Category: Daniel Strohl

Against all odds, French inventor Albert-Paul Bucciali spent decades claiming he invented the Willys MB Jeep – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Against all odds, French inventor Albert-Paul Bucciali spent decades claiming he invented the Willys MB Jeep – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Albert-Paul Bucciali was livid. Sometime after the Allied forces invaded Normandy and fought their way across France, he got an up close look at the little Jeep that everybody was talking about. While he appreciated what it could – and did – do for his country, one look underneath the Willys- and Ford-built light reconnaissance vehicles led him to spend the next 35 years in court defending his claim that he’d invented the Jeep and that he was owed a sizable fortune for doing so.

If Bucciali didn’t actually invent modern front-wheel drive, as he often claimed to have done, he at the very least made some pioneering advancements in sending power through the steerable wheels at a time when other inventors and carmakers were just starting to see the potential of such a system. Other than filing a series of French and U.S. patents for the system, though, he never fully capitalized on it and left behind just a handful of prototypes when he and his brother shut down the Freres Bucciali venture in the early Thirties.

Bucciali’s front-wheel-drive system. Hemmings file photo.

The two later went on to experiment with a four-wheel-drive sports coupe and a 12-wheel-drive armored fighting vehicle before Albert-Paul Bucciali settled on building gas generators toward the end of the decade. After the war and his brother’s death, Bucciali went on to experiment with helicopters and gas turbine engines before developing a semi-automatic transmission for Cotal.

That he never capitalized on his many patents, however, seemed to have stuck in Bucciali’s craw in his latter years. He accused Jean-Albert Gregoire, Tracta, and Citroen of stealing his ideas and claiming the glory and commercial success he believed was owed to him for inventing front-wheel drive. He contended that Renault built its automatic transmission on the principles he established with Cotal, and argued that Panhard et Levassor’s eight-wheeled EBR derived from the armored fighting vehicle work he and his brother did

But those claims all paled in comparison to his campaign to be credited as the father of the Jeep. While one would have expected he’d have cited the four-wheel-drive sport coupe that he and his brother developed, he instead looked at the Willys nameplate on the Jeeps he inspected and built his case upon the fact that Willys was one of several American companies to review one of his TAV30 prototypes in early 1930 while considering his pitch to license the front-wheel-drive system.

According to Griffith Borgeson, who visited Bucciali for a story in Automobile Quarterly in the late Seventies, the inventor pointed to one design in particular, US1837106, as “the patent upon which the whole issue depends.” That patent, filed in September 1928 and granted in December 1931, describes Bucciali’s TAV front-wheel-drive system. It includes a number of innovations, including drum brake linings integrated with the wheels, electrically actuated brakes, and a “parallelogramic” independent front suspension, but for the purposes of Bucciali’s argument, it also includes claims for inventing the spherical casing for a universal joint that permits the steering of a pair of driven wheels.

Bucciali suspected that, even though Willys brass passed on licensing Bucciali’s patent, they also filed away the design until the time came, a decade later, to design and build a light four-wheel-drive reconnaissance vehicle. Then, underhandedly, those same Willys executives and engineers re-constructed Bucciali’s design, slapped it under the front of the Jeep, won lucrative defense production contracts, and went on to build a civilian version with the potential for making millions upon millions of dollars.

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In its day, a 1993 Saturn SL2 was nothing special. That’s what makes it very special to one family – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


On a Sunday night in June 1993, George Chamberlain couldn’t contain his excitement. He gathered his whole family – wife, son, daughter – and hustled them in to his hand-me-down beater Volkswagen Rabbit. That night in St. Peters, Missouri, there were no carnivals, no church suppers, no special events that had George thrilled. Instead, it was a silver Saturn SL2

.”It was his first new car,” his son, Scott, said. “He did a lot of research on it – read all the reviews, read up on it in Consumer Reports.

“George, a mechanical engineer at McDonnell Douglas, labored over the order sheet, picking the exact options that maximized the value he’d get out of the four-door spaceframe sedan while remaining in his budget. The dual-overhead camshaft, 124-hp, multi-point fuel-injected 1.9L four-cylinder engine was a must. Same with the alloy wheels and the ABS system for the four-wheel discs. The five-speed manual transmission would do. Though he wanted the sunroof, he balked at the price. All told, it cost him a little less than $15,000.

He’d placed his order and waited patiently enough, but the rust continued to slowly consume the Rabbit and the leak in its exhaust grew louder by the day. The call from Lou Fusz Saturn of St. Charles County, notifying George that the car had been delivered and that he could pick it up that Monday, couldn’t have come soon enough.

Scott, who’d turned 7 just a couple days prior to seeing the pre-delivery SL2 still in its plastic transport wrapping under the dealership’s lights, was largely oblivious to the details of the transaction and didn’t share his father’s enthusiasm for the car itself. He didn’t pore over sales brochures or read the reviews or compare prices with his father. “It was just an average ordinary family car, always in the background while I was growing up,” he said. “It was really insignificant at the time. Even my dad had no illusion the car was anything fantastic”

Rather, what memories of that time stuck with him concerned the cutaway cars he saw on the dealership floor when accompanying his father on his fact-finding missions. “It was the first time I’d ever seen a car pulled apart like that,” he said. And even more than that, he appreciated Saturn’s much-ballyhooed efforts to create a sense of fraternity around Saturn ownership. Like many Saturn dealerships, Lou Fusz organized road rallies and picnics, offered home maintenance workshops, and made a big spectacle – the launch, they called it, keeping with the astronomical theme – of handing the keys of each new car to the customer and sending them on their way.

“From the standpoint of bringing families together, it was a really good ownership experience,” he said. “It didn’t feel disingenuous, it genuinely felt like they enjoyed what they were doing. They did a good job of creating a community out of the brand.

“A year after delivery of the SL2 and after taking part in some of the dealer’s events, the Chamberlains even traveled to Spring Hill, Tennessee, for the first Saturn Homecoming, where the family – wearing matching red-and-white Saturn outfits, no less – toured the factory, mingled with the tens of thousands of other Saturn owners who showed up, and reveled in all things Saturn

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Anybody can replace disc brake pads and rotors. Here’s how to do it the right way – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


As the dominant choice for both front and rear brake systems for the last quarter-century, disc brakes offer a number of advantages over drums, including better serviceability. Without having to deal with return springs and adjustment wheels, a nice clean disc brake rotor and pad replacement should take about half the time a drum brake service requires.

But that’s not to say disc brake service doesn’t benefit from taking your time and paying attention to the details as you go along. Sure, you could breeze through and be back on the road in no time, but with a little bit of forethought you can get the best performance from your new brakes, avoid extensive damage, and make your next brake replacement go much smoother.

We followed along as tech columnist Jim O’Clair got his hands dirty replacing the brakes on a late-model Subaru and pointed out various tips, tricks, and other good advice for servicing pretty much any vehicle with disc brakes.

Hang The Caliper

While you should always inspect the brake hoses and the calipers when taking apart the disc brakes for service, it’s not always necessary to replace the hoses and calipers.

In those instances when you’re replacing just the rotors and pads, make sure to hang the caliper up and away from your workspace rather than just let it dangle by the hose. Brake hoses aren’t meant to be kinked or stretched, and dangling the caliper can do both, leading to damage

.While you could easily buy a caliper hanger set or devise a caliper hanger from zip ties, rope, or an old cloth, Jim fashioned one from a length of chain and a couple of hardware store S-hooks that he had laying around to make an easily adjustable, simple to use hanger. Make sure to hang the caliper from something sturdy and not from a brake line, hose, or fender liner.

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With an Offy under the hood, 1927 Ford Model T street rod is one of the few that deserves to wear that track nose – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


These days, we’ve become accustomed to track noses as just another option in the sea of hot rod aftermarket items. Sporty, yes, but all too often backed up by an otherwise standard street rod. However, the track nose on this 1927 Ford Model T-based street rod for sale on is entirely fitting, given that the builder of the car chose to power it with a real-deal Drake Offenhauser dual overhead-camshaft four-cylinder. Once the hood is up, not even the screaming yellow zonkers paint can divert focus away from that jewel of a racing engine, and we’re sure there’s a story about how the engine came to power this car, along with many stories of frightened and delighted passengers who went for a ride thinking it was just a regular ol’ 1-800-street-rod. From the seller’s description

includes: A 255 cu in Drake Offenhauser engine with original magneto and water plumbing system, Dual two barrel Mikuni carburetors, Dry sump oil system, Custom built tube headers and exhaust system, Steel tube chassis, Ford automatic transmission, Ford 9 inch rear end with three link rear suspension with coil over shocks, Front drop chrome axle, Ansen type five spoke wheels CNC profile cut for original machine finish, Wilwood front disk brakes with chassis mounted master cylinder and bias valve, Custom radiator with electric cooling fan, Rear mounted battery with under seat disconnect, Hand fabricated upholstery and carpets, Fiberglass body with aluminum hood, radiator nose and louvered side panels. Car is currently licensed and insured and ready to drive

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Good things come to those who wait? Jonny Smith and his 18-year Chevrolet Impala lowrider project – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Just so you don’t start to think that Hemmings editors are the only ones who get distracted from finishing their long-term car projects, let’s catch up with Jonny Smith, the British enthusiast of American cars and host of the Late Brake Show, and his 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS lowrider (yes, a lowrider in the UK), a project that has been ongoing for close to 20 years now thanks to a few instances of hard luck, a lot of time spent away from the garage, and all the other nuisances that keep a project from progressing. But now it appears Jonny’s got some help in finishing the project, so perhaps his lowrider will soon be three-wheeling it around England’s country lanes in style.

Find of the Day: Decades of preservation and fair-weather exercise have kept this 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2 fit and ready to roll – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


A quick look through the photos in the listing for this 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2 for sale on had us believing it was a fully restored car, but as we learned from the description, it remains largely original with a few items updated or rebuilt here and there. That’s rather remarkable, but understandable, given how treasured Avantis – supercharged Avantis, particularly – have been since new. We imagine this was a fair-weather car –  socked away in a dry place in the winters and regularly serviced every spring – and it appears ready to continue in that capacity for many years to come.From the seller’s description:

This 1963 Studebaker Avanti is very original to its date of manufacture. It is a supercharged R2 with 89,000 miles. Equipped with automatic trans, power steering, brakes, and windows. Seats and trim are as delivered, and carpet is updated in correct salt and pepper design. All instruments function but the clock is not connected. AM radio is functional. All lights work properly. Brakes serviced and duel master cylinder installed for upgraded safety. Supercharger recently overhauled by factory. All glass and rubber seals are in excellent condition. Torque boxes, (hog troughs) are in good condition. Tires are new and the correct size for 1963 introduction. Paint on a scale of 1 thru 10 is a strong 9.5 with zero cracks, nicks or blemishes. Finish has a high sheen/luster. Chrome is a 9.0. There is the typical Studebaker oil leak to report.

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Twenty years ago, Chrysler unleashed a pandemonium of third-gen Hemi V-8s. Here’s how to tell them apart – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


While many cars and trucks of the Eighties and Nineties dispelled the notion that American performance died off with the original muscle cars, it took an entirely new engine—one more powerful and less expensive to produce than its predecessor—to reignite the horsepower wars and usher in a new golden age. The Hemi V-8 has since become a standard-bearer for Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and Jeep vehicles, and its basic engine architecture has spawned more than a dozen configurations, some of them difficult to discern from others. For that reason, we’ve put together this spotters guide to the third-gen Hemi family of engines.

What sets the Hemi apart

Teased in the 2000 Chrysler 300 Hemi C and the 2001 Dodge Super8 Hemi, the new 5.7-liter Hemi (Chrysler stylizes it as HEMI, but for expediency’s sake, we will not) debuted in the 2003 Dodge Ram pickups, featuring a deep-skirt cross-bolted iron block, aluminum heads, overhead valves, 4.46-inch bore spacing, the same bellhousing bolt pattern as the Chrysler LA-series V-8s, coil-on-plug ignition, composite intake manifolds, multipoint fuel injection, and that controversial head design.

Early (2003-2008) 5.7L Hemi heads, top; Eagle heads, bottom

Like the second-generation 426 Hemi, the 5.7L Hemi heads featured opposed valves for a true crossflow design, twin spark plugs, and rocker shafts. The third-generation Hemi did not, however, feature a full hemispherical combustion chamber. Instead, Chrysler’s engineers decided to flatten either side of the combustion chamber to improve combustion efficiency and emissions.

Some might argue that doesn’t make the engines true Hemis, but then again, the Hemi V-8s of yore were massive, heavy engines that cost a lot to machine and that wouldn’t meet modern-day fuel-efficiency or emissions requirements.

David Kimble cutaway illustration of the 5.7L truck engine.

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Four cylinders, two turbos, and the world closed-course speed record: How Oldsmobile proved the Quad 4 – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


In the automakers’ standardized playbook for promoting something new, going after a record—particularly a speed record—is a time-honored tradition. Given that the world land-speed record has for decades now been pushed beyond the reach of anything remotely resembling a production car, that meant from the Sixties onward, car manufacturers and racers have turned to the closed-course speed record.

Which was just what the team behind Oldsmobile’s Quad4 decided to pursue, albeit with a much-modified 900-hp version of the dual overhead-camshaft four-cylinder and a sleek racing body designed by Ed Welburn and refined by aerodynamicist Max Schenkel. Dubbed Aerotech, it’d be piloted by A.J. Foyt. Foyt had previously set the record in 1974 at Talladega and had racing experience in the March 84C chassis on which the Aerotech was based, so he made perfect sense as the driver to reclaim the record from Mercedes-Benz. The Sam Posey-narrated video below goes into detail how GM’s engineers and staff prepared for the record and went about capturing it in August of 1987.

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How do you put a price on the only 1964 Chrysler Turbine available for sale in decades? – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Understandably, it’s hard to put a price on this 1964 Chrysler Turbine for sale on Most of the remaining examples now reside in museums and Jay Leno’s not likely to let go of his anytime soon, so this one – chassis number 991231, which for many years the late Frank Kleptz had in his collection – will likely be the only one we’ll see for sale for quite some time.

What’s more, it remains functional and roadworthy, and would steal the show every time it drove in and started up. Just trying to get a ballpark estimate on it would be a challenge – after all, what other recent sales would one compare it to? Whatever it sells for, here’s hoping it does get out and make the round of shows and public appearances. From the seller’s description:

Today all nine of the legendary Chrysler Turbine Cars remain yet only two are in private hands – one in Jay Leno’s Collection and the other chassis number 991231 is offered here for the first time in over 30 years.Chassis number 991231 is the crown jewel of the Kleptz Collection with the distinction of being the only Chrysler Turbine car available on the open market today. As offered it is in exceptionally well-preserved condition finished in its original metallic bronze paintwork with complementing upholstery all original fittings and fixtures and a host of spares documents and technical information. It is believed that 991231 spent much of its service life on the West Coast performing “VIP duties” meaning it was retained by Chrysler and loaned out weekly to executives sales managers award-winning salespeople and anyone else who Chrysler Corporation thought should experience this wholly unique automobile. Allegedly it was initially slated to be one of two cars donated to the Natural History Museum in LA likely to save on shipping costs back to Detroit. William Harrah approached Chrysler requesting one of the Turbine Cars for his museum and the company obliged giving him 991231 along with a spare engine

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The strange story of how J-586 was – and simultaneously wasn’t – the last Duesenberg Model J built – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


When J-586 took the stage at the 1937 New York Auto Show, nearly everybody involved in getting it there knew the end for Duesenberg grew near. However, few people could tell at the time whether this particular Duesenberg Model J would sound the death knell for the company or whether, more than 80 years later, collectors would even agree whether this or some other ultra-luxe J would become the last production car to carry that fabled name.

Apart from the grille and the sheer size, J-586 didn’t look much like its Model J predecessors. Gone were the curved louvers in the hood sides, the massive headlamps, and enough chrome to blind sunny-day onlookers. Instead, it sported a modern look with skirted fenders, bullet headlamps, smaller wheels, and a wider and lower body, all changes that coachbuilding firm Rollston implemented on the last 10 complete Duesenberg production vehicles as part of a plan to modernize the nearly decade-old Model J.Known among marque enthusiasts as the Model JN, these final 10 cars were “E.L. Cord’s 11th-hour effort” to update the Model J, according to Dennis Adler’s Duesenberg book.

They were also meant to appeal to the richest of the rich, and as the standard-bearer of the Model JN line, J-586 had to look like only something millionaires could afford, the Depression be damned. It sat on the longest production Duesenberg wheelbase of 153.5 inches. Its hood stretched all the way to the base of the windshield, the height of fashion at the time. Its front fenders curled over the wheels and tires, pontoon style, and both sets of fenders tapered to points in a nod to the streamlining futurists.

Described by coachbuilder Rollston as a Convertible Berline, it featured both a fully convertible roof and a disappearing glass partition, making it suitable as an owner-driven or chauffeur-driven car. And, naturally, it boasted a price tag of $17,000, or 20 times the selling price of a new Ford, making it the highest-priced motor car at that year’s New York Auto Show.

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