From here to there

September 29, 2014

I was thinking of dubs, cars with really tall rims
and rubber band tires, when I came across some old
pictures. It brought to mind that everything old is
new again. The pictures were of old cars that had
a specific purpose.

Known as Railway Inspection Cars, some of these
looked very much like dubs to us. Take this 1920s
Packard for instance.


Just lose the cowcatcher on the front and it
screams dub. An even better example is this 1938


The inspection cars were equipped with steel
wheels to cruise down the tracks and couldn’t be
driven on the street. This was before the purpose
built vehicles of today and they were used to
locate any problems along the track that might
cause problems.

The leading cause of train wrecks was human error
and the second leading cause was defects. These
defects included bending, stresses, cracking, and
corrosion to name a few.

Now rails can be inspected at around 65 mph and
in the future it may be done with lasers and fiber
optics from a remote site.

In use the inspection car would look something
like this:

The cars shown above are railway inspection cars,
the one below is a dub.


See the resemblance?
Comments are always welcome.

Farm to the fair

September 26, 2014

The year was 1934. Rural Iowa didn’t have
electricity, horses still plowed the fields, and
farm houses didn’t have running water. When it got
hot back then farmers couldn’t plow in the heat of
day or the horses would keel over. At night they
slept on porches because it was cooler, and a
giant Studebaker was seen at the Chicago World’s


At the time it was largest vehicle in the world
and was big enough that an 80 seat cinema fit
inside of it. And that got us thinking. If that
farm family could make it to Chicago to see the
World’s Fair, how would they react?

Let’s say they walked into the Travel and
Transportation building and saw the giant car
above. It’s yellow, about 30 feet tall, 30 feet
wide, and 80 feet long. We’d bet it would be a
sight they would never forget.

In 1931 the world’s largest car resided in South
Bend, Indiana and it was also a Studebaker. This
version was a 1931 model 80 Studebaker Four Season
Roadster. Built by 60 craftsmen it was 41 feet
long, 13.5 feet tall, 15 feet wide, and weighed
5.5 tons. Each wire wheel had a 6 foot 8 inch
diameter and weighed 600 pounds.

This car was built in preparation of the bigger
World’s Fair car, and it was even in a movie. But
Studebaker knew they’d be ready for the fair.
Enjoy your weekend.
Comments are always welcome.

Still don’t know

September 23, 2014

Ran across a video that was labeled a music video.
I watched it twice before I realized it did have
music in it.

Our son called after I watched it for a third time
and asked what it was about. Even though I had
watched it that many times words escaped me. It is
supposed to be rockabilly but I kept going back to
the video.

To quote the included info “A young man whose life
has just ended in a firery racing accident is
guided by four rockabilly band spectres who lead
him through the netherworld of lost souls to
either heaven or hell”.

The info also stated that the video won best
animated short at the Atlanta Underground Film
Festival and was shown at other film festivals. But
explain it? Well, er, ah, I just know what I like.

So without further ado and possibly with a
commercial before it begins here is “Rumbleseat”.

Call it what you wish, we’ll call it our most
watched of the day.
Comments are always welcome.

A different kind of car show

September 22, 2014

We received an email from a friend about a car
show that was the first annual of hopefully many.
It is hard to explain the classes as they weren’t
mentioned but we’ll try.

The 1st Annual Walmart Car Show would have had
classes a bit different than a regular show so
we’ll illustrate with pictures.

The first class we’ll mention is vehicles with
wood on body.



Another class is custom metal body modifications.


This is from the radical wheel class.


The safety engineering class had quite a few
entrants, but we’ll only show a few.



And finally, the thinking way outside the box class.


Now you can also say you have seen some of the
rides entered in the 1st Annual Walmart Car Show.
We honestly think you won’t see cars of this
caliber anywhere else.

You don’t have to thank us, just thank God nobody
got killed.
Comments are always welcome.

An interesting story

September 12, 2014

After yard work got cut short by a light rain it
was decided a cruise on the information highway was
in order. And as happens the page ended up with a
picture of a rare vehicle.


The 1941 Stevens/Ledbetter Western Flyer that was
created when two halves of a Brooks Stevens van
were put together and artistic license given free
reign. And the motor-home is for sale.

The original Books Stevens looked something like
this 1940 Western Clipper.



Clifford Brooks Stevens was not a one hit wonder.
He designed the vehicles shown here but also
designed furniture, he designed the Wienermobile
fleet, the Miller Brewing logo, redesigned the
1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, Harley Davidson
motorcycles, Jeep Wagoneer, engines for Briggs and
Stratton, the Skytop Lounge observation cars for
the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific
Railroad, and a series of Excalibur cars based on
1930s Mercedes roadster among others.

One of our personal favorites of his many
creations is the Zephyr Land Yacht that he designed
in 1936.


And to think, his father pushed him to draw as a
child when he was stricken with polio. If you’d
like to learn more about the man and his designs,
please go to his bio page.

Although he is no longer with us we’re sure
sure vision will live on.
Comments are always welcome.

Running on fumes

September 9, 2014

A friend shot an email my way with an attached
video and asked for my thoughts. The video was
about how a guy modified his pickup to run on fumes
and our friend asked for my thoughts.

I replied that the concept had been around for a
while but I never heard of anyone perfecting it.
Claims of 200-400 mpg with the modification have
been around since the 1930s.

What most people forget is that the idle circuit
of an internal combustion engine runs on fumes
anyway. It isn’t straight gasoline put in the
combustion chamber rather an atomized mist.

Some claim it works and evil big oil and other
corporations are blocking efforts to increase our
gas mileage. John Weston claims he got
463 mpg in his 1992 Geo Storm with his version.

But if one pays attention he actually claims the
car can run 14 miles on 4 ounces of fuel and that
equals 463 mpg.

A claim that’s been around even longer is that in
1936 Charles Pogue recorded over 200 mpg in a V8
Ford using a modified carburetor to run on vapors.
He ran a total of 1,879 miles on 14.5 gallons of

His family even claims that during World War II
his carburetors were installed on some of our
tanks and Jeeps in North Africa.

But again, Mr. Pogue did admit the car was hard to
start, it never got over 10 mph, and the test was
run with a pint of gasoline and a mpg average was

Things may have changed and improvements may have
been made but we are not convinced this would be
a conversion to do.
Comments are always welcome.

Powered by what?

September 7, 2014

There is a new player in the game to fuel our
world and it isn’t ethanol. As a matter of fact, it
isn’t even a gas. We’re talking about thorium.

A piece of thorium weighing 5 grams, and small
enough to fit in the palm of your hand, could power
a car for 100 years! And we’re told it is as
plentiful as lead.

We still didn’t know what it was, why we needed
it, or why some feel it’s a good investment. I mean
is buying a car that can run for 80-100 years
without a refill that big a selling point? And if
it was, wouldn’t we have to improve the cars bodies
and suspensions to last that long?

Sounding like a cost estimate from our city
leaders, claim is it has a half-live between 25.52
hours and 14.05 billion years. Well that certainly
narrows it down.

There has been talk of converting nuclear power
plants to thorium use, but so far none have. The
Thorium Fuel Research and Development Program was
activated by the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
in the early 1960s.

Then there are those who lecture we could build
a thorium powered city on the moon, or even here.
Mr. Sorensen makes some interesting points in this

If you watched both videos you should have a grasp
of what thorium is. But yet we wonder. If it is so
cheap and plentiful why use anything else?

Want to read about thorium? Here is a Forbe’s
article about it.
Comments are always welcome.


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