Nashville, Tennessee, 1985
Location: MARTA station, Nashville, Tennessee
Source: via David Bass
What do you see here?
Hemmings Find of the Day – 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle
Restored 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle station wagon for sale on Hemmings.com. From the seller’s description:
This is one beautiful fully restored 1965 Chevelle wagon. Frame off restoration completed 2yrs ago. Factory color combo with 90 percent of the original interior. The wagon was a amazing survivor and retains almost all of it original sheet metal. Original 307 V8 rebuilt with less then 1,000 Miles ( Dressed as a 327 ). A new Turbo 350 was installed instead of the original powerglide. Body was striped to bare metal and a two paint and buff is a show finish! Power steering and power disc brakes make it a joy to drive. Factory power rear window works great. Power windows where installed in the car and are controlled by the original window cranks. Pontiac 6 hole rims where used for a different look.
See more Chevrolets for sale on Hemmings.com.
Drivers, designers, and dreamers: Remembering those we lost in 2017
Bob Glidden. Photo by Autostock, courtesy Ford Motor Company.
As poet, singer, and lizard king Jim Morrison once observed, “no one here gets out alive,” a statement addressing the end we all must face. In 2017, we mourned the loss of many who helped to shape the sport of drag racing, or stock-car racing, or even the very cars we drive. Some deaths, like the passing of Hemmings columnist and muscle-car guru Joe Oldham in October, hit particularly close to home, reminding us to, in the words of the late Warren Zevon, “enjoy every sandwich.” While those profiled below may no longer be with us, our lives are richer because of what they left behind.
Bob Glidden. A member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Bob Glidden had a Pro Stock career best summed up by Bob Frey, during Glidden’s induction as the number-four driver in the NHRA’s Top 50 Drivers list: “There never was, and probably never will be, a more dominant driver in our sport.” Though Glidden’s number of Pro Stock wins (85) has since been surpassed by Warren Johnson (97) and Greg Anderson (86), Glidden ruled the Pro Stock class for much of his time as an active driver. In 1979, he posted wins at seven national events, a remarkable performance made even more impressive by the fact that it was his second seven-win season in a row. From 1985 to 1989, Glidden took five consecutive championships, and even open-heart surgery in 1994 wasn’t enough to slow him down for long; he returned with a win at the 1995 Mopar Parts Nationals, his last before retiring as a driver in 1997. He died in December at the age of 73.
Bruce Brown. Without formal training as a director or filmmaker, Bruce Brown managed to capture lightning in a bottle—twice—with his skill in telling a story with a movie camera. In 1966, his surfing film Endless Summer launched an obsession with board-riding documentaries, and, in 1971, his motorcycling film On Any Sunday created a national interest in off-road riding and racing. At a time when motorcycling needed all the good press it could get, On Any Sunday painted the hobby in a favorable light, perhaps contributing to its explosive growth through the 1970s. Brown would revisit the topic twice more, with 1981’s On Any Sunday II and with 2000’s On Any Sunday: Revisited, though neither had the same impact as the original. A 1999 inductee into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Brown died in December, age 80.
Bud Moore. Before South Carolina native Bud Moore built championship-winning cars for the NASCAR and Trans Am series, he landed at Utah Beach on D-Day, ultimately earning five Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for his actions under fire through the Battle of the Bulge. Back home, he turned to repairing cars for a living, ultimately finding his niche as a crew chief—and later, team owner—in the newly formed NASCAR series. His reputation earned him ties to Lincoln Mercury, where Fran Hernandez relied upon Bud Moore’s talents to build everything from drag cars to Trans Am racers. Later in life, after his time as a NASCAR team owner, Moore served on the sport’s appeals committee, and was inducted into the Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame in 2002, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011. Moore died in November, age 92.
Joe Oldham. Long before he wrote a regular column for Hemmings Muscle Machines, before he was editor in chief of Popular Mechanics, and even before his time as a contributor to a variety of muscle car-centric magazines, Joe Oldham was a street racer with a passion for making fast cars go faster. As a reviewer, he pulled no punches—to the occasional dismay of automakers—but his smart “tell it like it is” style won him legions of fans. Few in the business these days can boast about being thrown out of a manufacturer’s proving grounds (and being banned for life from another’s), then going on to become president of one of motor journalism’s largest media organizations, but for Joe, this was just another day on the job. Oldham died at his home in Palm Springs in October, age 74.
Roy Lunn. Roy Lunn may be best remembered as the “Godfather of the Ford GT40,” but over an automotive career that spanned more than four decades, he achieved so much more. At Ford, he worked on a series of concepts that included the Mustang I, and after departing for Kar Kraft helped to produce the Boss 429 Mustang. American Motors was his next stop, and as Technical Director of Engineering for Jeep, Lunn was behind the development of the 1983 Jeep Cherokee XJ and the AMC Eagle, which accurately predicted a market for four-wheel drive automobiles, decades too soon. After retiring from AMC in 1985, Lunn leant his knowledge to AM General, where, as Vice President of Engineering, he headed the Pentagon’s HUMVEE military compliance program. In his later years, he remained active mentoring mechanical engineering students at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Lunn died in August, age 92.
Vic Edelbrock Jr. The Edelbrock name may have been familiar to hot rodders before Vic Edelbrock Jr., took the helm of his father’s company, but it was Vic Jr. that grew the business into the high-performance juggernaut it is today. Relying on the advice of company employees who knew the business, Edelbrock turned a 10-employee shop with annual sales of $450,000 into a dominant player in the aftermarket performance arena, which today employs hundreds and enjoys annual sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars. A founding board member of the Speed Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (today, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA) Edlebrock twice served as the organization’s president, navigating it through a period when performance was an afterthought for manufacturers. He practiced what he preached as well, vintage racing his second-generation Corvette as his schedule allowed. Edelbrock died in June, age 80.
Tom Tjaarda. Though Tom Tjaarda studied architecture at the University of Michigan, his seven-decade career saw him design or influence over 84 automobiles, working for companies like Ghia, Pininfarina, Ital Styling (the forerunner of Italdesign), and Fiat. Most closely associated with the Fiat 124 Spider, Tjaarda also influenced the design of the De Tomaso Pantera, the Ford Maverick, the Ford Fiesta, and the Shelby Series II, to name but a few of his works. Styling elements employed by Tjaarda on the original Fiat 124 Spider live on today in the car’s rebirth as a joint venture between Fiat and Mazda, emphasizing the importance of his contributions to automotive design. Tjaarda died in June, age 82.
Other 2017 deaths of note include hot-rod parts maker Nick Arias Jr.; collector and restorer DeWayne Ashmead; Indy Car builder Rolla Vollstedt; Funny Car pioneer Gas Ronda; SEMA vice president of governmental affairs Steve McDonald; NASCAR engine builder and team owner Robert Yates; “candy apple red” paint inventor Joe Bailon; father of the Plymouth Road Runner Jack Smith; MG marque authority Richard L. “Dick” Knudson; Motorcycle Cannonball founder Lonnie Isam Jr.; Hot Wheels logo creator Otto Kuhni; drag racer “Akron” Arlen Vanke; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance author Robert Pirsig; National Motorcycle Museum chairman John Parham; AMSOIL founder Al Amatuzio; NASCAR Busch Series champion Sam Ard; 1970 Daytona 500 Champion Pete Hamilton; Covercraft Industries founder Robert Lichtmann; “the matriarch of early American road racing” Jean Argetsinger; car builder Jack Griffith; and hot-rod evangelist Pete Chapouris.
Classics Crossing Paris: Join in the parade of the 18th Annual Traversee de Paris
Photos courtesy VeA.
France’s capital city isn’t known for being particularly friendly to vintage automobiles—with a controversial old-car ban making news in recent years—but Parisians certainly appreciate the aesthetic beauty of classic cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and even tractors. Sunday, January 7, will mark the 18th winter Traversée de Paris, a 30-kilometer parade from the Vincennes Castle Esplanade through the city.
The first gathering of vintage cars in Vincennes happened in 1986, this quickly becoming a tradition on the first Sunday of every month. It led to forming Vincennes en Anciennes—France’s largest multi-marque club—in 1998. This organization would host the first official Traversée de Paris in the winter of 2000. It has grown to take place twice annually, in January and July/August, and has become very popular in recent years, with 700 30-plus-year-old vehicles participating in 2015. That January 2015 Traversée was especially poignant for Paris, as participating vehicles wore stickers bearing the slogan, “Je suis Charlie,” in tribute to victims of the recent terrorist attack on the local offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The winter edition of the 2018 Traversée de Paris is expected to attract more than 700 vehicles that represent a wide number of countries, marques and eras, that Sunday. The theme of this winter’s crossing is recognizing French and international marques that have faded into history, including well-known and obscure notables like Alvis, Delage, Facel-Vega, Plymouth, Pontiac, Simca, and Zundapp. Cycling enthusiasts will undoubtedly see examples of Verdin, Fongers, Clediabert, and Simoun being ridden.
Participants will gather at the Esplanade du Château de Vincennes, setting off before 9 a.m. to cover a 28-kilometer (17.4-mile) route that will pass through some of this city’s most famous sights, including Montmartre, Concorde, and Invalides.
The parade will return to the Esplanade du Château de Vincennes around noon, and remain on display until roughly 3:30 p.m.
A very limited number of seats can be reserved to ride the route on a vintage bus, those costing 10€ (roughly $11.75). Participating motorists also pay a fee that ranges from 30€ ($35) for Vincennes en Anciennes members in cars, to 45€ ($53) for non-members in cars; a 45€ fee also applies to tractors, while motorcycle riders pay 15€ ($18) and bicyclists just 5€ ($6). A special luncheon will be served at the restaurant of the horse racing track in Vincennes; that costs 65€ ($76) for adults, 25€ ($29) for children.
To see more images from recent winter Traversée de Paris runs, click on the thumbnails below to enlarge.
Buick lets a Wildcat loose for 1962
Print ads courtesy of the Automotive History Preservation Society
Buick entered the burgeoning personal-luxury/sporty-car market with the upscale Wildcat in the spring of 1962. Ford’s Thunderbird had prospered in that niche since 1958 when it was reinvented as a four-seater. Chrysler had offered its 300 since 1955, and for 1962 a non-letter 300 was introduced as a lower-cost alternative to the 300-H. Oldsmobile had jumped in for 1961 with the Starfire convertible followed with the addition of a hardtop for 1962, and Pontiac took the plunge that same model year with the Grand Prix hardtop.
A sampling from the additional models that were in the personal-luxury/sporty bucket-seat brigade for 1962 includes the Ford Galaxie 500/XL, Mercury Monterey S-Fifty-Five, Chevrolet Impala SS, Dodge Polara 500, Plymouth Sport Fury, and Studebaker GT Hawk.
Though the Impala SS debuted partway through 1961, it didn’t get bucket seats until the following model year. Buick also listed bucket seats with a storage console between them as standard for the Invicta Custom two-door sport coupe and Invicta Custom convertible in the 1962 dealer brochure.
“The new full-size sports-style car,” is how Buick described the Invicta-based Wildcat, which featured a lengthy list of standard equipment. Motivation came from the 325-hp 401 four-barrel, dual exhaust, Wildcat 445 engine (meaning 445 lb-ft of torque) backed by a Turbine Drive automatic transmission. Inside were foam-padded, Seville-grain vinyl bucket seats; an instrument-panel pad; a console that housed the shifter, tachometer, and rear-floor courtesy lamp; Deluxe steering wheel; clock; heater/defroster; foam-rubber headliner and sun visors with chrome-plated roof bows; full carpeting; and an automatic trunk lamp. The exterior was decorated with bright body trim; Wildcat medallions and lettering; black or white “vinyl sheath” for its sport coupe (hardtop) roof; Electra taillamps; a license-plate frame; and 15-inch wheels and tires with Wildcat wheel covers. Finned aluminum front brake drums were also included.
Popular Science magazine tested the 1962 Wildcat, a 300-H convertible, and a Thunderbird convertible. Drop-tops generally cost more than hardtops, and the Ford was also described as being heavily optioned. Accordingly, the T-Bird cost $6,141, the 300-H $5,461, and the Wildcat hardtop was considerably less at $4,357, despite its added options that included A/C.
The Buick had the longest wheelbase at 123 inches versus 122 for the 300-H and 113 inches for the T-Bird, yet the 300-H was the longest car at 215.3 inches versus 214 inches for the Wildcat and 205 inches for the Ford. The Chrysler was also the widest at 79.4 inches followed by the Buick at 78 inches and the T-Bird at 76 inches. Coincidentally, weights were close, with the T-Bird the heaviest at 4,400 pounds and the Wildcat and 300-H separated by a mere four pounds at 4,328 and 4,324 respectively.
You may have noticed that the Buick is considerably larger than the Thunderbird. GM didn’t have like-sized models to go head-to-head with the Ford at this point, so its divisions used full-size cars. The arrival of the 1963 Riviera provided Buick with a Thunderbird challenger that was closer in size with a 117-inch wheelbase, 208-inch length, and 76.6-inch width.
A 380-hp 413-cu.in. engine with two four-barrel carburetors was in the 300-H, and the Buick featured the 325-hp 401 four-barrel engine. The Ford was listed in the article as having a “340-hp” 390. However, the 340-hp rating was for the optional 10.5:1 compression-ratio 390 with three two-barrel carburetors. No underhood photos were in the article to help verify the engine, but since it was also listed having the 9.6:1 compression ratio and four-barrel carburetor, both specs of the standard 300-hp 390 engine, it was likely the 300-hp version.
All of the cars had automatic transmissions, and the rear gear ratios were 3.23 (300-H), 3.42 (Wildcat), and 3.00 (T-Bird). The Chrysler and Buick were equipped with 7.60 x 15 tires and the Ford 8.00 x 14 tires.
Three different drivers piloted the cars for a 1,012-mile road trip through various types of terrain and weather in New York and Canada. Each driver took multiple shifts behind the wheel of each car.
In the driver’s individual subjective driving impressions, the Buick was praised for its comfort, ride, acceleration, and smooth shifting transmission. It was derided for its “idiot lights” on the dashboard, but was also said to be the best compromise of the three cars. Despite giving high praise to the acceleration, handling, and seating of the 300-H, two of the three drivers said that they preferred the Wildcat over the rest, and the third preferred the T-Bird.
Instrumented tests were also performed; 0 to 60 mph was attained in 7.7 seconds for the 300-H, 8.7 seconds for the Buick, and 9.8 seconds for the Thunderbird. Passing times from 40 to 70 mph were 6 seconds for the Wildcat, and 300-H and 8.2 seconds for the T-Bird. Surprisingly close were the fuel mileage figures, with the 300-H posting 13.1 mpg, the T-Bird 13.3 mpg, and Wildcat 12.3 mpg.
Using a points system to rate many performance, comfort, safety, efficiency, and operational aspects of the three cars, the Wildcat bested its competitors in ride, assembly, visibility, convenience of controls and their function, and price. It tied for the top score in passing performance, ease of entry and exit, and noise level. A mid-pack ranking was earned in handling, seating and interior roominess, and instrumentation. It trailed the others in fuel economy, braking, and parking ease. When all the points were totaled, the Buick attained highest overall score. The 300-H came next, followed by the Thunderbird.
While doing research for this article, I also located a television ad for the 1962 Wildcat on YouTube that provides vague references to its luxury and performance, but doesn’t offer many specifics. It doesn’t even state what engine it comes with or its power rating. Instead it boasts, “This Wildcat has more horses than you’ll ever need.” It does appear that Buick was one of the first automakers to include ferocious felines in its ads, however. Pontiac would famously use tigers in its advertising not long after and Mercury would employ a Cougar for its namesake model when it debuted for 1967.
It has been reported by various sources over the years that approximately 2,000 Wildcats were built for 1962, but some enthusiasts have questioned that figure as being too low.
Following its abbreviated introductory model year, the Wildcat became its own series for 1963, consisting of a two-door sport coupe (hardtop), a convertible, and a four-door hardtop. The nameplate continued through 1970.
How have the values of the road test vehicles held up over the decades that followed it? Using Hagerty’s Valuation Tools at www.hagerty.com, a #3 (good condition) Wildcat is currently valued at $9,300. The rare 300-H convertible is $61,000, and the 1962 Thunderbird convertible with the 300-hp engine is $27,800, both also in #3 condition.
You may be thinking that the convertibles likely have a higher value than a hardtop, and since the 1962 Wildcat was only offered as a sport coupe (hardtop), the comparison to the convertible 300-H and Thunderbird is an apple-to-oranges one. To that end, the 300-H hardtop in #3 condition is valued at $26,800 at the Hagerty site, and the Thunderbird hardtop is $8,400.
The 1962 Buick Wildcat was undoubtedly a worthy competitor for the Thunderbird and 300-H according to the Popular Science road test. Given the values stated at the Hagerty website, it appears that 55 years later, the Wildcat would be a satisfying and affordable vintage cruiser.
Hemmings Find of the Day – 1920 Ford Model T Roadster pickup Ossipee Snowmobile
From the seller’s description:
1920 Model T Ford Snowmobile. This is an Ossipee Snowmobile conversion kit mounted on a Model T. Virgil White invented the Snowmobile in Ossipee New Hampshire in early teen’s. This restoration includes the 44″ gauge platform. The 44″ was designed for New England to be the same width as the horse drawn sleighs . The only usable snowmoble attachment pieces were the steering spindles sporting the Snowmobile logo. The remainder of the the snowmobile components are exact reproductions of the originals. These inclue the tracks(62 links), the step ductile iron , the battery box holder ductile iron,the ski wood and bottom metal, the ski A frames, the complete center idler axle with ductile castings and the ski & body tags that identify the machines make.
The frame on this model T is superb. There is absolutely no pitting. It is as nice as I have ever seen. The frame was sand blasted, etch primmed and painted three coats with 8800 black. The front end has all new bushings and the spring is in great shape. The rear differential ( one ton worm drive) single speed is supported off the rear of the automobile frame by ductile steel brackets that hold the cantilever springs. The rear springs are new whereas the main leaf on one spring was brokeen and not repairable.The worm gear is in grand shape and the bronze ring gear (7:1 gear ratio) is also in grand shape. New modern seals were installed on the restoration of the differential. The drive shaft bushing was also replaced during restoration.
The engine is a fine running four cylinder 22.5 HP MODEL t FORD ENGINE. The engine was redone at some point in time. durring the restoration of the car the engine main and rod bearings were checked for soundness. The valves were checked and found to be very servicable. The piston rings were changed, the rear cam bushing was changed as well as the fourth main ball cap. The transmission drums were checked for cracks and the triple were good and Kevlar bands were installed.The hogs head was restored and seals were installed on all the shafts to eliminate oil leaks.The ignition system is by True Fire electronic and the charging system is alternator.. A volt meter was installed in place of the ammeter durring restoration.
The body metal and wood was in very nice condition. I was told that the car was in the barn for over forty years when it was offered for sale. By the amount of dirt on the body , it may have been true. Minor patch panels were fabricated below the door opening repairing the only rust on the body. The body was sand blasted , etch primmed and painted in 8800 black. the interior side panels, floor mat, seat springs, upholstery, top irons and top fabric are all new. The glass was changed to safety glass. The radiator was restored by Sanford radiator. A Peerless radiator shell is present on the car.
The pick-up body body is a reproduction of the original. The iron work and tailgate hardware are original with the exception of the tailgate strap hinges that were missing.There are six very nice wheels and tires. The wheels are black with red spokes. The spokes were painted seporate of the wheels and then installed. The tires , tubes and flaps are new. The reason for six wheels is that these machines will not move on pavement with the skis on. There is just too much drag. Tires must be install to move it in and out of the shop or into a trailer. It takes less than ten minutes to change it over.
Find more Fords for sale on Hemmings.com.
Five car hobby predictions for 2018
Photo by Karli Watson.
Somehow, while we weren’t looking, another year passed us by. With 12 more months behind us, it’s time once again to dust off our crystal ball (Lucite, really, because the good stuff is out of our price range) and peer into the future. As cryptologist, mathematician, and computer scientist Alan Turing once observed, “We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”
First, tradition requires us to take a look back at what we thought 2017 would hold in store:
And now, without further ado, here are our prognostications for 2018:
Jaguar E-type Zero. Photo courtesy Jaguar Land Rover.
While the big news around electric cars has recently been centered on Tesla, the company has a surprising number of things stacked against it. Without addressing the production backlog for the Model 3, Tesla has introduced a new, priced-in-the-stratosphere Roadster with almost unbelievable performance specs, along with an electric semi, aimed at hub-and-spoke operations instead of over-the-road operators. Disappointing consumers with late deliveries is one thing, but disappointing fleet buyers like WalMart, UPS, and PepsiCo may prove to be Tesla’s undoing.
On the classic-car side, look for more companies—and more independent shops—to emulate what Jaguar has done with its E-type Zero. While a classic, sports or muscle car with a battery-powered drivetrain still won’t be to everyone’s liking, we suspect this segment will begin to emerge—and grow slowly—over the coming years, particularly as battery capacity increases and prices drop.
Overall, attendance at museums—including those dedicated to automobiles and automotive history—is down. To attract visitors (particularly younger visitors), look for increased use of new technologies such as holographic projection and virtual reality, already in place at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. As museums struggle financially, look for more collections to be downsized to fund ongoing operations. If you have a favorite museum, 2018 will be a good year to pay it a visit, or better yet, make a cash donation.
A Plymouth minivan on display at Hershey in 2010. Photo by Richard Lentinello.
Cars that many of us viewed as nothing more than basic transportation are gaining in popularity among a group of collectors that now have disposable income for such purchases. Look for cars of the 1980s, like GM G-bodies (excluding performance variants, which are already collectible), Ford Thunderbirds, and Chrysler minivans to become quirky favorites. As Jim O’Clair reminds us, station wagons from the 1960s and 1970s are hot, too, and will probably continue an upward trend in pricing.
Why? While GM has built fast Corvettes in the past, it’s never had a halo model like Ford’s GT (either the 2005-’06 version or the 2017-’20 variant) or Chrysler’s Viper. Building an ultra-high performance mid-engine Corvette variant would enable GM to target a market segment dominated by manufacturers like Ferrari (which is expanding production to meet demand), but only if the car’s performance is on par. Since the current C7 Corvette addresses a different segment of the market, and since mid-engine cars have different handling dynamics than what Corvette buyers expect, our hunch is that the two will coexist.
1982 Suzuki GS650 Katana. Photo courtesy Bonhams.
Bikes from the 1970s and 1980s are increasingly relevant to a new generation of collectors, who are willing to pay handsomely for well-preserved or carefully restored examples. As roads become more congested, drivers more distracted, and new motorcycles more complex (and expensive), vintage bikes—ridden occasionally but otherwise displayed—will only grow in popularity.
Section 609 requirements to purchase refrigerant due to change January 1
Photo courtesy MACS worldwide.
The EPA established rules concerning the purchase of automotive refrigerant as part of the United States Clean Air Act. When enacted in 1992 as section 609 of the law, the requirement for purchasing R-12 refrigerant and recovering R-134a, R-12, and R-1234yf refrigerant stated that technicians needed to be trained in the use of CFCs and dangers from the release of CFCs into the atmosphere as well as in the proper recycling of these refrigerants. This meant, at least initially, that one had to be certified as section 609 compliant to purchase or recycle any ozone-depleting CFCs. Technicians take a course, offered by several resources, to obtain their certification card, which must be shown when purchasing refrigerant or be on file with the wholesale suppliers.
As of January 1, 2018, the rule has been expanded to include non-ozone depleting refrigerants like HFO-1234yf, R-744, and HFC-152a. The new standard does not apply to the purchase of small recharge cans of less than two pounds; however, any other refrigerant purchases of larger containers now require that section 609 credentials be shown or verified by the seller, and new bookkeeping requirements have been added to the rules and include that sellers must retain invoices that indicate detailed information about the purchaser, quantity purchased, and date of sale. These records must be made available to the EPA when asked.
Although it will not be necessary for sellers to keep a record of each certified purchaser, most vendors will, as a matter of policy, now require knowledge that the purchasing technician is indeed certified, either by viewing their certification card for each purchase and/or a signed statement kept in the repair shop’s or technician’s records for future purchases. Repair shops need to have at least one certified technician for them to purchase these products. Technicians and repair shops must also notify wholesalers of any changes of employment of these certified technicians, as well. If its only certified tech quits or leaves, the shop will need to find another certified tech or discontinue A/C service functions
For most do-it-yourself consumers, these changes will have little effect. Two-pound cans of R-134a can still be purchased without certification.
For car owners having their A/C systems serviced at their corner repair center, they may notice a marked increase in the cost of this service.
For technicians without section 609 credentials who have previously been able to purchase non-ozone depleting refrigerants without certification, these new rules may pose the most problems.
Theoretically, the new rules will have the most effect on sellers who try to turn a quick buck by low-balling established vendors with cheap 30-pound cylinders of R-134a for sale online or off the back of a pickup, as they cruise service departments in your area. Overseas wholesalers from East Asia could also have less of an effect on the retail A/C marketplace. The new required paperwork and record keeping should virtually eliminate many of those vendors, if they are following the letter of the law. The uptick in A/C service costs would then be attributed to more restrictive availability, hence higher costs for the refrigerants.
Technicians do have several programs available to them through which they can be certified, if they have not yet been so. MACS, Robinair, and ASE all offer certification programs for a small fee, and several automotive employers also provide the necessary resources to certify their own people. Additional resources are listed on the EPA’s website.
The Stoner T: How to build a hot rod in 10 years (and influence people), part six
Ever since this car darkened the shop doorway at Conder Custom, Tim had always taken every opportunity to tell me “…this thing needs a blown 392 in it….”
And, while I agreed with him—I mean, who wouldn’t, right?—I just never thought I’d get the chance to actually own one, much less for this T coupe project. And then, everything that happened in Part 5 of this story landed me not only a Chrysler 392 Hemi, but possibly a legendary Hemi. And that’s when the archaeological dig commenced.
Pete Jensen, a walking encyclopedia of all things Northern California drag racing, had worked for Ted “The Goat” Gotelli and knew how he not only bought 392 Hemis by the bushel during the heyday of Sixties drag racing, but that the man never threw anything away. Which meant that he was also able to corroborate Ray Sharp’s recollection of buying this particular motor directly from Ted in the late Sixties and being told that “it came out of one of the race cars.” Which is also the kind of bombshell that left Conder and me in that giddy speechless hold-your-breath state when you really want to believe something, but you know you’d better do some more research.
Now, like I said in earlier chapters, Gotelli Speed Shop is still in business in its original location. Not only that, but the guy who built most of the Gotelli fueler motors—Bruno Gianoli—is still alive. And to add to all that, Bruno is now in his late 80s and still building motors in the machine shop at Gotelli’s. One of the golden rules of writing history is finding first-tier sources: accounts from people who experienced an event from a first-person point of view. Guys who were there when it happened. Or actually did the thing. When it comes to this mystery motor with the brass Gotelli tag on this main journal girdle, Bruno is that guy.
I wanted to call Bruno and bring the motor to him, have him look it over, and unlock all its mysteries for me. At the same time, I didn’t: Jensen thought the motor might be a 354-cid Hemi, which would mean that it couldn’t have been run in the early Gotelli fueler. And when he said that, I could’ve easily pulled my phone out of my pocket and run the serial numbers, but I didn’t. I just didn’t have stones to find out whether or not I just blew it all and did a whole bunch of horsetrading only to find out that I was a sucker. But this motor was giving up too much evidence, and Sharp and Jensen were offering up too many clues not to go right to the source…
I called Bruno. He told me to bring it over and he’d look at it. But then I called his son, John, too. John learned how to build motors at the feet of his dad and is an accomplished engine guy in his own right. I knew John would prime his dad’s memory in ways only he could and would probably be an invaluable tier-2 research source: He’s one Kevin Baconian degree away from this motor and is not only mechanically fluent enough to help his dad dig through it, but he also knows how to recognize his dad’s trademarks when he comes across them in a built motor. John also told me to stop screwin’ around, bring it over, and he and Bruno would get to the bottom of everything. I was about to find out exactly what I had. Or didn’t have.
Bruno Gianoli is a living national treasure. He built the motors that, in no small part, developed the drag-racing industry. He and his friends in the Organ Grinders club owned speed shops, race tracks, and drag teams, and were instrumental in the advancement of racing-safety inventions like the fire suit and the parachute. And they all did this in their Twenties, man. What’d you do in your Twenties? Yeah, me neither. So, when Conder and I showed up at the shop door at Gotelli’s with this motor one fine Sunday morning, it was not lost on us that we were about to find out how much luck or self-loathing was about to be foisted upon us.
John and Bruno got to work pulling the motor apart. As they extricated the cam, crank, and pistons, Bruno explained how he and his buddy, Roger Peters, had actually designed and built exactly two prototype girdles for the 392 Hemi in 1962. Terrible Ted was windowing so many of these blocks every weekend at the track, that it was worth the time to figure out how they might last a consecutive Saturday and Sunday, much less an entire season. The girdle worked. And it worked so well, that The Goat decided to go into the girdle business. But that only really lasted for the ’62 and ’63 seasons, till a speed shop in Southern California ordered one, copied it, then mass-produced an identical version on a scale he couldn’t compete with.
Now, unlike most of his contemporaries in the early Sixties, Bruno had the presence of mind to record this vital history they were busy creating in those years with a still camera and an 8mm film camera. And because of that, he was able to hand me a photo of MY MOTOR on his fabrication table in 1962. Wait…WHAT? “Here’s your motor,” Bruno casually offered. “We built two prototypes of that girdle. Two. And Roger made the rubber oil pan gasket so it would fit…”
John pointed to the two bookending, giant rubber pieces that were incorporated into the oil pan of my motor on each end. I’d never even noticed them, since they were painted in black wrinkle-finish like the rest of the motor—and I sure didn’t realize these things were 55-year-old, custom-made rubber grommets.
Bruno looked closely at the main bearing cap supports and explained how he and Roger, designed them as prototypes that would be re-engineered for some sort of mass(er) production. But, again—these were the prototypes he was pointing to.
John looked at the cylinders and instantly recognized the hone pattern as the type his dad did: very unique and much like a fingerprint, these pre-automation days allowed engine builders to put their own signature on an engine block in this way. Bruno demonstrated how he would just kinda eyeball the cylinder and start in with a hand-held boring tool. Because…SIXTIES.
The removable freeze plugs are the exact same style in the photo that Bruno had handed me. There it is, on a table, with Bruno and none other than drag legend, Chris Karamesines, sorta posing for the photo. And there are those freeze plugs and the brass Gotelli Speed Shop tag on the girdle that started this journey more than ten years ago.
John then turned to the heads: “Dad, you o-ringed these heads. I’d recognize your work anywhere!” Bruno and Roger, again, designed and made a tool that allowed them to find the center of the combustion chamber and do the work to the head, accordingly.
John also noticed how the chambers in the heads were modified and ported: “Only two guys were doing this kind of work in the early Sixties—(Joe) Mondello and (Charlie) Slover. This is their work—maybe even when Slover was working for Mondello…which dates them to the early Sixties.” BOOM.
Indulge me for a minute while I paint a picture: It’s 1962 in San Francisco. A band of young gear heads—the kids of Irish, Italian, and Armenian blue-collar immigrants—are building hot rods and race cars from scratch. Not only that, but they’re creating the most beautiful era of drag racing, purely out of form-follows-function necessity. Ted “The Goat” Gotelli, Bruno Gianoli, Jim McLennan, Denny Miliani, Pete Ogden, Andy Brizio, and others are all starting businesses around the lifestyle of drag racing and hotrodding that they all just, well, LIVE. A few of them form the Organ Grinders car club—the support crew for the Gotelli fueler and the Jim McLennan’s Champion Speed Shop car, and they’re known by the matching red shirts that all have “Sam” stitched on the front, white pants, and white golf caps they all wear…not to mention the cigarette-munching donkey they bring to the drag-strip pits every weekend (which also wears a hat and is also named Sam). Molloy’s Tavern in South San Francisco becomes their unofficial clubhouse and on any weekend, Old Mission Road out front becomes a who’s-who exhibit of drag racing: Connie Kalitta’s rig is parked on the street behind Don Garlits’, “The Snake” Prudhomme’s, “The Mongoose” McEwan’s, and countless others while the drivers are all inside up to varying degrees of debauchery. They live like gladiators and they’re inventing the performance industry we know today without even realizing it. These guys invent the safety equipment that every dragster is required to feature today. Perfect the alchemy of nitromethane-breathing motors. Develop tire technology. And become LEGENDS. I’ve got stories I can’t even tell you here…
And this motor…this 392 Hemi with the raw DNA of these creative minds suspended among its molecules like ancient bees in petrified amber…is a capsule of all of that epicness: the cylinders are bored .030-inch over, the crazy crankshaft, cast aluminum Mickey Thompson connecting rods, primitive pistons and rings, block rock in the bottom of the block are all early fueler clues, the magnesium “block letter” Mickey Thompson valve covers are beautiful miracles in that they’re even still bolted to this motor, and that one-of-two girdle mated to the block with the one-of-one oil pan is its wrinkle-finished crown.
And there’s photographic evidence of all of it. John said that those few hours that Sunday gave him a whole new respect for what his dad did back then. “I mean, I knew what he did—but I never heard some of these stories and got to see exactly what his work looked like, till this motor. We went home that day and he talked more and more about everything they did back then—your motor really jogged his memory and it was just a really cool deal….”
This motor is a rosetta stone for those of us who love dearly that crucial period of automotive performance development. These motors rarely survived. Sure, Terrible Ted was famous for buying new 392 Hemi blocks in bulk because they’d go through so many of them in a drag-racing season, but so was every Top Fuel drag-racing team owner back then. And that’s why the fact that this one did survive and is a guide for us nearly 60 years later is so important—Bruno confirmed that this was, in fact, the “shop floor motor” that sat in the back shop at Gotelli’s from the day Denny Miliani died in the #19 car till Ted sold it to Ray Sharp to use in his drag boat in the very late Sixties. One of two 392 Hemis that Bruno and Roger installed their prototype girdle on. And who knows where the other one might’ve ended up. Drag racing, in its infancy, was a cultural movement as much as it was anything and the stories that come along with the trove of technical history Bruno Gianoli can bear witness to is invaluable. I’m still reeling from that Sunday morning in the back shop of Gotelli’s—the very room my motor was built in.
So, now we think we have the story of this mystery motor stitched together. But, at the end of the day, it’s still an engine with really loose tolerances that was designed to last, but only eight seconds at a time. Should it be restored and put on a pedestal with some museum lights shining down on it in perpetuity? Could it be rebuilt just enough to make it survive in a street car? The real question became, “Could I get water running through this motor and replace just enough of the rotating assembly to run it in my T coupe?”