1971 Stutz Blackhawk: Ostentatious Ostentation

NOTE: Another submission by my friend in Sweden, Billie Biscayne. She previously wrote a column on the Chrysler Plainsman ‘dream car.’ If you missed that one, check it out here. Cheers. -TK

This is the tale of one of the most ostentatious and flamboyant neo-classic luxury “rat rods” ever created, and some of the eccentric, unorthodox and rather dubious owners it has had since 1971!

It all started in the late 1800’s with an Ohio farm boy who had a natural talent for engineering. Harry Stutz assembled his first gasoline powered vehicle, a creation he called “Old Hickory”, mainly from bits and pieces of old farming equipment. One can only assume that he refined these skills somewhat over the years as he later went on to become the founder of The Stutz Motor Company (originally Ideal Motor Company) in 1911. The first car rolled off the production line in Indianapolis, Indiana, that very year and Stutz Motor Company continued to build high-end sports and luxury cars, like the Bearcat and the Blackhawk, there until 1935 when they unfortunately became yet another automobile manufacturer to succumb to the Great Depression. Continue Reading →

Guest Rental Review: 2020 BMW 330i Premium Pack

Please give a warm welcome to Nick and his Rental Review, sent to me on November 17, 2020 but just published now! I’m sitting on a backlog of great contributions that will be trickling out in the month to come. If you’d like to see your name in here, let me know — jb

Making good on a promise to my youngest son, I picked up a Melbourne Red 2020 BMW 330i (G20) with a Premium Pack from Enterprise, upgrading from a full-size using points accumulated from a few 15-passenger van rentals and a little work travel. The plan – cannonball 1,100 miles to and from Northeast Indiana to Statesville, NC and back in a weekend for some mining, creeking, and fluming.

With my BMW experience limited to driving a friend’s dad’s E36 330i 6MT and a racing teammates’ 228i M-Sport 6MT, I went into this with an open mind and hoped for an improvement over the CVT Fusion Hybrid or Malibu in the full-size area, and the Chrysler 300 in the PXAR zone.

I made the wrong choice.

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Cal Rayborn: The Life and Death of an Icon

Note: Another one from Lee Wilcox! Enjoy. -TK

Some would make the case that Cal Rayborn was as much a natural as Mike Hailwood, even though you won’t find his name on a list of most Grand National wins. Only those riders good on both pavement and dirt make such lists, and Cal’s ability and drive belonged with road racing. He stayed with Harley well past the period in which they were competitive, thus proving the point that it’s difficult for loyalty and blind ambition to coexist.

If you lived outside the United States, you might not have heard of him but for one remarkable week in 1972, when he competed against some of the world’s best. While comparing riders is not the intent of this article, a discussion of road races often includes comparison among Rayborn, Hailwood and Kenny Roberts (who, in my opinion, probably was the most complete racer of that group). That said, I shall proceed  to relate the story of the life and death of the remarkable Cal Rayborn.

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Guest Post: Freneticism Of Communication

Dreams really do come true at Riverside Green — in my case, it’s the dream of catching up on all the brilliant guest posts submitted in 2018! Thanks to Mozzie for his patience with me, and for his contribution — jb

“And, uhm, it was like so inappropriate?” This is not a verbatim quote. Is there an explanation to the up-talk, verbal pauses, vocal fry, and malapropisms, which are now part of our professional and private lives, outside the broad concept that language evolves over time? I believe that it has to do with the pace at which people attempt to communicate. I believe that people try to talk too quickly and end up saying very little. It almost seems as though people aspire to hold a conversation as if they were spittin’ like Busta Rhymes (or an Aaron Sorkin character, if you prefer). Let’s don the blazer with the elbow patches, set aside the copy of Strunk and White, and consider the elements of contemporary language which some find so unbecoming.

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Guest Post: The 35-Year Payoff

Please welcome George Jetson with a story of deferred value… published almost a year after it was turned in! I always get around to things eventually! — jb

I don’t recall becoming out of touch with today’s culture (or what passes as such). It just happened. You can tell I’m out of touch by that parenthetical thought — because I am out of touch, I am compelled to comment on being out of touch and the implied terrible state of today, rather than be immersed in it and accept it. But even though I am myself a lost cause, it doesn’t mean I can’t benefit from the world as it is today.

My secret weapon in maintaining contact with reality is cohabitating teenagers, also known as children. They ARE in touch. One of them is what’s known as a “hypebeast”, and knows terms like “colorway”, ”OGs”, “size run”, etc. He’s been at this for two years, ever since we took a walk along Fairfax Ave in Los Angeles and visited Golf Wang and Supreme. I became familiar with “reselling.”

I have invested capital into his business ventures, and he has turned some tidy profits, AND most importantly, some of these profits have even made their way back to my accounts. All in all, this has been an educational and fun experience for us all, while simultaneously I shake my head at the culture that values clothing in these ways.

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1935 Chevrolet Master Deluxe: It’s A Sign!

NOTE: Another one from Lee Wilcox. -TK

Just west of Huntsville Texas, there is an old coupe still providing a service of sorts. It is unlikely that anything on it will break the way it’s being used and it has been painted in defense against the few straggling Tin Worms that have managed to survive in the area. These days it spends its days as a bar sign, but it’s also a sign of times gone by. Once upon a time, this was a 1935 Chevrolet.

This car is a little further beyond just being a non-runner, more an artifact than a motor vehicle. But it has been “restored” in some fashion. Need replacement parts for a 1935 Chevy? No problem, let’s just head down to Home Depot or Lowe’s! There is no glass with the exception of the headlights and a single taillight; all the other “windows” are gray-painted plywood. On the passenger side, the entire door is painted plywood. The driver’s door has a vent window that helped to identify it, but our faux passenger door does not.

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1980s Maserati Biturbo Spyder: Slammed in the Weeds

(NOTE: Another post by my friend in Texas, Lee Wilcox. -TK)

Can’t really say I ever knew much about this little Maserati.  Had heard that they really looked sweet when they were slammed, and in the weeds.  Being of the generation now normally referred to as Geezers I wear my ignorance of what this means with some pride.  Today, however, while driving in a rural area, I spotted one of these that was doing just that.  My innocence is lost.  Hit the break to lose yours.

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Guest Post: Seiko SNZF “Sea Urchin” Owner’s Impressions

Please welcome occasional commenter and new contributor “Mozzie”, whose username (and real name) suggest that he originally hails from an area now described with a -stan in its name. I’ve been sitting on a great piece of his about human vocal dynamics — no doubt figuring that I was too much of an ignoramus to edit that one, he has now sent me a simple watch review. Enjoy! — jb

The last time I owned a mechanical wristwatch was in the mid 1990s. As a young boy I didn’t know the limits of Soviet-era watchmaking capabilities and therefore lost the piece to moisture. Since then any watch I wore has been quartz-based, be it a Casio, Timex, or an analog fashion watch. In March of this year, having suffered through (he didn’t originally write “suffered through”, that’s an edit — jb) hours of the Watch & Listen podcast, I ordered the Seiko SNZF to complement my to-date favorite everyday watch, a Timex Expedition chronograph.

There are several reasons I chose this particular timepiece. One of my college jobs was in retail luxury goods, so I had hands-on experience with Swiss brands using ETA and in-house movements. As a result, being able to see the movement was high on my priority list. There are few options in this price range with a display back. I also wanted something I could wash with soap and water regularly, unlike my Timex with the leather strap. The Seiko “Sea Urchin” was the only option in my price range with solid end links. Lastly, the 42mm case size was just right for my dainty wrist.

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Quick Look: 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park: Pre-Crossover Artifact Espied

Another one from my pal in Texas, Lee Wilcox! -TK

By 1992, Ford and Mercury had gone Aero; the last year for bricks, including the squared-off Colony Park wagon, was 1991. These wagons came with 302 V8s and were underpinned by evergreen Panther platform. When this car was new, wagons were losing out to minivans for many reasons. Fuel economy was high on that list, but utility was not. But these are workers, despite being favored at the time by country club ladies and doctor’s wives.

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