Tag: hemmings

William S. Knudsen (Big Bill) – Jim Donnelly @Hemmings

William S. Knudsen (Big Bill) – Jim Donnelly @Hemmings

Advertisements

The history of the car business is replete with tales of achievers who clawed their way up from nearly nothing, penniless, to transform themselves through sheer willpower into human dynamos, industrial titans, architects of wealth and (literally) the stuff of dime novels. Imagine, however, undertaking that variety of personal transformation when you not only had to scramble over the everyday obstacles of poverty and ignorance, but on top of everything else, you couldn’t even speak the language.

Such was the challenge faced by the man who became officially known as William S. Knudsen, or more colloquially, whether affectionately or not, as simply Big Bill. At his core, he was no different from the millions of immigrants who flooded into the United States, grasping at a little bit of its dream and promise, as the 19th century melted into the 20th. Knudsen, however, had a more expansive vision. He became a giant in the industry, to excavate a much-used phrase, by serving as the ayatollah of mass production at both General Motors and at the Ford Motor Company. He would also wear stars on his shoulders as a leader of the United States’ armed forces, presiding over his industry’s hugely critical contribution to defeating totalitarianism during World War II. How many other halting steps down a gangplank have ended with so much accomplishment?

Like so many newcomers to this country, Knudsen adopted a name other than the one his parents had originally given him. He was born in Denmark in early 1879 and baptized as Signius Wilhelm Poul Knudsen. He emigrated in 1900, at age 21, from his native Copenhagen and landed like untold millions of others at Ellis Island. When he reached the U.S. mainland, Knudsen managed to find employment at a New Jersey shipyard. When that job ended, Knudsen–who had paid pennies to neighborhood youngsters in New Jersey to give him some instruction in rudimentary English–found work with the great Erie Railroad, repairing steam boilers at its locomotive shops in Salamanca, in southwestern New York. By then, Knudsen’s younger brother was also stateside, and had whittled out a sideline of importing Copenhagen-made bicycles for his own employer, John R. Keim Mills of Buffalo, New York. It wasn’t very far from Salamanca, so Knudsen decided to visit. When he did, Keim offered him a job, too.

A big part of the reason why was that Keim made steam engines, and Knudsen’s experience with the Erie made him an attractive prospect. The firm was one of hundreds across the American industrial belt that were also turning into subcontractors for the young auto industry. Just as one example, Keim hammered out one order of brake drums for the Olds Motor Works. That soon led to an order from Henry Ford for sheetmetal subassemblies such as fenders and fuel tanks.

Clearly, Ford liked the product, because he one day showed up and bought the entire Keim operation outright. By this time, the Model T was in production, and Ford moved rapidly to erect a regional assembly plant in Buffalo. Knudsen, who had exhibited clear and proven capabilities in production planning, was tapped by Ford himself to set up the Buffalo plant and get it into the business of turning out new cars. It was 1911, and Knudsen was only in his 30s, but he immediately proved to Ford that he could rapidly make sense of what even then were highly complicated issues of production and time management. To this day, Knudsen is believed to be the first person to propose spray-painting cars to save both money and time, as well as to ensure consistent quality.

Ford responded to his prodigious ability by bringing Knudsen west to his Dearborn stronghold in 1913. The Model T had already exploded in popularity like nothing else in the history of the still-young American auto industry, and Ford tasked Knudsen with ensuring that demand could be sated by setting up 27 regional assembly plants, something that had been beyond conception in the business up until that juncture. Part of that assignment included building 112 Eagle boats for the Navy in 1917, during World War I. Washington would remember Knudsen’s efficiency at getting it done.

Read on

John Bugas, the man who cleaned Ford of its gangster element – David Conwill @Hemmings

Advertisements

The History of Ford Motor Company is filled with larger-than-life figures, starting with the founder himself and continuing right up through Lee Iacocca. So many characters, as it happens, have cropped up in Dearborn history that some have been unfortunately overlooked to a great extent. John Bugas, better known as Jack, was one of them.

Bugas was one of 10 children born to Austro-Hungarian immigrant Andrej Bugos, who adopted the name Andrew Bugas and served six terms in the Wyoming State Legislature. In addition to politics, Andrew was a serial entrepreneur and a rancher. The family ranch, called Eagle’s Nest, would be John Bugas’ home from shortly after his birth in 1908 until he enrolled in the University of Wyoming.

In college, Bugas was an outstanding athlete. He studied law and supported himself by working jobs as diverse as forest ranger and trucker. Upon graduation, in 1934, he went to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It was the height of the Public Enemies era, and the brave and capable Bugas was a valued asset to the Bureau. In 1938, he was appointed to head the Detroit office. There he would liaison with the auto industry, something the federal government was already viewing as a strategic asset as totalitarian regimes in Europe and the Far East made no secret of their territorial ambitions.

Even as he proved adept at fighting more mundane crimes like kidnapping and bank robbery, Bugas was particularly renowned for the work he did protecting Detroit’s defense plants from espionage. He broke up a Nazi spy ring centered on Canadian socialite “Countess” Grace Dineen, and could boast that no sabotage occurred in the Arsenal of Democracy while he was in charge.

Naturally, Bugas met many of the Motor City’s leading lights at this time. Henry Ford, apparently still fearing that his grandchildren might be kidnapped like the unfortunate Charles Lindbergh Jr., hired away Bugas to work under the notorious Harry Bennett, head of Ford’s euphemistically named Service Department— essentially, a private army answerable only to Henry.

The tough westerner was not overawed by the ex-boxer to whom Henry was so inexplicably devoted, but had been impressed with the cultured, sensitive Edsel, whom he had met before Edsel’s untimely death in 1943. A self-described “Edsel loyalist,” Bugas determined to carry out the younger Ford’s wishes rather than those of the thuggish Bennett.

Read on

Who invented front-wheel drive and why is it so widely used today? – Bill Rothermel @Hemmings

Advertisements

Inventors and engineers had long been intrigued by the idea of front wheels driving a vehicle, imagined in the same manner as horse-drawn carts —in which horses pulled, rather than pushed —the advantages seemed obvious. Placing the weight of an engine over the drive wheels improved traction, while combining the engine, transmission, and final drive in one unit afforded a more compact chassis layout with improved space efficiency.

Though simple in concept, the mechanism necessary to transmit power to the front wheels must also steer the vehicle, which perplexed early developers. Solutions were both complex and expensive. Meanwhile, having the engine power the rear wheels was uncomplicated, so pushing a vehicle, rather than pulling, became the norm for production motor vehicles.

Credit for transferring front-wheel drive from theory to execution goes to Frenchman Nicholas Cugnot, who, in 1769, built a three-wheeled steam-powered carriage. His design pulled goods over the rough and tumble streets of Paris. More than 100 years later, the first gasoline-powered car to use front-wheel drive appears to have been the Lepape. A story unto itself, the Lepape was described in Voitures a Petrole in 1897, and in Petroleum Motor Cars, the English version, one year later. Others were to follow in Europe, a few of which met tremendous success. Those engineers were not alone in experimenting—several Americans were working on it at the same time.

The 1877 Selden, designed by George B. Selden (though in concept only, as one was not constructed until 1902), is considered one of the earliest front-wheel-drive cars in the U.S. It featured a gasoline engine mounted on the front axle that drove those wheels through spur gears. This was followed by the Barrows three-wheeler, built in Willimantic, Connecticut, in 1895; the electric-powered vehicle had a single drive wheel in front. That same year, the electric Morris-Salom competed in Chicago’s legendary Times Herald race. Then, in 1898, Adams-Farwell of Dubuque, Iowa, built an experimental three-cylinder rotary engine (not the same as the much-later Wankel-type) car with front-wheel drive, while a gasoline front-driver called the Pennington Raft was displayed at London’s Crystal Palace by its American promoter E. J. Pennington. (See HCC #193, October 2020.)

Racing may have vilified the front-wheel-drive concept, but Errett L. Cord put it into regular production with his Cord L-29 line, such as this 1931 cabriolet.

Other early marques included the (circa) 1900 Auto Fore-Carriage of New York City; a 1901 Phelps Steam Carriage built in New Brunswick, New Jersey; the 1901 Tractobile Steam Carriage from Carlisle, Pennsylvania; electric broughams built by Healey & Co. of New York circa 1904; and the 1905-’07 Cantono Electric, made in New York City.

The most significant developer of front-wheel drive in America was Walter Christie, who first filed patents in 1904. An engineer known for designing military gun turrets, Christie created a design that featured a four-cylinder engine placed transversely up front with the transmission behind the engine and very short universal (U)-jointed shafts driving the front wheels.

In 1905 he founded the Christie Direct Action Motor Car Company, initially to build taxis. Instead, Christie built seven front-drive race cars powered by two- and four-cylinder engines, as well as V-4s and V-8s, all of his own design. Although the cars had more than 70 percent of their weight over the drive wheels and were known to be beasts to drive, Christie had some racing success.

Read on

Forties technology would make for a perfect 1928 Ford Model A shop truck. Here’s how I’d build it – David Conwill @Hemmings

Advertisements

A Ford Model A roadster pickup like this 1928 Ford Model A roadster pickup (“Open Cab Pickup”) in the Hemmings Classifieds would make a great shop truck or long-distance hauler with just a few period upgrades.

This one caught my attention because it’s nearly identical to the one we have in the Sibley which was once dragged to TROG. I saw it there for the first time, and I’ve harbored ambitions about turning that little pickup into something with a bit of 1940s flavor ever since. Talking to Jeff Koch about his plans for his family’s 1931 coupe re-energized my appreciation for Ford’s 1928-’31 masterpiece and the myriad ways people have found to improve them since. Jeff wants to walk the line between hot rodding and touring using some newer equipment, but left to my own devices, I’d always hew closer to how Ford developed its cars from 1928 to 1948. It’s a good lesson for making any ’20s car a better driver without sacrificing the vintage experience.

Although the Hemmings pickup is the one I see most often, any ’28 or ’29 would fit the bill. It’s mere coincidence that this one is also a Commercial Green (Rock Moss Green? Something like that) 1928 model. The Hemmings truck is somewhat rarer as it is an early 1928 with the slightly nicer looking splash aprons and the hand brake near the door, Model T-style. Supposedly, Pennsylvania didn’t permit the early design, hexing a big potential market for Ford. I seem to recall the objection was that the hand brake was used to set the rear-wheel service brakes, but PA required separate systems for emergency/parking brakes and service brakes.

No matter, all those interesting old parts, new design or old, could be removed and preserved someplace after a proper pickling/mothballing. In their place would go the best of early 1940s technology, starting with 12 x 2-inch hydraulic drum brakes, front and rear. Up front, I’d go with new Lincoln-style units from Bass Kustom and in back, Ford-type brakes, as they’re somewhat easier to retrofit to an early axle. The Lincoln units have the advantage that Ford chose to license Bendix’s self-energizing technology for its up-market brand, whereas regular Ford and Mercury cars stuck with the Chrysler-Lockheed type through 1948.

The original axles and Houdaille shocks, if in good condition (and the listing says the little pickup has only “88 miles since completion” of a “complete frame-off restoration,” so they ought to be) can stay. If not, there’s always longtime Hemmings advertiser Apple Hydraulics. If my planned tires (which I address below) look a little lost under the fenders, a reverse-eye front spring is a good way to get the nose down slightly without resorting to dropping the front axle

Four-million Ford owners can’t be wrong. The 200.5-cu.in. Model A four-cylinder was a solid, dependable unit that saw millions through the Depression and World War II. The basic design stayed in production for years and fitting one with pieces developed in the Thirties and Forties improves them further still.

I’d ideally give this shop truck a touring-grade Model A engine with a balanced crank and pressurized oiling, but retain the poured bearings. Some of those upgrades may already be present on what is supposed to be a fresh, low-mileage engine, but if not, it would be a good canvas to add them. With a solid foundation to rely on, I’d add performance with a Model A police-service 5.5:1 compression cylinder head (marked with a cast-in B; actual Model B engines got heads marked with “C.” Very confusing) or a cast-iron Winfield head for as close as I could get to 6:1 compression (poured bearings get cranky when you go higher than that); single downdraft carburetor on an aftermarket intakeModel B camshaft and either a Ford Model B distributor or the upgrade unit produced by Mallory for many years in place of the manual-advance Model A unit; and the Duke Hallock-designed exhaust header I had wanted for my late, lamented Model T.

You could probably run this fairly mild engine against the original un-synchronized three-speed, but it would really up the ease of driving if you followed Ford’s route and adapted a V-8 gearbox with synchronizers on second and third gears. The 1932-‘34 Ford Model B used a trans behind its 50hp four-cylinder that was internally the same as the V-8 models but used a different case. Now, you can put any 1932-’48 Ford passenger-car transmission or 1932-’52 light-truck three-speed behind a Model A engine using an adaptor from Cling’s. The pinnacle of early Ford V-8 transmission technology is widely agreed to be the nice-shifting ’39-’52 Ford floor-shift three-speed (exclusive to trucks from 1940-on) containing ’46-’48 Ford passenger-car or close-ratio Lincoln-Zephyr gears in order to mate with the enclosed driveline.

Read on

The night of 1,000 Mustangs takes over Detroit for unveiling of seventh-generation pony car – William Hall @Hemmings

Advertisements

Wednesday night’s reveal of the 2024 seventh-generation Ford Mustang kicked off the Detroit Auto Show in dramatic fashion. Not only did it introduce a new, sleek evolution of the iconic pony car in a festival setting at Hart Plaza, but it reset the standard for future vehicle introductions, particularly at the North American International Auto Show.

The lead up to the reveal was more than two weeks long, with the popular The Drive Home to The Mustang Stampede bringing at least one example of each of the six generations of Mustangs “home” to Detroit, along with a camouflaged seventh-generation prototype driven by the S650 Product Development Launch Leader Marty Mosakowski. Crossing more than 3,400 miles from its start in Tacoma, the tour invited Mustang enthusiasts from all across America to drive with the group for an hour, a day, or a week. Some diehard Mustang fanatics logged 1,000 miles or more to be a part of this historic event.

Mustangs from all eras filled the parking lot at Ford’s World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, for a sprawling Mustang lovefest prior to a police-led procession downtown for the reveal. Per Ford’s suggestion, many owners showed up in period costume, with the Sixties and Seventies styles most popular.

Joining the fun was the Allen family from Kansas City, Missouri. Sean Allen had owned a 1996 Mustang in college, and had been following the coverage of The Drive Home here on Hemmings. At 11 a.m. the previous day, he and his wife Caroline decided to have an adventure, and loaded up their seven kids – Israel, Carrianna, Olivia, Emily, Deborah, Sophia, and young Jackson – into their “Bustang GT” Ford Transit van, determined to catch up to our group. They arrived at 1 a.m. in Auburn, Indiana, only to find one hotel room available, prompting Sean to sleep in the van overnight. Arriving more than 750 miles later in Dearborn with their Transit playfully painted-up, the photogenic family quickly became one of the media darlings of the event.

Read on

Charles E. Sorensen –  Jim Donnelly @Hemmings

Advertisements

Not many history books put it this way, but the history of the 20th century in the United States is writ most boldly when its advances in technology are tallied. Chronologically, the first to come along was the widespread availability of low-cost steel with high tensile strength. As the century progressed, you could add rural electrification, pharmaceuticals, plastics, jet power, television and the Internet. Every one of those advances fundamentally changed the way people conducted their daily activities. Obviously, so, too, did the rise of the automobile and the industry that produced it.

By that measure of technological advance as history, Charlie Sorensen was one of the century’s most pivotal individuals. A great early acolyte of Henry Ford, Sorensen was as much a hands-on architect of the company’s rise to global proportions as old man Henry was the face behind its products. He perfected Ford’s ability to build increasingly complicated cars cheaply and in tremendous quantities. Those production techniques were successfully adapted to military materiel during World War II, and later co-opted by Japan. The significance of what Sorensen achieved as Ford’s production boss outlived him, and will probably outlive all of us, too.

Charles Emil Sorensen was Denmark’s other major contribution to the early U.S. auto industry– the better-known Danish export was William K. “Big Bill” Knudsen, who also had a memorable run at Ford. Sorensen was born in 1881, and arrived in the United States with his family four years later. He was apprenticed as a foundry worker at the Jewett Stove Works in Buffalo before the family moved on to Detroit. Once there, Sorensen found a job with Ford as a patternmaker, by all indications hired by Henry Ford himself. That was in 1904. Within three years, he was chief of patternmaking for Ford, as the company readied the Model T for its production launch.

It’s a misconception that Sorensen headed Ford’s production from the start, although he was unquestionably the most influential production manager in the company’s existence. As the Model T rolled out in 1908, Sorensen was actually second-in-command to Ford’s then-production chief, Edward Martin. Possessed of a temper that could be reasonably compared to a nuclear warhead, Sorensen transfixed the workforce. That appealed to Henry Ford.

While the exact roles played in that era’s history are not completely transparent, it’s clear that Sorensen was among the first Ford managers to demonstrate a straight, moving assembly line at the Piquette Avenue assembly plant. The subsequent Highland Park plant was designed by noted architect Albert Kahn around those principles. In his memoirs, Sorensen said that he also worked up figures demonstrating that the Model T could be built so quickly and cheaply that Ford would outgrow Highland Park within a few years, and make a fortune even while paying Ford’s stunning five-dollar daily wage. Old man Ford liked that, too. Better still, Sorensen’s projections were accurate.

Read on

Seventh-generation Mustang prototype leads The Drive Home road trip to its official debut – William Hall @Hemmings

Advertisements

No road trip really becomes official until you have a few hours of driving under your belt. So while Tuesday night’s cruise-in kickoff at the LeMay-America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, was the official start of America’s Automotive Trust and the North American International Auto Show’s The Drive Home to The Mustang Stampede, it wasn’t until our 8 a.m. fire-drill start from Yakima that our trip began in earnest.

A contingent of Yakima-area Mustang owners had driven over the pass to the Tacoma launch party to escort us back to their home town. One of them was Captain Jeff Pfaff of the Yakima Fire Department in his white 2012 Boss 302. Captain Jeff left word with his colleagues at the Yakima Police Department, who put our hotel parking lot on their overnight patrol, allowing for a measure of comfort in our short sleep. Jeff is also a co-founder of Cars, Chrome and Coffee in Yakima, an inclusive event with emphasis on turning out young car enthusiasts. As we are finding out, passionate and helpful Mustang guys are all across this country.

Yakima Fire Captain and Mustang enthusiast Jeff Pfaff stops by for a morning chat.Photo by the author.

Joining us on the trip is one representative of each of the six generations of Ford Mustangs, along with the yet-unreleased Gen 7 car, wearing a thick armor of skunk works camouflage vinyl and prosthetics. Designed with a fair amount of science involved, the wrap was tested at Ford’s wind tunnel at 150 mph. The mimicked porthole opera windows, a nod to the iconic 1955 Thunderbird, were just the S650 production team having some fun.

The interior of the car is cloaked as well, and none of us are allowed inside. We get it. Keeping secrets has been a problem on the Gen 7 rollout, Ford’s biggest and most anticipated in years. First, pictures of the gauge cluster and interior were caught by Dearborn paparazzi, and images of the front end hit the internet. Then, the reveal at the Detroit Auto Show as leaked. “We’ve fired five people over this,” said S650 Launch Leader Marty Mosakowski. “Three (breaches) were accidental. Some engineers had to pull over in a Kroger parking lot to gather analytics, and raised up the cloak on the dash, and pics were snapped by industry spies. Two other in-house guys purposely took photos of the front end, and were caught on camera at our facility. Two hundred and fifty engineers attended a mandatory ‘stand down’ meeting, where camouflage policy was discussed and disciplinary actions reinforced. Secrecy has been a top priority on this project.

Read on

R

How I staved off the “inevitable” alternator swap for my Corvair by fixing my broken generator – David Conwill @Hemmings

Advertisements
Cleaned, repaired, and reinstalled. There’s no need to abandon a perfectly functional generator.

If you own a car with a generator, odds are somebody has walked up to you at some point while you’ve got the hood open and asked, “You ever think about doing an alternator swap?”

Well, of course you have—every time a car-show or gas-station expert has offered his or her unsolicited wisdom on the state of your car’s electrical system. If you’re like me, the reason you’ve never decided to swap to an alternator boils down to three reasons: 1) the generator works fine with the existing and planned electrical loads of your car; 2) an alternator is really going to harsh the period look of the engine bay; and 3) why change something that doesn’t really need changing?

My 1962 Corvair was designed and built with a generator, and it still has one (although, as I learned, not the one it was born with). Corvairs from 1965 to 1969 came with alternators (“Delcotrons” in period GM speak). Thus, it’s not that hard to put an alternator on an Early Model Corvair, and when one of the ears on the front end frame of the generator broke off this spring, I contemplated it.

This 1962 Spyder, a recent Hemmings Auctions car, has undergone an alternator swap. A fine change, but one that compromises the “1962” character of the engine bay.

The swap would have involved not only a Corvair-style alternator (which rotates in the opposite direction from most and requires at least a special cooling fan and pulley), but the 1965 to 1969 adapter plate to mount it to the 1962 block, a regulator change, and some wiring modifications. But why? I suppose there’s some weight savings (but I’m neither a racer nor that fuel-economy minded), there’s better charging at idle speeds (but I don’t live in the city or do anything where I’m idling a lot), and there’s the potential for increased amperage delivery (like up to 100 amps, but I don’t have any non-stock electrical additions to the car, and the wiring is probably only designed to handle maybe 65 amps anyway).

No, I decided that because my generator had always generated just fine (and, in fact, even once it was flopping around due to the broken ear, though it continued to do its job, just more noisily), I would simply repair the broken ear and reinstall it. Of course, that wasn’t as simple as it sounds.

Initially, I contemplated epoxying the ear back onto the end frame. Candidly, that might have been the best option, but then a friend who is an expert welder said he could stick the metal back together properly for me. That sounded less rinky-dink than epoxy, so I said okay and tore the generator down so I could send just the end plate for repair. Unfortunately, my friend changed jobs and lost a lot of his free time.

On April 21, I discovered that one of the ears had broken off the front (drive) end frame.

Read on

A rare and stylish 1941 Buick Super Convertible Phaeton has led a charmed existence – Mark J McCourt @Hemmings

Advertisements

When Mr. Wiley ordered his Convertible Phaeton from Illinois’ Bauer Buick in the fall of 1940, he selected a newly released, short-run “Spring Color” hue, his chosen warm, terracotta-like Sienna Rust body paint a striking contrast to the rich green leather inside. The open-top four-door Super was built in Flint in February 1941 and delivered through the suburban Chicago dealership in late March or early April. Over the next 80 years, it would have four additional long-term owners, two of whom preserved it for the latest, who then returned it to its prewar glory.

“I found this car in 2004, in Wisconsin,” Michael Stemen remembers. “The ad said, ‘Very original; one of 467; runs, drives; last of the four-door Buick convertible sedans.’” The avowed marque enthusiast, then living in New York’s Catskill Mountain region, called upon an Illinois-based friend in the Buick community to inspect the Model 51-C on his behalf; upon learning of its high level of originality, Michael negotiated the purchase and set the Phaeton on the road to restoration.

General Motors had discontinued Cadillac’s junior La Salle division for 1941, leaving Buick room to expand its territory both within the GM hierarchy and in the marketplace. The Super line hit a sweet spot for affluent middle-class buyers, representing a distinct step up from the wide range of Series 40 Special models. The lowest-production Series 50 body style was this Convertible Phaeton, whose $1,555 list price —just $6 less than that year’s average yearly salary—represented around $30,415 in today’s money.

Mr. Wiley’s six-passenger convertible was one of two open four-doors the automaker offered that year, the second being the $1,775 Series 70 Roadmaster that rode on a 126-inch wheelbase, 5 inches longer than that underpinning his Super. These Convertible Phaetons represented the final appearance of a type that dated back to Buick’s touring cars of the early 1910s. While the body style moved upmarket through ensuing decades, the Phaetons built for 1941 still used manually operated folding Haartz cloth roofs, rather than the vacuum-actuated tops enclosing both Series’ flagship two-door Convertible Coupes. Our feature car’s first owner selected a complementary tan top, the color of which was echoed in the optional cream-pinstriped, Prairie Tan painted road wheels.

Read on

You don’t find such nice plaid seats in anything but a perfectly preserved 1976 Chevrolet Vega Kammback station wagon – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Advertisements

While it’s a tremendous and important job preserving noteworthy cars—the kinds of cars that get magazine covers and that twirl on the dais at car shows—it’s perhaps equally important from an anthropological view to preserve the everyday cars that, for the most part, get driven into the ground and rarely get restored due to lack of aftermarket support. This 1976 Chevrolet Vega Kammback station wagon listed for sale on Hemmings.com falls into the latter category, kept pretty close to pristine over the years thanks to its Texas upbringing, its decades-long rest in a barn, and a couple preservationists dedicated to cleaning it up and putting it back on the road but leaving as much original equipment on the car as possible. From the seller’s description:

This 1976 Chevy Vega Kammback Estate is truly one-of-a-kind. The car has a Dura-Built 140 4 cylinder engine paired to a 5-speed manual transmission. The car has 34,790 original miles, almost all from the first owner (I have put about 500 miles). After the original owner drove it around Amarillo, Texas for about 9 years (1976-1985), it was sold to an individual who stored it in a barn where it stood untouched for 36 years (1985-2020) with little humidity and no sun light (and luckly no mice!?). I bought it from the person that rescued it in August of 2020. He proceeded to make some repairs (new battery, tires, shock absorbers, spark plugs and wires, and a new exhaust system, among other items), He also cleaned, waxed and buffed the original paint (he specializes in classic car paint), which is in excellent condition. The car has no rust.

When I bought it, it had a couple of scratches along the faux wood trim on both doors, which I repaired, and replaced the entire original factory-installed faux wood trim with the same 3M material used originally. I then proceeded to make 30+ additional repairs to bring the car to its original best. These included among others the following: New radiator, heater core, hoses, brakes, engine mounts, air filter & casing, hood release cable, valve cover gasket, outside mirrors, A/C vents, arm rests, radio & speakers, door rubber gasket seals. All fluids where changed, engine was detailed and undercarriage cleaned. Engine and carburetor were fine tuned. It passed emission tests in Colorado.

Read on