No Mr. Bond, I Expect You To Downsize

Note: Another one from my buddy, Tony LaHood! -TK

History is replete with bad ideas from people who should have known better: “Trust me, New Coke will make America forget all about the original.” “Helium? Why not fill the Hindenburg with hydrogen?” And, of course, “Let’s tart up a Toyota iQ with an Aston Martin grille, special paint and better interior bits, and triple the price!”

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The Fitzpatrick

Note: Today’s guest post is by a friend of mine, April Chadwick. In addition to being into cars as much as I am, she also owns an Excalibur Series 1 and 1976 Continental Mark IV. Please give her a warm welcome! -TK

If you are reading this site, you have likely owned your fair share of vehicles and I am sure that there is at least one that you wish you still had. The one car that you let slip through your fingers because of timing, finances or practicality. It’s often these considerations that conspire to separate us from our automotive one true love.

Phil Lacey, Sr. knows that feeling, perhaps even more than any of us. I am not talking about some jacked up Camaro or a Honda with aftermarket rims. Over half a century ago Phil helped design and build his own dream car. A true labor of love, he never saw his garage built custom (notice I didn’t spell it with a k) completed or even knew if it still existed.

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Diesel-Electric Submarines: World’s Biggest Hybrids

-NOTE: Today’s post is another one by my friend Lee Wilcox. If you’ve been getting tired of all my ’70s-era luxocruisers, here’s something completely different. And very interesting. -TK

The Chevy Volt has gotten a lot of attention from its ability to run its electric propulsion motor from its internal combustion engine/generator, batteries, or both. Submarines having been doing that since the 1920s or so. I managed to spend some time on subs, and was always interested in what made them go. Apparently that interest is shared by a lot of folks.  Even during the cold war we had something called Visiting Ship Day.  Civilians were allowed to tour a designated boat.  The depth gauges were covered and some areas were off limits but they did tour.  There were three questions we could always count on:

1. Where is the picture window? (thanks to TV)

2. How many engines turn the propellers and how big are they?

3. How long until you start to run out of air to breathe?

Answers to them, and much more follow:

Graveside. Museum at Patriots Point, Charleston SC.

Let’s get those out of the way first:

1. There is no picture window regardless of what you saw on television.

2. There are no engines (directly) turning the screws.

3. It took about 10-12 hours until the guys couldn’t keep their cigarettes lit. Then we had to start managing the air.

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1966 Chrysler Windsor: The Best Bad Decision I Ever Made!

ED: Another post by my friend up north, Mike Batch Kirouac! This car was recently completed. Maybe we can get him to do a new post on it. -TK

In 1966, the Chrysler Windsor was the Canadian-built equivalent of the Newport model in the US. Unsurprisingly, Windsors were built in the Windsor, Ontario plant. Unlike today where vehicles are assembled from components manufactured all over the world, these cars were substantially “Made in Canada” from Canadian-made parts. The ink was still fresh on the Canada-US auto pact, which would soon change that arrangement, and 1966 was the last year for the Windsor model name.

Canadian magazine ad featuring the Windsor 2-door hardtop.

According to the original owner, my Windsor 2-door hardtop was a factory-ordered car, but the deal fell through, and so it wound up on the dealer’s lot. The colour was Saddle Bronze metallic, with matching interior. The drivetrain consisted of the base engine, a big block 383 2-barrel with 9.2:1 compression, rated at 270hp. This was mated to the venerable Torqueflite 727 3-speed automatic, and 2.76:1 “economy” gearing in the differential. Inside was the standard column shifter and bench seats.

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1967 Dodge Charger: Chrysler’s Marlin!

For Chrysler, just getting up off the canvas after the “plucked chicken” fiasco of 1962 was hard enough without Ford doing something crazy by dropping its Mustang bombshell on the market. What’s more, the personal-luxury coupe market was heating up by the day. So what was a beleaguered Chrysler to do? Fake it, that’s what. And do so with a memorable and venerable name.

The earliest Charger I remember (at least referring to something other than a hay-consuming equine) is this car, which a sporting band of Chrysler engineers campaigned on the drag strip. This car was the “High and Mighty” (actually a ’49 Plymouth). According to Alpar, it existed as seen above into late 1958. The original 354 truck engine, fitted with 392 heads, eventually gave way to an all-392 Hemi. Obviously, the car sacrificed aerodynamics on the altar of weight transfer and traction.

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Quick Look: 1965 Plymouth Belvedere – With 440 Power!

Note: Another post from my friend, Mike Batch Kirouac! -TK

On the Saturday before Christmas of 2012, my son and I went into town to pick up some last minute items for supper at the grocery store. As we walked through the parking lot, a beautiful, shiny white ’65 Plymouth Satellite rolled in, drove past us, and parked at the back of the lot. The burble of the engine told me it had a hopped-up big block.

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The 1966 Chryslers: Sheer Perfection

NOTE: A friend of mine, Mike Batch Kirouac, who penned the Olds Diesel article earlier this year, has given me the green light on running some of his other posts from the other site. His favorite car is the 1966 Chrysler, and he owns several-which you’ll see more of in the near future. Enjoy. -TK

Elwood Engel left Ford Motor Company in 1961 to succeed Virgil Exner as head of styling at Chrysler.  The 1965 Chrysler–which essentially evolved the Engel design language created for the 1961 Lincoln Continental–was his first “clean sheet” production car design for Chrysler.  The 1966 refresh was, in my opinion, an improvement on the ’65s that provided greater differentiation between the base Newport (Windsor, in Canada), sporty 300 and high-end New Yorker models, all of which shared most of their sheet metal.

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1993 Cadillac Sedan de Ville: Cadillac Style!

Note: This morning’s post was written by my friend, Tom Conti. He has previously written about his dad’s and his grandmother’s Cadillacs (here and here) and today, he’s going to tell us about his recently-acquired Sedan de Ville. Enjoy. -TK

I’ve always loved cars. My family was into cars, and I was born right into it. As a kid the yearly auto show at the Providence Civic Center was my favorite event! Back then, it wasn’t the foreign models that impressed me….oh no. It was the Cadillacs and Lincolns I was drawn to! And Caddies were always around me too….lots of them! My Grandma’s second husband loved Coupe deVilles. He had a ’64, ’69, ’74 and ’78. My Uncle Bob had a ’79 Sedan de Ville, ’86 and ’90 Fleetwood Brougham, ’98 de Ville d’Elegance, ’03 Seville and lastly a ’10 DTS before he passed – only Caddies for over 30 years!

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1976 Chevrolet Caprice Estate: Woodie’s Woody

NOTE: Today’s guest post is by Mark Davidson, another ex-Cantankerous Coot commenter whom has migrated over to RG. He is a fellow Broughamophile and some of his other cars include an ’88 Olds Custom Cruiser and a 1959 Super 88. Please give him a warm welcome! -TK

So good evening. Would you like for me to tell you a story over cocktails?

I’ll start out with this. The next block over from the Avenue of the misfit toys where I live, a friend of mine sold a house and behind that house was a ’65 turquoise color Corvair, a ’65 Mercury Monterey breezeway, a Mercedes of sorts and a ’76 Chevrolet Caprice Estate Wagon.

I knew him when he had that wagon on the road and it was gorgeous. As a matter of fact, I would drive by his house in my 1988 Oldsmobile, which I just bought back last September, and do a side-by-side comparison in the middle of the street. I was so envious of Woodie’s wagon.

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Harley 750, King of the Track, Part 1

Another fine 2-wheeled post by Lee Wilcox! Enjoy. -Klockau

If you follow racing of any kind you know that there is plenty of variety.  If you have followed motorcycle racing you know that there is intense competition between the brands and that one brand will win for a while then another. There is a form of motorcycle racing that is as old as motorcycles in America.  At first motorcycles were used to tow bicycles up to speed on board tracks. As motorcycle speeds increased the bicycles were forgotten.  The next step, board track racing of motorcycles was absolute carnage.  Because of the carnage, circle track or dirt track racing was developed.  This was generally on horse racing tracks and frequently used as an attraction at county fairs.  Wide open throttles with triple digit speeds, no front brakes and steering by sliding the rear wheel.  This is sane?  Compared to board track racing – absolutely yes. One brand has been dominant through most of the history of this sport.  At times, it has required favorable rules from the American Motorcyclist Association to retain that dominance.  Today, however, with rules favoring other brands and models, Harley Davidson still dominates the flat track.  I have found the history interesting and hope you do as well.

The stereotypical Harley rider has become a middle aged professional – typically a lawyer or accountant – wearing expensive leathers and making annual excursions to Sturgis.

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