Thursday, October 28, 2010

One interesting car... 1943 VW Schwimmwagen

Hey everyone,
I apologize for not posting anything for a while. It's extremely difficult being away from my source of inspiration, the LeMay Family Car Collection, to write posts about cars and dealing with learning a new job. So I do apologize but I am back and writing a short post for today that I hope to expand on later on.

I was trying to decide what to write about next and so I decided to look up one of my favorite cars just from their design, the volkswagen bug. However, in doing so I came a really cool and interesting car called a VW Schwimmwagen. The one I found that was actually for sale on a website called: (I've included the link even though it already has been sold because it does have some really cool pictures of this amazing little vehicle).

Its a amphibious car and actually looks like a cute rounded off boat with wheels.
Here a couple of youtube videos that I found of it:

The first one gives you a really good look at the car:

And the second it actually shows the car going to the water and driving off:

Cool huh?
Well I'll let you know about the history and logistics of the car as I go along, which hopefully will be soon.
I hope you have enjoyed this short blog post.
'Till next time have an totally amazing day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1914 Detroit Priscilla - Electric Car

The 1914 Detroit Priscilla Electric car, a very cute and successful electric car for its time.
These cool electric cars were made from 1907 to 1938  by the Anderson electric company and was powered by a rechargeable Edison storage battery which was rechargeable, which were both lighter than lead acid batteries and long lasting.

The car was marketed towards women and doctors of the day and with good reason. This was a great vehicle that didn't require to started by  hand crank and the driver did not need to master choking skills either.

This car was produced during the companies peak in the 1910s. In fact the car was so popular that the name of the company was changed to the Detroit electric company. 

The beauty of the Detroit Priscilla's china cabinet like body is one of the things that it is known for. The car also featured a flower vase and lantern shaped headlights which I really like.

This is known as one of the most successful electric cars of its time. Its top speed was about 20 mph and it was advertised to get at least 80 miles on a single charge. It's slogan was: " ... it will take you anywhere that an automobile may go with a mileage radius farther than you will ever care to travel in a day."

Unfortunately things for the gasoline powered car improved and with these improvements the electric car became obsolete. The Detroit electric company while filing for bankruptcy in 1929 actually made it through the depression years but closed up shop for good in 1938.

However, the good news is that these beauties are still around to this day so that people can still see and admire their beauty.

I hope you have found this blog post interesting and educational. Thanks to the LeMay Car Museum for the information on this little beauty.
'Till next time have an amazing day everyone!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ford Mustangs

The Ford Mustang, in my mind is one of the "famous" cars out there. It is a very popular car and started on being on the market in early spring of 1964. It was a beautiful car and was fairly inexpensive.

The popularity of the Mustang caused many others to mimic it thus creating the different "pony" cars - Finally that mystery is solved, when I first started at the LeMay Museum at Marymount I had wondered what a "pony" cars was and how they had come about. Now I know.

One of the famous mustangs were the 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 which had such a built a such a big engine that it had what was called a shaker scoop (much like the one on the mustang below) which was part of the engine that extended through the hood of the car and shook when the car idled.

Personally I like the older Mustangs from the 1960's once the "fox body" was introduced ( I really wish I had a picture to show as a example but I don't) the Mustang seemed to go down in design and seemed to blend in with so many other cars' body designs afterwards in my opinion.  Some more of the Mustang's characteristics were a long hood and a short  back end.

One of the really cool things about the Ford Mustang from 1965 to 1970 was that the former race car driver designed the Ford Shelby Mustangs.This is something new to me as I thought the shelby cars were a totally different car altogether.

Here are a few more pictures of some of the Mustangs I have encountered over the recent months:

So I hope enjoyed this interesting but short post.
'Til Next time have a amazing day everyone!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Volkswagen Thing

The Volkswagen Thing
The Volkswagen Thing aka the Volkswagen Safari,Volkswagen Trekker and the Volkswagen Type 161 or Type 162,  based on where a person is and where the car is from.  Unfortunately the Thing has gotten some bad publicity, in my mind as a ugly car but I really don't think so. I think its cool and different. Now maybe if I rode in it I would think differently but for right now I stand by the vehicle and say, "Hey that is a cool car!"  - at least in design.

The car was actually made after a military vehicle called the Kübelwagen:  Kübel meaning bucket and wagen meaning seats which makes since that is what the car has. 

The convertible things were only sold in the United States in 1973. Unfortunately the car never really caught on with the market because most of  those that could afford the  $3,150 ( as much as many of the sport cars at the time) did not like it. (However it did catch on with the youth.)

Fascinating fact is that the vehicle's doors and windows are detachable and interchangeable! The convertible models of the Thing were only sold in the United States.

It was built on the same chassis as a pre -1968 Volkswagen Microcbus. A chassis, for people like myself that didn't know until I looked it up is the skeleton of a motor vehicle consisting of a steel frame supported on springs that holds the body and motor.

Looking back at the car show I really wish I had taken a peek inside the car's interior. It was suppose to be so bare and "stripped" that Volkswagen advertised that one could hose out the interior!

The way that the car was heated was through a gasoline fueled heater that was hooked up right to the engine and the heater was optional. 

It had a four cylinder engine and the only option for transmission was a four speed manual transmission. Just another reason why I should learn to drive a stick.

Things did not go well for this car since few that did like the design could afford it and then Ralph Nader got it banned from being imported after the 1974 model due to its failure to meet safety standards for passenger cars - hmmm.... Safety is important but if you follow the #1 rule of driving it shouldn't be a issue ( the rule is don't hit anything and don't let anything hit you!)

However, the Thing wasn't known for its speed either - it would go from 0 to 60 in 23 seconds, not so great. 

Overall the Volkswagen Thing to me is a pretty cool little car and I hope to learn even more about it along the way.

It you are interested in more Volkswagen Thing history I found a great website, the Jacksonville VW Thing website. Its chocked full of information on the Thing that I couldn't possibly squeeze into my blog. Click here for the link for the history pages of the VW Thing on their website. They are also a cool resource for the history of the Volkswagen company as well.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog and found it to be entertaining and enlightening.
'Til next time have a amazing day everyone!

Monday, August 30, 2010

LeMay Car Show

This last Saturday was the big 33rd LeMay Car Show and Auction and it was amazing. I volunteered at the Marymount grounds dealing with ticket sales. It was a bit chilly, in fact before the crowds came a good portion of conversation with the other volunteers was how cold we were.  But once the bus loads of people came there was simply no time to even acknowledge cold hands and feet. I met some amazing, friendly people and the six hours of volunteering went by fast. Then the rest of the day was dedicated to seeing the sights and sounds of the car show.

I had no idea how much fun this car show was going to be and I definitely recommend coming next year if you even live somewhat near the Pierce County area. I can understand why people travel clear from the east coast for this event. I took over 300 pictures between the car show and collection of cars at the LeMay Museum at Marymount location and the LeMay house. It is absolutely mind boggling how many cars Harold LeMay had in his collection just looking at what is currently at Nancy LeMay's, his wife, home.

Here a just a few pictures of classic and vintage cars that really stuck out to me from the event:

1930 Model A Ford Special Delivery Truck

Working tickets sales at the front gate definitely has its advantages, it was where all the collector cars came to enter the show.  This picture is of three Isettas in a row! So cool!

A really cool old time bus, going to have to ask for more info. on this one.

A absolutely beautiful cherry red 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, I want one just like this one!

Isn't it adorable, a 1957 Volkswagen "Shorty"

Volkswagen Thing, though I'm not sure of the year

A pink 1967 Mustang - beautiful! I want one of these too!

No clue as to what it actually is but isn't it cool?

This beautiful flower box right here made me think of being in Disneyland, only for classic and vintage cars.

One of my absolute favorites from the show a 1914 Detroit Electric Priscilla

A 1964 Amphicar - a car that can drive in the water. By this point I of the day I was absolutely exhausted but it was a ton of fun!

It truly was a amazing day filled with so many great classic, vintage and sporty cars, along with other amazing items such as Nancy LeMay's antique doll collection - including a couple of Annie dolls, all nine original Strawberry Shortcake dolls and a couple of the very early Barbie and Ken dolls. It you are interested in seeing more of the pictures I took of the event  click here . There is 204 pictures in the album.

I hope you have enjoyed my post about the car show and some of the great pictures of the cars. The LeMay car show and auction always happens the last Saturday in August so mark your calendars for next year!
'Til next time have a totally amazing day!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Learning Classic Car Terminology...

I almost forgot that I promised to report back on my list of questions that I had developed over the last entry with the 1929 Imperial L-80 Roadster that I was going to ask the volunteers at LeMay.

So its time for some basic classic car terminology:
Body Pillars: This is the support for the cars windows and roof.  For example in the picture below of the limousine the metal the holds the front windshield in place is called Pillar A, the metal between the front and second window is called Pillar B and then C, etc. till it gets to the metal support holding the rear windshield.

Arched vertical hood louvers: These are the vertical slits in the hood of a engine to ensure proper ventilation. This is shown in the image of the Imperial Roadster's picture below.

They remind me of the shark gills on the side of their head that they use to breathe. 
Cowl ventilator: A cowl ventilator is a curve on the inside dash board that helps with wind flow. Thus I have learned that cowl ventilators and cowls are the same thing.

When I went into LeMay to ask these questions I thought it would be some profound  item on the car but I have found that a lot of times these certain qualities are just little intricate details.In a way I guess it is sort of fashion statement for cars. A sweater have crew necks, cowl necks, or v necks while classic cars can have front body pillars, cowl ventilators and arched vertical hood louvers. It is all terminology that one must embrace when coming into the new world of classic cars much like embracing a new language and culture.
I hope you enjoyed this blog about my experience with classic car terminology.
'Til next time have an amazing day!

p.s. Thank you to Joe Reasoner, John Meister and the others that have so patiently put up with me asking so many questions about basic and simple things regarding classic cars. I really do appreciate it! You have given this classic car novice just a little bit more knowledge about this world of classic automobiles. So I just wanted to say:  THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

1949 Kaiser Deluxe

 When I first heard and saw the 1949 Kaiser Deluxe what stuck out most about this car's story was the fact that its paint color was chosen based on the results of Carleton Spencer's research, a pioneer of color and trim. For it was Spencer who took a survey for the Kaiser company to see what it was that women liked in cars. A interesting fact was that Spencer's research was used both for the Magazine "House and Home" and for the Kaiser-Frazer automobile company.

This particular car was bought by Harold and Nancy LeMay while it was still dissembled when they were visiting in Pennsylvania. The car was put together for the 15th Annual LeMay Car Show and Auction ( which happens every last Saturday in August) in 1992. Interesting fact was that when the LeMay's went to look at the car that was in a bunch of boxes they were expecting a sedan with a hard top, not a convertible.

The fact that the car was described as a sedan to them probably had to deal with the fact of how the idea for the convertible Kaiser Deluxe came about, because Henry J. Kaiser believed that he could make a convertible from the company's sedan by just chopping off the hood, adding chrome to the windows and installing a convertible top and that the car would be fine without added enforcements. However, after the first test drive where it was described to drive like a "bowl full of jelly" the company's mechancial engineers convinced Mr. Kaiser that the convertible needed at least x-member frames and special pillars for it. However, why stop at just x-member frames?

After analyzing a Packard convertible, which was said by one of Kaiser's engineers to be the best convertible that he had ever driven, the Kaiser Deluxe not only got its x-member frames but other special reinforcements that ended up the car weight 4,000 pounds and exceptionally solid.

Now on another interesting note: 

A Mystery is also attached to this particular car.....
There is a image of a buffalo within the Kaiser emblem on this car is several places, on the front, steering wheels and hubcaps of the car but there doesn't seem to be a explanation as to why? The volunteer that I spoke to at the Museum that has been curious about this puzzling image has asked several different sources, other volunteers and other people that might of had an answer but to no avail. 

My answer thinking about it is that the car's color is called Indian Ceramic, because of its color being much like that of the Native American Pottery. Maybe its a Indian Buffalo or somehow the Buffalo was associated with Native Americans back then?

So if you happen to know the answer behind this mystery or have another idea of what the answer could be I would love to hear it.

In the mean time I hope that you enjoyed this post.
'Til next time have an amazing day everyone!

1954 Bristol Bus

I have always admired and really liked double decker buses. Maybe its because I have never been on one or it could be the fact that it is a "British" thing. Whatever the reason I have always seemed to have a fascination with them.

This is one of LeMay - AMERICA'S CAR MUSEUM'S Bristol Buses at the Fife location.

An interesting note about that British Bristol Bus is that before the redesign in the 1920s the double decker bus was not a popular option of transportation in England. This was because it the buses  were low clearance buses that did not have enough head room and their seating was four in a row for the upper deck. The buses couldn't be any taller because of the low bridges in the area so the Lodekka model was invented to take care of these problems. The Lodekka model lowered the gear shaft so that it would provide more head room.

Another funny thing that I found out about these buses that I never knew before was that these buses were not all red and white. The buses that were red and white were actually owned by the red and white motor services.
I hope you have enjoy this entry about the Bristol Bus.
'Til Next Time have a great day everyone!

Friday, August 13, 2010

1929 Chrysler Imperial Roadster

Another rare jewel of a car at the Lemay Museum.

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A 1929 Chrysler Imperial L - 80 Roadster. It was actually made by a separate division of Chrysler by Locke & Sons.

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This was a custom car and according to the person I talked to at LeMay very few were made, less than 300!

The third door on this vehicle for the rumble see was rare for this time. So much that the term "three door" is often included in the title of this car now a days.

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While I couldn't find a lot of information on this car, thanks to the Imperial Club and to Joe Reasoner at LeMay - America's Car Museum I did learn a little.   I found some cool advertisements from the day on the Imperial's website, which I have linked to here:  Custom L- 80 Roadster ad"Ultra Fashionable" Ad for Roadster,  also here is a couple of pictures of the roadsters comparing the early and late production of the 1929 models.

While researching this car I have struck on a new vein of curiosity for myself dealing with classic cars, not just in the individual cars but in how they worked also. So hopefully next week I will be going over an anatomy lesson of what classic cars usually have versus more modern day cars. We'll see how it goes and if I can get some answers. Watch out fellow volunteers at LeMay, I'm going to start carrying a memo pad full of questions and I'll be wanting some answers when I come! : )
'Till next time have a excellent day everyone!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hail to the Chief... 1984 Cadillac Limousine Presidential Prototype

I went into the gymnasium at the Museum today and to my pleasant surprise look what I found sitting there!

Cool huh? This is a 1984 Presidential Prototype Cadillac Limousine. While it never did have a president in it, at least we can't say for sure, the limousines designed from this prototype were the vehicles that were made from this design include: Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton. It was built by GM motors in 1984 to evaluate the design and layout of the one that they sent to the White House that year.

This limousine featured three cell phones, writing desks, and  a hands free intercom that allowed the passengers to communicate not only with the chauffeur but also with the people outside.

Some of the other amenities that the limo had was a tv, a specially designed am/ fm radio, cd player and video cassette player. 

I hope you have enjoyed this post about the 1984 Cadillac Presidential Prototype Limousine. If you are in the Pierce County area you should really check it out for yourself. It is quite a cool vehicle.
'Til next time have a amazing day!