This or That – Season 2: 1905 Packard Model N Runabout or 1910 Elmore Model 36 Demi-tonneau?

This or That – Season 2: 1905 Packard Model N Runabout or 1910 Elmore Model 36 Demi-tonneau?

1905 Packard Model N Runabout (top; image by author); 1910 Elmore Model 36 Demi-tonneau (bottom; image by Terry Shea).

Editor’s note: This or That is not a comparison report between two vehicles, but rather a feature that enables us, in an idyllic world, to add a collectible vehicle into our dream garage on a regular basis, but with a catch: We can only pick one vehicle from this pairing, and it has to be for enjoyment purposes rather than as an investment.

Featured in this edition of This or That are a pair of rare brass-era beauties: a 1905 Packard Model N Runabout and a 1910 Elmore Model 36 Demi-tonneau. The first two decades of the fledgling auto industry were tumultuous. Thousands of companies were incorporated; hundreds failed to witness production; and even fewer survived beyond the early Thirties. All had humble beginnings, including both the Packard and Elmore, though they were aimed at different markets, as demonstrated by the Packard’s $3,400 sticker price versus Elmore’s $1,750. Here are a few more details concerning each (if you want to read more than we’ve provided, both cars were former subject material in our Hemmings Classic Car magazine–just click on the links provided).

Though their first cars emerged in 1899, Packard’s 1905 Model N was a newly designed replacement for both the 1904 Model L and M. Offered in five body styles, each Model N was constructed on a 106-inch wheelbase chassis featuring full elliptical front and rear springs that supported a straight axle up front and a bevel gear transaxle in the rear. Nestled into the framework was Packard’s also-new 265.7-cu.in. L-head four-cylinder, the cylinders of which were cast in iron in pairs, touting a bore and stroke that equated to 4.065 x 5.125 inches. Rated for 28 hp at 900 rpm, a three-speed sliding-gear manual transmission transferred power at the rear transaxle. According to owners, then and now, the Model N’s had enough power to achieve top speeds nearing 55 mph, made possible–in part–the extensive use of aluminum throughout, including the crankcase, aforementioned transaxle, transmission casing, and bodywork. The Runabout tipped the scales at just 2,100 pounds; a figure that could have been reduced had Packard not made their now-famous tombstone-style radiator (introduced in 1904) of brass. Whether it was Packard’s fine engineering, ample power, or model redesign in general, total model-year output jumped from 207 units (in 1905) to 401.

As to the little-known Elmore, the company had been founded in Elmore, Ohio, in 1892, as the Elmore Bicycle Company. The firm relocated to Clyde, Ohio, in 1897, began experimenting with two-stroke engines soon after, and ultimately launched automobile production in 1900. Their name was changed to the Elmore Manufacturing Company shortly thereafter. Despite the unconventional use of a two-stroke engine–more details of which were outlined in the original article–the Elmore was successful enough to draw the eyes of Billy Durant. As penned by Terry Shea, Hemmings associate editor,

Sales reached 209 cars in 1906, more than doubled to 467 cars in 1907, and grew nearly another 50 percent in 1908, to 648 units. All of this activity attracted Durant, and GM purchased Elmore in November of 1909, for somewhere between $500,000 to $600,000. What little has been written about Elmore’s history suggests that GM bought Elmore for its two-stroke patents, but all signs point to the most significant patents having expired by then. Whatever Durant’s motivation, GM’s financial backers soon soured on Elmore after Durant’s forced departure in 1910. At first, they moved production from Ohio to Detroit in 1911, but all Elmore production ceased in 1912. What was left of the once-pioneering automaker was sold off in 1916 for $50,000.

While under GM’s control in 1910, the base Elmore was the  Model 36 Demi-tonneau. at its core was a two-stroke, four-cylinder powerplant, the key dimensions of which were a 4.50 x 4.00-inch bore and stroke that culminated with 254.4-cu.in. good for 36 horsepower. Elmore advertised the Model 36 to be good for 50 mph. That engine was secured to a 110-inch wheelbase chassis, along with a three-speed sliding-shift transmission connected to a driveshaft and, ultimately, a Buick-based differential.

Extant examples of both these vehicles is single-digit rare today. Given the opportunity, which of the two would you add to your stable and why?


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1923 Buick Model 23-Six-45 five-passenger touring car

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1923 Buick Model 23-Six-45 five-passenger touring car

1923 Buick

Editor’s note: The purpose of the “Find of the Day” is to promote interesting cars from our classifieds. These are not the actual ads, so to view more images or contact the seller with questions, click on the hyperlink (underlined green text), which will take you to the classified ad itself.

From the seller’s description:

1923 Buick Touring Sedan – Model 45

-Original 6 Cylinder engine
-3 speed Manual Transmission and Reverse
-Burgundy exterior with black leather interior finished with a tan convertible top.
-Clean California Title

This Buick runs and drives excellent, no overheating, relatively smooth shifting for the year and technology. the convertible top goes up and down with ease. Wood body is in excellent condition.

I have owned this car for the past 10 years and it has provided my family and friends with lots of enjoyment.

1923 Buick 1923 Buick 1923 Buick 1923 Buick

Pricetag

Price
$25,000

Location Marker

Location
Sun Valley, California

Magnifying Glass

Availability
Available

Find more Buicks for sale on Hemmings.com.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Ford renews search for the punch bowl won in the race that helped kickstart the company

Ford renews search for the punch bowl won in the race that helped kickstart the company

Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company.

We’ve all lost things of value to us. Class ring overboard on a fishing trip. Fifty bucks in a poker game. Air-cleaner wingnut down the carburetor. Those hardly compare to the punchbowl Henry Ford won in the race that essentially gave birth to the Ford Motor Company, which the Ford family lost more than 65 years ago. Now, once again, the company has put the call out for the prized prize.

As Automotive News reported this week, the recent re-emergence of the Bullitt Mustang–once considered the holy grail of missing Ford automobiles–has renewed Edsel Ford II’s push to locate the unmarked cut-glass punchbowl.

“In a way, the trophy means a great deal,” he said.

Henry Ford wasn’t exactly an unknown quantity in 1901 when he entered the exhibition race at the Detroit Driving Club; rather, he was known as a failed carmaker. A couple years prior, after testing out his Quadricycle, he had attracted some investors (among them Detroit’s mayor) and, under the name Detroit Automobile Company, built a dozen or two vehicles.

But by January of 1901, the company collapsed. Ford, then 38, moved back in with his parents and concocted a scheme to return to the automobile business that was full of wishful thinking: He’d build a racecar! And enter it in a race the Detroit Driving Club would host in October! And his success there would bring all sorts of investors knocking on his door!

The improbability of the scheme became readily apparent the day of the race. While most of the competition didn’t show or didn’t make it to the starting line, Alexander Winton did. Winton, who had been successfully producing automobiles since 1897, also believed in racing his cars. The organizers of the race were Winton dealers and, anticipating that Winton would handily win the $1,000 race, had either Winton or his publicity manager choose the trophy to be granted the winner: a cut-glass punchbowl set. Reportedly, it would perfectly capture the light in a bay window of his Cleveland home.

Ford arrived atop a 26-hp 538-cu.in. twin-cylinder-powered contraption he optimistically named the Sweepstakes. And from the start of the race, it appeared all would go as anticipated. Winton took the lead and held it. Until the seventh lap, that is, when Winton’s heavier car began to misfire, allowing Ford the opportunity to pass and take the win three laps later.

Henry Ford (4) about to pass Alexander Winton in the famous 1901 race. Photo courtesy Smithsonian.

While lore has it (and Automotive News repeated) that the $1,000 winnings (as much as $828,000 in today’s dollars, depending on your measure) helped Ford start Ford Motor Company, the path from race to Model A isn’t nearly that direct.

Rather, with some of the same backers, Ford reorganized the Detroit Automobile Company into the Henry Ford Company a month later. Immediately, Ford and his backers clashed over whether race cars were a worthy pursuit: Ford, fresh off his first (and only) race win, wanted to continue developing competition vehicles while his backers, interested in a return on their investments, pushed to jump right back into production.

Ford left the company not long after with $900 and a promise that his backers wouldn’t use his name. William Murphy, one of Ford’s backers, turned to Henry Leland, and, in 1902, proceeded to reorganize the Henry Ford Company into the Cadillac Automobile Company. Ford, for his part, built a couple more race cars, the Arrow and the 999, and got coal baron Alexander Young Malcolmson to back his next venture, Ford and Malcolmson Company Fordmobile Company Ford Motor Company.

The punchbowl, in the meantime, remained with Henry and Clara Ford through Henry’s death in 1947 and Clara’s death in 1950. Yet, for whatever importance Ford historians now attach to the punchbowl, it went to auction through Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York a year later along with many more of the couple’s possessions. According to research done in 2011, when The Henry Ford last made its big push to find it, the punchbowl sold for $70 (about $1,000 in today’s dollars) to The Garden Shop, a New York business that has long since closed.

Researchers haven’t turned up any trace of the punchbowl, and Edsel Ford II told Automotive News that he fears it may be gone forever. However, on the off chance it still exists, he–and many others, including The Henry Ford’s Curator of Transportation, Matt Anderson, who described the punchbowl as a “holy grail artifact”–hopes it does and that it makes its way back to Dearborn.

They’ll probably have to pay a little more than $1,000 for it, though.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

On the 50th anniversary of its construction, Challenger II returns to Bonneville for one last record attempt

On the 50th anniversary of its construction, Challenger II returns to Bonneville for one last record attempt

Challenger II

Challenger II in 2016. Photo by Holly Martin, courtesy Thompson LSR.

In 1968, Mickey Thompson debuted his Autolite Special streamliner, built to set a wheel-driven land speed record at Bonneville. It was not to be: Thwarted by poor salt conditions, loss of sponsorship, and family tragedy, the car would not return to Utah for another 46 years, when son Danny began running the car as the Challenger II. Since then, Danny has experienced both Bonneville’s highs and lows, but in 2018, the 50th anniversary of the Challenger II, he’ll be back for one final attempt at a new speed record.

Since reintroducing the Challenger II to Bonneville in 2014, Danny has experienced numerous mechanical failures–including a 2016 mid-run universal-joint failure that shredded a rear tire and could easily have ended in disaster–and several weather-related cancellations that precluded him from besting the AA/FS record of 406.769 mph set at Speed Week in 2016. Last year’s Speed Week run of 435.735 mph showed how much potential the Challenger II still has, but his return run ended with a snapped connecting rod and damage to seven others.

Unable to repair the damaged Hemi–one of two beneath the Challenger II’s aluminum bodywork–the team returned to California to prepare for the World Finals in October 2017. Once again the elements refused to cooperate, and the World Finals were canceled due to poor salt conditions, forcing Thompson to postpone his retirement from racing, first announced in 2016. Last year was also going to be Thompson’s final time in the cockpit, but, once again, family business remains unfinished.

In 1960, Mickey Thompson became the first American race driver to top the 400mph mark, behind the wheel of his four-engine, home-built Challenger I. His speed of 406.6 mph bested British driver John Cobb’s 402-mph record, and had his return run not resulted in a breakdown, it likely would have given him the world record. It would be eight more years before Mickey returned to Bonneville for another record attempt, but the all-new Autolite Special was far more sophisticated than the Challenger I had been.

Mickey and Danny Thompson with the Challenger II–then the Autolite Special–at Bonneville in 1968. Photo courtesy Thompson LSR.

Designed by Kar Kraft and built in under six months by a team of Southern California hot-rod all-stars, the Autolite Special proved capable of running near the 400-mph mark, even in early shake-down testing. Once the bugs were worked out, it should have delivered a record-setting pace, but the team never got the opportunity to run in 1968; once again, wet weather closed the salt flats to competition.

By 1969, just one year later, the sport had changed. Big-dollar sponsorships from Ford, Gulf Oil, and Reynolds Aluminum had vanished, and with his parts business, drag racing, and off-road racing efforts to focus on, Mickey had little interest in funding a land speed-record attempt on his own. It would be another 18 years before he thought of running the car again, this time with son Danny behind the wheel. In 1987, discussion turned towards a 1989 record attempt, but it was not to be: On March 16, 1988, Mickey and Trudy Thompson were murdered in the driveway of their Bradbury, California, home.

Challenger II was placed in long-term storage, where it may have remained indefinitely had Danny Thompson not been invited to drive one of his dad’s old streamliners at Bonneville in 2003. Smitten by the salt, he began an annual pilgrimage to Utah, and, in 2010, the 50th anniversary of his dad’s run in the Challenger I, Danny made the decision to restore the Autolite Special streamliner and run it at Bonneville.

In 2014, one measured run resulted in a down pass of 419 mph, coupled with clutch failure on the return. Next, the parachute system deployed on a run, triggering the fire suppression system with the force of the deceleration. By the time the car was repaired and ready to run, the rains had moved in, ending any additional attempts that season, as well as throughout 2015.

If Danny’s 2016 Speed Week record run was a highlight of the year, the U-joint failure at the World Finals was certainly the low point. The good news was that Danny wasn’t seriously injured, and while the car suffered severe damage, it was rebuildable in time for the 2017 Bonneville season.

Which also failed to go as planned, ending with a broken front Hemi engine after a single pass at Speed Week. The car was repaired in time for the World Finals, but, once again, salt conditions prompted the cancellation of the event.

No one would blame Thompson for hanging up his Nomex; after all, how much frustration can one driver shrug off? Regardless of past misfortune, he remains upbeat, and has used the extra time to better prepare the Challenger II for the upcoming season. Connecting rods in both engines have been swapped for new ones, and Thompson now knows that 11 passes, running 84-percent nitromethane as fuel, is too many between replacements. The car’s bottom aluminum skin, corroded by the salt, has been replaced, as has the driver’s harness system. The Challenger II is as ready for 2018 as it can be, prompting Danny to declare,

We seriously considered retiring the car last year, but it seemed like a shame to miss the anniversary, and the whole team felt that higher speeds were attainable. After ruminating on it, we decided that the C2 probably had one more year in her.

While any additional talk of retirement has been put on hold for the time being, Danny’s current plans include only Speed Week in August, and not the later World Finals. Mounting a legitimate record run won’t come cheap, and Thompson is always on the lookout for additional corporate and private benefactors.

Challenger II

Much has to go right for Thompson to claim a new record, and the piston-powered, wheel-driven world record of 439.024 mph (held by George Poteet in the Speed Demon streamliner) may even be beyond his grasp. Still, could there be a better story to tell next August than Danny Thompson setting a new record in the car his father debuted a half-century earlier?


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

I-95 is almost complete – 60 years late

I-95 is almost complete – 60 years late

Photo by author.

Within walking distance of my home is this sign, which, along with others at several exits along I-95 between the Delaware River and Route 1 approaching Princeton in New Jersey, confuses people on a daily basis. Just about every day when passing by, I see cars pulling to the side of the road as their drivers slow down, confused. This particular exit is in between Camden and New York, so the sign would naturally raise questions for someone who doesn’t live here and doesn’t understand the quirkiness of I-95 in New Jersey. That confusion will soon be a thing of the past.

What is I-95 today was originally conceived in the 1930s. A 1939 federal report entitled Toll Roads and Free Roads proposed several highways, including one along the east coast and running through central New Jersey. President Eisenhower included that particular route when he proposed an interstate highway system in the 1950s.

In today’s world, I-95 runs between Miami and the Canadian border at Houlton, Maine. There are multiple beltways and offshoots along its 1,900 or so miles, but one of the more unusual quirks starts around Christiana going north in Delaware. The highway splits three ways, with I-295 heading northeast toward the Delaware Memorial Bridge, I-495 heading north in Delaware to the Pennsylvania state line, and I-95 paralleling I-495 but continuing into Pennsylvania and on to Philadelphia and beyond, more or less running on the west side of the Delaware.

After crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge into New Jersey, I-295 splits again, with the New Jersey Turnpike heading toward New York and I-295 roughly paralleling the Turnpike, sometimes running right alongside, until it reaches U.S. Route 1 near Princeton, 67 miles from the bridge. The roadway continues after U.S. Route 1, changing to I-95 and heading west instead of north for about nine miles, until it crosses the Delaware again and turns south toward Philadelphia. Don’t be confused, though many people are and have been for decades.

Travelers who stay on I-95 north through Philadelphia and beyond are perplexed when they cross into New Jersey at the Scudders Falls Bridge and come up on the U.S. Route 1 exit, where I-95 officially ends and becomes I-295 south. At the moment, the easiest connection back to I-95 north is to continue on I-295 south, then take exit 60 onto I-195 heading east. This connects to the New Jersey Turnpike a few miles later.

Map courtesy State of New Jersey.

Old plans for a continuous I-95 will finally come to fruition by September of 2018, when Pennsylvania and New Jersey are expected to finish the connector from the existing I-95 north in Pennsylvania, linking it with a crossing of the Delaware near Bristol Township and merging it with the New Jersey Turnpike. The remaining northbound part of the current I-95 in Pennsylvania will be renamed I-295 to match the extension of I-295 from U.S. Route 1 in Princeton to the Scudders Falls Bridge.

This is not quite the route originally planned in that 1939 report and in Eisenhower’s vision from the 1950s. In those days, the connection in central New Jersey was known as the Somerset Highway, which would have connected I-95 in Pennsylvania with what is known today as I-287, a beltway running far west of New York City into New Jersey. In doing so, the highway would have passed through New Jersey’s scenic Hopewell Valley and the Sourland Mountains east of the Delaware near Hopewell, Lambertville, and Princeton in New Jersey.

Nearby residents fought the routing at every opportunity in the 1960s and 1970s, even rejecting suggestions that the roadway be built without exits to assuage local concerns. The most unusual suggestion was probably one which would have put much of the roadway underground. Environmental and political concerns festered for years with the result that I-95 had an official gap in its planned, continuous north-south route along the East coast.

By the fall of 2018, all connections should be made and I-95 will be a continuous ribbon of asphalt for more than 1,900 miles. I’ve driven much of it over the years, even the old two-lane section in Maine as it neared the Canadian border. I remember driving the highway when there were no separate truck lanes north of exit 7 on the New Jersey Turnpike, and I vividly remember sliding sideways and facing the median guardrail along a stretch of I-95 for about an eighth of a mile on an icy night before getting the car under control.

I’ve purposely never driven the official I-95 route through New York City. I’ve always used the I-287 beltway to the west or the Garden State Parkway between I-87 in New York state and exit 11 on the New Jersey Turnpike. I only drove once in New York City, something I have promised myself never to do again, so I suppose I will never be able to say I’ve driven all of I-95. With the coming change, though, I will be able to say I’ve driven a part of I-95 that will soon no longer exist.

I-95 will finally be continuous in 2018, just 60 or so years later than planned.

 


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1970 Innocenti Mini Mk III

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1970 Innocenti Mini Mk III

1970 Innocenti Mini Mk III

Editor’s note: The purpose of the “Find of the Day” is to promote interesting cars from our classifieds. These are not the actual ads, so to view more images or contact the seller with questions, click on the hyperlink (underlined green text), which will take you to the classified ad itself.

From the seller’s description:

1970 Innocenti Mini Mark III – Original paint – Second owner – Lived most of its life in California – 15,500 Certified miles. Might be the nicest survivor in North America!

1970 Innocenti Mini Mark III is powered by an 850cc inline-four and was built by Innocenti in Italy. Before producing their own Bertone-styled Mini derivative, Innocenti built Minis from complete knock-down kits, which were supplied from England for local production. The first owner brought the car from Italy to California. Recent work includes cleaning and draining of fuel tank, rebuilt carburetor, and reconditioned brakes.

These cars were constructed from complete knock-down kits, which allowed Innocenti and Mini to avoid the extremely high Italian import duties. Innocenti-built Minis can be distinguished from UK-built examples by roll-down windows, front quarterlights unique to the Italian-built cars, the rear trunk panel shape, as well as an Innocenti-specific grille. The brown paint is original except for rear trunk that had a small ding and was repainted.

Interior differences include slightly different seats and Jaeger Italia instruments and crank windows. The car is powered by an 850ci BMC A-Series inline-Four mated to a four-speed manual transaxle.

1970 Innocenti Mini Mk III 1970 Innocenti Mini Mk III 1970 Innocenti Mini Mk III 1970 Innocenti Mini Mk III

Pricetag

Price
$14,950

Location Marker

Location
Bedford, New Hampshire

Magnifying Glass

Availability
Available

Find more vehicles for sale on Hemmings.com.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

The Martin Special ’31 Ford is America’s Most Beautiful Roadster for 2018

The Martin Special ’31 Ford is America’s Most Beautiful Roadster for 2018

1931 Ford Martin Special roadster

David Martin’s 1931 Ford Roadster, AMBR winner for 2018. Photos courtesy Grand National Roadster Show.

Most show cars lead pampered lives, having been built for the singular purpose of amassing trophies and prize money. Dave Martin’s 1931 Ford, winner of the 2018 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award at last weekend’s Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California, was built to drive. Last September, in bare metal and fitted with a roll cage, Martin ran his car in the 2017 Silver State Classic, averaging 101.5 MPH over the 90 mile course stretching from Lund to Hiko, Nevada.

1931 Ford Martin Special roadster

Martin, an architect by trade, knows a few things about design aesthetics. He also knows a thing or two about hot rods, having been immersed in the culture much of his adult life. Since acquiring this particular ’31 Ford roadster in the early 1980s, it’s gone through a series of revisions – evolutions, perhaps – that brought it to the stage in Pomona last weekend.

1931 Ford Martin Special roadster

Not content to own a hot rod that went fast in a straight line, Martin and Scott Bonowski of builder Hot Rods & Hobbies, in Signal Hill, California, turned to the Indy roadsters of Frank Kurtis for inspiration. The car’s front track was widened for improved handling, and Moal Coachbuilders provided a torsion bar front suspension that fit the hot-rod vibe, yet still delivered excellent handling. Running the Silver State Classic last September was the car’s “proof of concept,” in Martin’s own words.

1931 Ford Martin Special roadster

The annual open-road race (which takes place on a temporarily closed-to-traffic Highway 318) isn’t one to be taken lightly. Since the event began in 1988, there have been five fatalities, the most recent in 2014. Rules have gotten more restrictive over the years, mandating additional safety equipment and driver training, and each contestant runs in a selected or appointed bracket, depending upon vehicle and experience. Course marshals are stationed at checkpoints throughout the course, but the fact remains: Should something go wrong, help isn’t coming quickly.

Tom Malloy at Ed Pink Racing Engines gets credit for building the roadster’s all-aluminum, fuel-injected small-block Chevy V-8, which reportedly makes around 500 horsepower from 401-cu.in. That’s more than enough to put the lightweight car into a faster bracket than the 100-mph class entered, but for Martin, running the Silver State Classic was never about setting a record or even winning the class. Instead, it was about proving that his Martin Special was more than just a show car, and perhaps even more than just a traditional hot rod.

1929 Ford

The Mariani brothers’ 1929 Ford Model A, built by Rad Rides, which took home the Al Slonaker Memorial Award.

Per the car’s placard, the chassis features original 1932 rails with a modified center section and the aforementioned Moal torsion bar front suspension. The body is described as “original-ish,” with the current upholstery credited to Elegance Auto Interiors. The visually stunning stainless-steel exhaust was fabricated by Jerome Rodella and Rodella Specialty Fabrication, and the paint was laid down by Bonowski at Hot Rods & Hobbies. In beating out the 14 other finalists, Martin took home a substantial trophy (nearly 10-feet tall) plus a check for $10,000, a sum that’s more than enough to cover entry fees for the 2018 Silver State Classic.

1937 Lincoln

Fred and Diane Bowden’s 1937 Lincoln coupe, winner of the Blackie Gejeian Award.

1950 Mercury

Mike Garner’s 1950 Mercury, winner of the George Barris Kustom d’Elegance Award.

Other winners of note included the 1929 Ford Model A owned by brothers Mark and Dennis Mariani and built by Rad Rides, which took home the Al Slonaker Memorial Award; the 1937 Lincoln coupe owned by Fred and Diane Bowden, which took home the Blackie Gejeian Award; and the 1950 Mercury owned by Mike Garner, which took home the George Barris Kustom d’Elegance Award.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog