A neat idea

July 23, 2014

While cruising the information highway we came
across something that had us saying “duh”. It is
a product that would make things easier for some
wheelchair bound people to get around.

To quote their website, “The Firefly is an electric
handcycle that snaps on to your wheelchair.
Go twice as fast and far as a power
wheelchair!”

And this video sure makes it look easy. Around a
bunch of old car people I can envision drag races.

These handcycles start at $1,190, weigh 25 pounds,
can go 12 mph, and have a 15 mile range before a
recharge is needed. The device can be recharged in
four hours, have a powder coated aircraft alloy
steel frame, and will support 280 pounds.

This caused us to wonder why we haven’t seen any
around. It is made by an American company that is
headquartered in San Francisco, they offer a no
risk guarantee, and a decent battery warrantee.

We certainly don’t know, but would guess that an
electric powered wheelchair would cost a lot more.
Here is another video from the many on the website
about the Firefly.

Sounds to us like somebody made lemonade when life
handed them lemons. What a neat idea.
Comments are always welcome.


Wandering mind

July 22, 2014

Sometimes the squeaky wheel does get the grease
and there is a happy ending. We mentioned earlier
the silly law the Burlington city council wanted to
pass so children couldn’t play with toy guns in
town.

igo

The Iowa Gun Owners (IGO) put out a call for help
and so many people called the phone lines were
jammed and they got so many negative emails their
server almost crashed.

After that attitude adjustment the city council
voted unanimously to kill the measure. Way to go!

For some reason that made me think of this video
of the world’s fastest Piano Juggler.

Which got me thinking of this video of our Mayor
calling Libertarians a cult.

That caused to look at this video again called
‘Fighting with Race-cars’.

And that brought me to this video a friend sent of
what may be the world’s largest weed-whacker.

Which had me listening to this old standard from
the Stanley brothers.

That made my eyes leak as I remembered Mom, and
this song.

It made sense at the time.
Comments are always welcome.


Going from Paradise Road to a gut bucket

July 12, 2014

Remember the Paradise Road scene from American
Graffiti? Well that’s what caused this post.

And that, of course, got us thinking about cars
in videos again. So enjoy the following moving
pictures, most of which do include cars.

Which led us to Jeff Brock’s 52′ Buick Rivera at
Bonneville. This car has got to be the fastest 52′
Buick alive.

A few new car commercials seemed to be in order
here. Enjoy the cruise down Memory Lane.

We can’t explain how, but those clips brought to
mind the following video about Obamacare. Could be
remembering the drum brakes.

Which made us think of the “Dancing Zombie”.

For reasons unknown even to ourself, that made us
think of Coupezilla. It does sound sweet with open
headers.

And that took us to the top 10 fastest aircraft in
the world.

Which routed us to a video from Jay Leno’s Garage.
It features the 1962 El Tiburon Shark.

After watching that we thought of music at car shows.
The following isn’t really car show fare, but we
liked it anyway.

Finally, that made us think if this guy had a
piano and a gut bucket as back-up he’d have the
whole band. That of course brought back memories
of the “Gut Bucket Boogie”. It’s an acquired taste.

There are the various diversions that we
enjoyed and wanted to share with you.
Comments are always welcome.


Plane tales

July 10, 2014

Sometimes when a plane lands it leaves a tale in
its wake. Some of us have heard of the SR-71
Blackbird and others have seen one at an airshow or
on ops. But how many know the story of how it came
to be?

This month’s Hot Rod has an article called “How
Buick, the CIA, and Kurtis started Lockheed’s
Supersonic Spy Plane”. It tells and interesting
story that begins in 1956 with a problem of spy
planes being shot down.

How could this problem be solved using the
technology of the day? Simple, just quadruple the
jet’s speed and outrun the missiles! The CIA had
solved the problem. Now it was up to Lockheed who
took the problem to their Skunk Works plant in
Burbank, California, and gave them a few tasks.

Build a plane that would evade detection or outrun
anything used to shoot it down. The SR-71 was
designed, built, and stuffed with two Pratt &
Whitney J58/JT110-20K turbojet engines that made
more than 32,000 pounds of thrust.

And Buick got involved because their Dynaflow
transmissions were smooth. That was important as
jet engines didn’t come with starters. So starter
carts were built with 2 Buick nailhead motors and
the Dynaflows to spin the jet engines up to 3,200-
4,500 rpm needed to start them.

Engineers then discovered that while the carts
worked and routine maintenance required as much
labor as a complete overhaul. A simple task would
require tearing apart half the cart.

The Frank Kurtis Company, who built race cars, was
contacted in 1963 to design newer, more accessible
start carts. After Kurtis used up all the nailheads
they could locate they switched to 454 Chevy
engines with Turbo 350 transmissions for the carts.

Even BF Goodrich got into the act with special
tires that were speed rated to 275 mph. The plane
broke a speed record in 1976 at 2,193.3 mph, and
the plane weighs 62 tons!

To see a little more of this engineering marvel
we added the following video.

That is the short version of a fast plane and how
it came to be. We found it interesting and hope you
did too.
Comments are always welcome.


Thinking ’bout a Cadillac

June 29, 2014

We seems to be in a Cadillac phase for reasons that
can’t be explained. It all started while cruising the
information highway and coming across a picture of
what can only be described as a cab-over-engine (COE)
Cadillac from King Daddy Caddy.

caddy

Every time I look at it I see something I missed. One
has to admit it is different. And speaking of being
different, a friend sent us a video of a one-of-a-
king supercharged 1953 Cadillac Eldorado.

Which brought to mind another supercharged Cadillac
that wasn’t factory built. This one is a monster.

That brought to mind the new Cadillac CTS-V coupe
which is supercharged with 556 hp.

Which in turn made us think of older models. Some
older Cadillacs look like works of art.

And that took us back to 1912.

Which got us thinking: how do you start a 1912
Cadillac and what do they sound like running?

Cadillac even got mentioned in quite a few songs but
we’ll only list one here.

And that is how we spent the weekend with Cadillacs
on our Chevrolet budget. We had more fun than a stray
cat in a tuna factory!
Comments are always welcome.


Interesting internet finds

June 27, 2014

On our regular cruise down the information highway
this time we found some interesting things and
people. One such find is this picture. We almost did
a story on why one shouldn’t keep a dinosaur in their
back yard about it.

dino

We also ran across a picture of what looks to be a
customized Corvair. We don’t believe it to be a
prototype, but aren’t sure.

vair

Someone sent us a video they thought was a little
crazy that we thought looked like fun. We’ll let you
be the judge.

A friend sent us a short video of Obama giving a
speech in which he says people have to be forced to
give up their rights. This one is worth 19 seconds
of your time.

If you remember the days of the steam engines you’ll
like this 28 minute video.

Ever seen a double decker travel trailer from the
1950s? Thanks to the information highway you can now
say you have. It may look odd by today’s standards
but it was well thought out.

Couldn’t make the air show so now you have a long
face? How about over 17 minutes of the 2014 Planes of
Fame Airshow from Chino Airport? This video includes
footage of an F-22 Raptor, some P-51 Mustangs, a
Pacific Theater demonstration, a Korean War
demonstration, and more.

For our song we’re going somewhere completely
different again with this one by Donnalou Stevens.

That about covers the interesting things we found so
you’ll have to wait for another post on the mundane.
Comments are always welcome.


Different distractions

June 23, 2014

We were cruising the information highway again and
will share some of what we found. Some you may know
about some of these, but we find them all interesting.

Ever heard of Fordite or Detroit Shale?

fordite

Although it may look to some like precious stones,
and it is used in jewelry, Fordite is nothing more
than several layers of baked automotive paint and
usually found in factories that make cars.
earing

While there is plenty of Fordite to be had, a small
ring made of it can cost $200.

And did you know there were two supercharged 1953
Corvettes made? The only way to tell is the
prototype versions had the “Supercharged” script
in front.

1

2

If you follow the old truck hobby you may know the
name Ernest Holmes. Mr. Holmes was a mechanic who
got a patent in 1917 for the first tow truck. And
believe it or not, the tow truck was made from a
1914 Cadillac!

Then there is the 10 second Plymouth Sundance.

Or the guy who built a car almost entirely out of
wood.

Nor can we forget the new Navy supergun that fires
a round that travels 7 times the speed of sound! It
is impressive.

Just in case you don’t think you can afford air
conditioning this video will show you how to make
one for around $40. It will even run off a solar
charger.

Finally, since we like music, here is a little
something from the 50s.

And now our cruise is finished, we hope you enjoyed
it.
Comments are always welcome.


Great idea

June 22, 2014

Have you ever looked around in a restaurant waiting
for your meal to come to the table at the other
diners? Do you notice how people react to families of
special needs children or older people with
disabilities?

In this case we’re talking about people with
Parkinson’s disease who get tremors so bad they can
hardly eat. They put their spoon in the stew and by
the time it reaches their lips it’s empty.

Some fellow diners get a small grin as if they’re
wishing the affected eater luck. Others look to be
offended that people like that are allowed in public.

We always wonder why someone doesn’t invent
something that could ease these people problems and
make it easier for them to eat. And now, someone has.

Lift Labs has developed “Liftware” to make life a
little easier for people with essential tremors. We
are inspired by the inventors and hope this is the
first of many such products.
Comments are always welcome.


New ideas?

June 17, 2014

A lot of people are of the belief that light weight
cars running ethanol is a new idea and the way of the
future. You know, the ones with the composite body
panels and lightweight materials throughout made to
run on an alcohol/fuel mixture.

As far back as 1925, Henry Ford thought that ethyl
alcohol was the fuel of the future. He said: “The
fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like
the sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds,
sawdust-almost anything. There is fuel in every bit
of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There’s
enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of
potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to
cultivate the fields for a hundred years.”

From 1925 to 1941 Ford experimented with hemp to
make lighter cars and to make ethanol for gas.

hemp_car

Did you know that on August 14, 1941, Henry Ford
unveiled to the world his ‘biological’ car? Instead
of fiberglass the body was made of hemp and other
natural materials.

Though not mentioned in the video the timing gears,
horn buttons, gearshift knob, door handles and the
accelerator pedal were derived from soybeans. Even
the tires were made with something different,
goldenrod grown by his friend Thomas Edison!

Now we have carbon fiber and aluminum panels but the
idea is the same. Drop weight to save fuel and to
have alternative sources for said fuel. So after 80+
years of research the best we have is still ethanol?
One wonders.
Comments are always welcome.


Oddballs

June 8, 2014

Since the first automobile was built thinkers were
there to change it. Some call it customizing, others
may claim engineering, for our purpose we’ll say
concept cars.

Some of these factory sponsored leaps into the
future never got built, some had ideas that were seen
on later models, and some survived intact. Let’s look
at a few that didn’t make the cut.

For instance, have you ever seen a 1914 Alfa 60-hp
Aerodinamica? Now you can say you have.

1

Here is another rare bird, the 1925 Jonckheer Rolls-
Royce Phantom 1 Coupe.

2

Some cars from the 1930s look almost modern yet
today. A good example is the 1935 Alfa Romero 6C
2300 Aerodynamica Spider. A long name for a sweet
looking ride.

3

Concept cars were really wild in 1940s, like this
1945 Panhard Dynavia.

4

In the 1950s concept cars were all over the place
when it came to looks. Some looked sporty like this
1952 Alfa Romeo C52 Disco-Volante.

5

And others looked like they came from another planet
like this 1958 Ford Galaxy concept.

7

In the 1960s things exploded and it seemed like
every automaker out there had several concept cars
making the rounds. One of our personal favorites from
this era is the 1962 Corvair Monza GT.

8

The 1970s concept cars were also many and varied.
We like the 1970 Nissan 126X

10

By the 1980s the gas rationing of the late 1970s
took its toll on some concepts like this 1982 GM
Lean Machine.

12

The 1990s saw such concepts as the 1998 Chrysler
Chronos.

14

Which brings us to the 21st Century. We believe one
of the oddest vehicles to be shown since the turn of
our century is the 2011 Rolls Royce Apparition.

15

There you have some of the ideas that became the
concept cars that influenced young gearhead minds
over the last century. We hope there are at least
a few you haven’t seen before.
Comments are always welcome.


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