Monday, July 16, 2018

1963 Datsun L320 pickup truck

Is that a hand crank on the front of this truck? Yes. The owner assures me you can start it by hand cranking it, just like a Model T Ford. OK then. Parked next to this truck at the Greenlake auto show was the "Sport" model of the same Datsun, with a different, car-like body and bed. This truck can allegedly haul a half-ton payload, though I'm dubious of that given the 1.2 liter engine.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

1970 Dodge Challenger convertible

Only 8,939 Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda convertibles were ever made, and despite being comparatively inexpensive cars, they command staggering prices today, particularly when fitted out with the rarer performance options.

This '70 has the 440 4-barrel under the hood, but lacks the "R/T" performance package which would have included upgraded suspension, brakes, premium tires and special badging and paint stripes along with a big-block engine. Still, I've no doubt it would command $50K or more at auction.

* The most valuable American car made since World War II is this very similar 1971 Hemi 'Cuda 4-speed, one of only three made. Sold for $3.5 million in 2014.
* A 440 in a car this light? Better be gentle, or you'll twist the frame!

Monday, July 9, 2018

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Gasser Drag Racer

While I'm hardly an expert on old-school drag racing, let me try to explain what we're looking at. In the early days of drag racing, there were two basic cars:
1. The Rail Job: A methanol or gasoline-nitro-formula-powered engine centered between two simple rails. This is the classic dragster. The earliest dragsters mounted the engine in front of the driver, but when all those drivers got killed by engines and transmissions that exploded in their faces, everybody switched to engines behind the driver.
2. The Gasser: Start with a stock car. Build an elevated sub-frame that lifts the front end, providing the car with better traction and giving it more space for a big gasoline engine and "bundle of snakes" free-flow exhaust. Stick the gas tank on the front of the car - you don't really want the gas tank under the back of a car that does wheelies. Popular accessories included a giant supercharger lifted from a vintage GM diesel truck and mechanical fuel-injection (this last accessory, it should be noted, is incredibly cool-looking).

This Chevy is technically street-legal, although I've no doubt it violates city noise ordinances.