Category: Car Restoration

The Startix automatic engine starting mechanism

The Startix automatic engine starting mechanism


The Startix automatic engine starting mechanism was a relay in a small box added to the vehicle’s electrical system. It automatically started an engine from cold or if stalled. It was supplied to vehicle manufacturers in the mid 1930s and later as an aftermarket accessory — in the USA by Bendix Aviation Corporation[1] Eclipse Machine Division and in UK by Joseph Lucas & Son both of which businesses made electric self-starters. Such devices are now part of the engine management systems which switch off and on to conserve fuel.


The switching on of the ignition starts the engine and, in addition, automatically restarts the engine whenever it stalls, as long as the ignition is switched on.

As soon as the ignition is switched on current flows to the first Startix solenoid and current flows from battery to starter. The generator delivers current once the engine starts and part of it goes to a second Startix solenoid that switches off the current from battery to starter. If the engine and generator stop, then that second solenoid switches on the current from the battery to the starter. There are many further refinements associated with the plain relay.


It was marketed in the 1930s particularly for cars with then fashionable free-wheel manual transmissions but carburation problems led to automobile manufacturers soon dropping them as original equipment. They continued as an aftermarket accessory for cars with automatic transmissions into the middle years of the 20th century.


In the absence of a complete lock-up of the transmission of power between engine and wheels a car engine might die while idling. Even on a gentle long descent the driver might be unaware of engine failure until power was required and it could be dangerous particularly if braking-assistance depended on the engine and the reservoir or reserves proved inadequate.

False sense of security

Poorly adjusted engines could easily flood with fuel when attempting to restart while coasting and become unusable until dried out. Fuel management has since become so sophisticated this ceased to be a problem with the introduction of high quality fuel injection systems.

Automatic transmission

There was the appeal of the “power everything” car which automatically started its engine. Many early automatics had no lock up of their transmission, for example DynaflowPowerglide and Ultramatic though Hydramatic did.


These US manufacturers provided Startix as original equipment during the 1930s:

  • Pierce-Arrow
  • Packard
  • Hudson
  • Lincoln
  • Studebaker
  • Auburn
  • Franklin
  • Essex
  • Willys
  • Durant
  • Cord

Source Wikipedia

Liquidation Auction of Classic Cars, Trucks & Hot Rod Bodies (SF Flatheads)


It seems SF Flatheads is no more according to the auction listing below

100 + Flathead V-8 Motors & Spare Parts Inventory 

As a result of commercial
eviction notice filed by Liberty Park, LLC
Entire Classic Car & Parts Collection
Stored at 8110 Power Ridge Road
Sacramento, CA

50+ Vehicles for Restoration Enthusiasts   

  • Mid 50’s Buick 4 door hardtops & wagon
  • 59 Lincoln Continental Mark IV convertible
  • 60 Cadillac Coupe Deville & 39 Lasalle rag top
  • 40 Ford woody; 38 Ford 5 window coupes
  • 30’s Ford roadsters, pickups & hot rod coupes

Important: As a result of a commercial eviction notice filed by Liberty Part, LLC, the entire collection referenced as SF Flatheads will be sold without reserve to the highest bidder at public auction.

Inspections by appointment only

Inspection windows are Fridays from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

  • March 17
  • March 24
  • March 31
  • April 7

Listing is here

Buyer’s Guide to the 1964 Pontiac GTO @Hemmings


The Pontiac Synonymous with ’60s Performance is Still a Perennial Favourite

For some Baby Boomers, Pontiac’s GTO is the automotive equivalent of Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner guitar shred at Woodstock: powerful, iconic and emblematic of an extraordinary era in American history. Pontiac offered a GTO until 1974, then dusted off the badge again for its last hoorah 30 years later on the 2004- ’06 edition. A few versions of the model were significant, at least one was legendary (we’re looking at you, The Judge), but it was the pure-and-simple ’64 that lit the fire. The GTO’s origin story is almost as legendary as the car’s performance reputation. In the late 1950s, Pontiac General Manager Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudsen resuscitated the brand with an infusion of electrifying styling and performance. The division also firmly established itself in motorsports and became America’s third best-selling automaker. All of this attention neatly coincided with many Baby Boomers reaching driving age. When Knudsen left for Chevrolet in the early 1960s, Pontiac was flush with talent, and the young engineers he’d hired to aid in the division’s turnaround were promoted. E.M. “Pete” Estes became Pontiac’s general manager and John DeLorean became its chief engineer.

These young execs recognized the need for a fast, agile, affordable car that could further expand Pontiac’s performance image. The perfect candidate arrived in ’64: the mid-size A-body that replaced the compact Y-body. The new car eschewed the earlier model’s advanced unit-body platform, swing-axle rear suspension and transaxle, in favor of more traditional architecture: a full-frame, a solid axle with four-link rear suspension and a conventional drivetrain layout. As a result, the 389 V-8 engine from the full-size line, and three- or four-speed manual transmissions could easily fit in the A-body. Paired with heavy-duty suspension, the car’s handling qualities could be elevated to equal the big engine’s performance.

As the story goes, during tests of a ’64 Tempest at the Milford Proving Grounds, Pontiac chassis engineer Bill Collins noted that the 389 would fit in the new chassis, engineer and engine specialist Russ Gee proposed the swap and DeLorean agreed. Soon after, a running prototype was completed.

The name “GTO” was chosen for this performance edition; it’s an acronym for “Gran Turismo Omologato.” When used on a Ferrari, it meant it was homologated by the Fédération Internationale D’Automobile for racing. Pontiac’s GTO wasn’t, but the name implied exotic performance, and that was good enough.

At the time, GM had limited its intermediate cars to a V-8 ceiling, so to get around that, the GTO was offered as an option instead of a model. Thus, for $295.90, code 382 turned a Le Mans into a GTO with all of the performance bona fides, plus emblems, blacked-out grilles, and hood scoops to make it stand out. Just $2,776 ($27,000 in 2022) bought you the base pillared GTO sports coupe.

Many road testers were enthusiastic about the GTO’s style and acceleration. Others panned it for its name and other short-comings, like its brakes. Nevertheless, the overall impression was positive. A masterful marketing campaign for the GTO by Jim Wangers and his team at Pontiac’s ad agency MacManus, John & Adams, did more than a little to create that same impression among buyers. With 32,450 GTOs sold that first year, the formula for success was established.

What is a First Generation GTO Worth?

First generation GTOs have been a mainstay of the collector car hobby for decades due to their popularity among Boomers. According to multiple value guides, 1964-’67 GTO prices have remained fairly steady over the last five years averaging in the $50,000- $60,000 range, overall. The ’64—which we’re singling out for analysis here—has followed a similar trend. One of the more notable, recent sales of a ’64 GTO occurred back in July 2022, at a GAA Classic Cars auction in Greensboro, North Carolina. The car was a nicely restored black coupe and it changed hands for $88,000. At Mecum’s Chicago auction in October, a good-looking black ’64 convertible sold for $64,000; at the company’s Kissimmee sale in January, a stunning black convertible sold for an impressive $107,250. Meanwhile, on the more affordable end of the market, a very presentable, driver-quality ’64 coupe was sold by its second owner on Hemmings Auctions in September for $24,460.

The GTO’s traditional fanbase is still a driving force in the collector car hobby, but it’s gradually turning the market over to Generation X and Millennials, who may be less interested in cars of the early 1960s. Still, the original GTO isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s probably safe to say that expertly restored examples and cars with professional-grade restomod treatments will continue to command lofty prices, but the overall value trend will remain steady into the foreseeable future. If you’re in the market for one of these pioneering American performance machines, here are some points to keep in mind.

First Generation GTO Engine Options

The GTO’s standard-issue 389 was topped with a Carter four-barrel carburetor and rated at 325 hp at 4,800 rpm/428 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. The Tri-Power option swapped the four barrel for three Rochester two-barrel carburetors. The center carburetor acted as the primary and, when the throttle was two-thirds open, the outer carbs kicked in via a vacuum-diaphragm-controlled linkage.
Pontiac advertised the Tri-Power 389’s output as 358 hp at 4,900 rpm/428 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm. Both engines came standard with a cast-iron, dual-plane intake manifold; 421 H.O.-spec cylinder heads with larger ports; 1.92-inch intake/1.66-inch exhaust valves and HD valve springs; cast-aluminum pistons helping to deliver 10.75:1 compression; a cast crank and rods spinning in a block with five main bearings and two-bolt main caps; and iron exhaust manifolds feeding dual exhaust. The single four barrel and Tri-Power 389s used a hydraulic flat-tappet cam with 273/289-degrees advertised duration and .410/413 lift activating 1.50:1 ratio rocker arms. To help keep the package cool, a seven-blade 18-inch declutching fan was also included. The 389 is a generally reliable engine but be sure to check for any odd noises, smoke, and leaks that would indicate mechanical issues due to age or neglect. Many owners added Tri-Power to their ’64 GTOs years after purchase, so be diligent in checking engine codes and date codes to ensure that a purported factory Tri-Power GTO is accurately represented.
There are no new stock-replacement engine blocks or iron heads being reproduced, and though cores are getting scarce, they are still available. If you’d like to modify your GTO, large-bore aftermarket Pontiac-style blocks, various aluminum cylinder heads and intake manifolds, and carburetor and EFI options are offered. There are also solid and hydraulic flat-tappet and solid and hydraulic roller camshafts, forged rods and pistons, cast and forged cranks, and stroker kits on the market.

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10 Things Everyone Forgot About The 1949 Ford Custom – Nathan Lowman @HotCars

The 1949 Ford Custom, often called the “Shoebox Ford”, is a symbol of American prosperity and ingenuity. Advancements in design, technology, and performance were all found in the 1949 Ford. One could argue that the 1949 Ford Custom was a representation of what was happening in America after recovering from The Great Depression and World War II. Cultural movements like hot rodding found a form of expression in the 1949 Ford.

Unfortunately, the modern world has mostly forgotten about this iconic classic car. So if you’re looking to get caught up on the history of Ford, or trying to learn more about your favorite hot rod, here are 10 things everyone forgot about the 1949 Ford Custom.

10 – The Ford Custom Was Produced From 1949 To 1951

The 1949 Ford Custom wasn’t just produced in 1949 but until 1951. It wasn’t uncommon for many car makes to just be named by their model year, even if there were no major changes from one year to the next. So when one refers to the 1949 Ford, they’re likely referring to all three years of its production.

The 1949 Ford saved the Ford Motor Company, which is probably why Ford sold the car for three years with little to no changes. The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” must have been believed at Ford

9 – The Ford Custom Featured The First Ford Automatic Transmission

One of the greatest advancements in cars throughout the 1940s and early 1950s is the automatic transmission. The Ford-O-Matic was the first automatic transmission used by Ford and was first featured on the 1951 Ford Custom.

Early automatic transmissions lagged behind their manual counterparts, but some of the components and engineering found in the Ford-O-Matic are still used today. So you can thank the 1949 Ford for the ridiculously fast cars with automatics today.

8 – The Ford Custom Used A Flathead V8

Most people associate the Flathead V8 with the Ford cars of the 1930s; or with the getaway cars of Bonnie and Clyde. The Flathead was still used postwar though, being found under the hood of the 1949 Ford for all three production years.

The Flathead V8 in the 1951 Ford makes 100 horsepower – not too shabby for 1940s standards. Ford finally upgraded to an overhead-valve design in 1954, keeping the Flathead in production for over 20 years.

7 – The Ford Custom Was The First New Car Post WW2

When America entered World War II in 1941, car manufacturers repurposed their factories to build bombers, tanks, and firearms for the war effort. Ford specifically built bombers and Jeeps throughout World War II.

When the car was over manufacturers picked up where they left off, building models from the 1941 model year. Ford became the first American manufacturer to produce a lineup post-war; building coupes, wagons, convertibles, and sedans of the 1949 Ford model

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Nice Score, Wheels & Tyres/Tires!


Scored some nice Denman 750 x 16 Whitewalls

Also some 1935 wire wheels, only really wanted x 2 so I can swap in the 750s. However always handy to have spares as they don’t make em anymore 🙂

These will look really tidy when painted or powder coated. Will pick the best four of the eight that I have to refurbish as the “A” set.

The rims came with a set of V8 hubcaps, my car originally came with V8 caps and those were sold and replaced by Ford script caps, so these are also surplus to requirements.

Looking forward to getting the chosen wheels and tyres on the car!

However also some decisions to be made on the steel rims that I’ve had for a while.

After a smarten up they may be on the way to a new owner.

Even the cars I thought were junk back in the day are now getting restored – Terry McGean @Hemmings


From cannon fodder to collectible, my standards for what’s collectible have shifted

It’s interesting how our standards change over time. What was acceptable years ago might not be okay now; conversely, things we rejected in the past may now be valued. The second arrangement certainly applies to vintage vehicles, and when it comes to cars of the original muscle era, most of us likely have recollections of particular cars we may have cast off way back when that we’d really like to have now.

Discussion of such things came up recently in a conversation about Dodge’s 1968-’70 Charger—a model that has been experiencing significant value escalation in recent years. As a result, anything resembling a ’68-’70 Charger seems to be worth a small fortune, and this is where Dodge’s stylish coupes serve as a good example of the steadily shifting standards. The acceptance of lesser 318 and 383 versions is one indicator—many gearheads would have insisted on an R/T not so long ago. The acceptable condition of the car in question has seen a steady slide too. Today, people seem far less particular.

It’s interesting how our standards change over time. What was acceptable years ago might not be okay now; conversely, things we rejected in the past may now be valued. The second arrangement certainly applies to vintage vehicles, and when it comes to cars of the original muscle era, most of us likely have recollections of particular cars we may have cast off way back when that we’d really like to have now.

Discussion of such things came up recently in a conversation about Dodge’s 1968-’70 Charger—a model that has been experiencing significant value escalation in recent years. As a result, anything resembling a ’68-’70 Charger seems to be worth a small fortune, and this is where Dodge’s stylish coupes serve as a good example of the steadily shifting standards. The acceptance of lesser 318 and 383 versions is one indicator—many gearheads would have insisted on an R/T not so long ago. The acceptable condition of the car in question has seen a steady slide too. Today, people seem far less particular.

I looked around at some recent Charger sales and was astounded by some of the transaction figures. The fervor to buy even far-less-than-perfect specimens reminded me of some of the Chargers that had crossed my path years ago. As a teen, it was already tough to find a decent ’68 or ’69 Charger, but one of my friends had managed to obtain one of each. The first was a ’69 that had been a 383 four-barrel originally, but which was later fitted with a 440 Magnum. Given that we were in the Northeast, the car was rusty, but he had it patched up and painted and it looked good… for a while.

Later, while the ’69 was being painted, my friend needed something else to drive and came upon a ’68 Charger with a 318. This one had a really nice original interior, but it was also rusty, with missing sections of lower quarter panel, holes in the rear valence panel, and so on. But it ran and drove great, so he used it daily for a few months.

At the time, both of those cars were seen as stepping stones—placeholders of a sort, providing the experience of having a Charger until a better one could be found. A couple years later, after the ’69’s paint job started coming apart as the body filler revealed itself, my friend sold it off, and I clearly recall us thinking it was “just too far gone to be worth fixing the right way.” The ’68 was sold around the same time for similar reasons, all of us thinking there was no point in trying to fix that much decay on a 318 car. Of course, what we considered too rotten in the ’80s would now be considered a great starting point. Both of those cars were structurally sound, and though the floorpans on both cars were getting pin-holed, neither had gotten anywhere close to the full Flintstone effect.

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6 of the most rewarding moments in vintage car ownership – Kyle Smith @Hagerty


Owning and maintaining a hobby car is full of ups and downs. With any luck the highs appear more often than the lows, but there is no way to guarantee their appearance. What we can do is focus on the moments that make the thin wallets and late nights and headaches worth it.

To bring some light into what may be a dark tunnel, we pulled out six of the moments in car ownership that we’ve found most rewarding. Whether you own a classic now or are thinking about jumping in with both feet, here is what you have to look forward to.

First show/event

Getting your new purchase home is a big moment; taking it out for its first show or event is even bigger. A car can be an extension of your personality and going out to your first car show with this new form of expression is a powerful moment.

Sharing your car and its story can be as easy as joining a gathering of likeminded individuals in a parking lot—or, if you thrive on more challenging goals, as complicated as earning a spot on a concours lawn. You don’t have to walk away with an award, but we’ll bet you’ll carry a memory when you go.

First startup

Catching a problem before it’s a problem

Classic vehicles require a certain understanding. Once you learn your car’s language, you will know when something is not right.

Whether you do your own diagnosis or call in the professionals, having your hunch justified is an awesome feeling. It’s more than just keeping up on maintenance. This is knowing your car well enough that, when you detect a disturbance in the force, you act on it with confidence.

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Bad-boy alternative 1978 Pontiac Firebird Sky Bird finds a home at the AACA Museum –


Offered to attract women into showrooms, it was accompanied by the Red Bird and Yellow Bird

For those fans of American performance cars, the world came to an end (at least temporarily) after the 1974 model year. The GTO, once the king of muscle cars, had been relegated to a 350 V-8 on a chassis shared with Pontiac’s compact Ventura, and it was conspicuously absent from the model lineup the following year. Furthermore, the special Super Duty 455 V-8, available in Firebirds, was never to return.

Beginning in 1975, catalytic converters were the new norm and necessitated the use of unleaded fuel; five-mph bumpers were now de rigueur; and computer-controlled engines were in their infancy. The last vestiges of performance were struggling to survive. For Pontiac, whose sales success of the late Fifties to the early Seventies relied on performance, things looked bleak.

Sure, you could still order a big 455 in your new Grand Ville, Bonneville, Catalina, Grand Prix, Le Mans, or Grand Am, but it was a detuned version of what once ruled the streets. Firebird, Pontiac’s sporty pony car, shared its engine lineup with other Pontiacs, so it too was subject to the downgraded performance of its siblings. Ironically, in this era of weakened performance, the Firebird had its best sales years, thanks to the meteoric rise in Trans Am sales.

When did Pontiac introduce the Sky Bird?

The second-generation F-body Firebird and Camaro were introduced in 1970. Pontiac offered four flavors—base, Esprit, Formula, and Trans Am. While the Formula and Trans Am were geared to those looking for all-out performance, the base model appealed to folks on a budget, and the Esprit to a buyer who wanted a little luxury with their sportiness. Esprits typically included such standard upgrades as body-colored sport mirrors with lefthand remote, color-keyed seat belts, center console, bright exterior moldings, and concealed windshield wipers.

As the Seventies progressed, Pontiac recognized that 30 percent of Firebird buyers were women. Not everyone wanted the macho image of the Trans Am and GM marketers smartly realized it was necessary to offer alternatives to the bad boy image of Pontiac’s performance flagship. The Esprit was the perfect choice and Pontiac, looking to expand market share, used the Firebird as the basis for three special editions.

The first of three special Esprits debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1976 as a show car. Called Blue Bird, it was for all intents and purposes a “tape and paint job” that became known officially as the “Esprit Luxury Appearance Package.” The car proved a hit with consumers and Pontiac announced in May 1976 that a production version was to be introduced for the 1977 model year. There was only one problem: Reportedly, the Blue Bird Body Company of Georgia, a builder of school busses, had trademarked the name for automotive use and objected to the use of Blue Bird on another company’s vehicle. Pontiac thus changed the name to Sky Bird

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