of United Motors Corporation in 1918. This is an interesting story, these men were able to position themselves for success through their various family connections and alumni networks. An intriguing story would be the story of a leader that was on the fast track to the top. This leader is the son of immigrants with an unstable home life growing up, making it to the senior executive team of one of the world’s largest corporations and then stepping down to peruse his own interests due to his refusal to comply with the strict hierarchy of a ridged corporate culture. A leader that would fit that description would be John Z. DeLorean.

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An Attitude About Gratitude – Custom Ink Censors “Thanks, China!” Shirts

(Editor’s note — I told Ronnie ahead of time that he would get nowhere with this. I know from experience that CustomInk might seem good from far but it’s very far from good. I also suspected that they were stuffed to the gills with the kind of pogues who pride themselves on detecting badthink. He chose to go ahead with his idea anyway… —JB)

My rabbi for many years, R’ Avraham Jacobowitz, taught me that the most basic of commandments is to show gratitude, hakarat hatov in Hebrew, recognizing the good. Xi JinPing and the Chinese Communist Party are now engaged in a worldwide public relations campaign to make sure everyone thinks that their country has selflessly helped the world contain and turn back the Covid-19 pandemic. Color me skeptical about the CCP’s altruism.

However, in light of my rabbi’s teaching and the CCP’s craven need for gratitude, about a week ago I decided to see if I could financially exploit the current crisis by selling t-shirts that said, in English and Chinese, “Thanks, China!”, red shirts with yellow ink, just like the Chinese flag.

I’ve been 3D printing face shields for first responders (my nephew is a NYC EMT) and N95 equivalent masks for friends, relatives, and neighbors. I haven’t been charging for them and I was hoping the t-shirts would help defray the costs – antimicrobial printing filament is about 5X the price of regular stuff.

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Nate’s Boys-N-The-Boot

Long-time TTAC and RG commenter “Nate” sends this one to us with the caption: “Maybe I should say having fun in spite of covid-19 . This is a fully optioned Euro spec. 300TD I was lucky to stumble across a few years back.” These cars are no longer cheap — driver-quality ones bring $15-20k on BaT, with the really nice ones cracking $30k and up — so the next time Nate chides me about being a conspicuous consumer I’m going to chide him right back. Still, you have to respect the hustle of a fellow who nearly gets killed on a Ural and promptly gets back on the bike while still making time for kids who need help.

Speaking of Benz value… looks like the same thirty grand which puts you in a 300TD will also put you in a nice 2016 E350 wagon. Here’s one down the street from me. Real talk time: which one would you pick? The old soldier or the new sleekster?

My 1966 Chrysler Windsor, Part 2: Fighting A Rust Monster

Note: This is the continuation of Mike Batch Kirouac’s ’66 Windsor saga (Read Part 1 here, if you missed it). As previously related, he’s a friend of mine, met during the olden days, at Cantankerous Coot, ha ha. Hope you enjoy. He finished this car last summer, and I am hoping he will write up a brand new post with the fascinating conclusion. As always, republished with his permission. -TK

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I am fighting a rust monster. I haven’t seen it, but the signs of its voracious appetite are everywhere. The monster’s corrosive, salty venom has taken its toll on my 1966 Chrysler Windsor, even eating away structural components such as frame rails and body mounts.

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My earlier article on the Windsor ended in a cliffhanger in the fall of 2011, just as I pulled the trigger on restoring the body. I removed the grille, bumper, radiator, underhood wiring harness, engine and transmission.

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1955-56 Gaylord Gladiator: Falling on the Sword

Note: Yet another interesting article by Tony LaHood. Republished with his approval! Enjoy. -TK

Malcolm Bricklin and John DeLorean are well known to this audience, but do the names James and Edward Gaylord ring a bell? Probably not. Even so, the brothers Gaylord built one of the more interesting cars of its time. Or more specifically, three of them.

The story starts with the brothers themselves, who had the good sense to be born into money. Their father was the inventor of the bobby pin, which made him an extremely wealthy man. His son Edward eventually stepped in to run their Chicago-based family business, known as Gayla, quite successfully. Both he and his brother, James, who operated out of Scottsdale, Arizona, had been lifelong car fanatics, having grown up with Packards, Pierce-Arrows, Stutzes and Duesenbergs gracing the family driveway.

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1948 Davis Divan: Divine or a Three Legged Stool?

Note: Another post by my buddy Tony LaHood. Republished with his permission. -TK

Detroit. Kenosha. South Bend. Van Nuys? Maybe the latter doesn’t seem like a car-making town, but it was. For a brief two years, Van Nuys, CA, was home to the Davis, a three-wheeled automobile-cum-sofa.

The Davis story starts with a man named Frank Kurtis, an erstwhile racing car designer and builder of “The Californian”, a three-wheeled roadster commissioned by Southern California racer and banking heir Joel Thorne. It was this car that inspired former Indiana used-car salesman Glen Gordon Davis to create a namesake convertible that would incorporate many features of The Californian.

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Harley-Davidson Sprint: The Spaghetti Hoglet

Note: Another motorcycle history by my friend, Lee Wilcox, of Texas. Republished here with his permission. Enjoy. -TK

Why is the Harley Davidson Sprint such a contradiction? In the hands of a slug like me they become a heavy, somewhat awkward, vibrating, slow, and uncomfortable machine. In the hands of some of the guys that grabbed U.S. and World titles, the bike was a champion. You know how some machines just make the rider better? Well, this was not one of them. But it said Harley Davidson on it, and they did sponsor racers. You get the picture. How Harley Davidson (and I) came about to have this little Italian one-lunger is a bit of a longer story.

Aermacchi is shortened from Aeronautico Macchi. For you folks that don’t speak Italian I am told that means Macchi’s Aeronautical company. They made airplanes. Still do. Their first planes were in 1917 and they were flying boats. As I recall (no I’m not that old, but I can read) they were on our side in that war and came out fairly prosperous.

Between the wars they continued to grow and then in a fit they picked the wrong side in the second war. While it paid off in the short term, in the long term it proved very detrimental.

Actually all of Europe was in the same boat no matter which side you had been on if you were a civilian trying to feed yourself. At any rate, Aermacchi and everyone else knew that fuel was precious and that motorcycles would sell. They found an engineer named Lino Tonti who had been at Benelli and worked on aircraft engines during the war. Tonti designed and built a 50cc bike that set the land speed record for it’s size. While it’s not their first bike this is a good example of Italian bikes in 1950.

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