Tag: Hemmings Daily Blog

Why didn’t Henry Ford follow through on his 1935 patent for an overhead-camshaft engine? – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Advertisements
Up until the last few decades, overhead-camshaft engines were generally reserved for luxury or high-performance vehicles; pushrods or sidevalves would have to do for the hoi polloi. Yet it appears that at one point in the Thirties, Henry Ford decided it would not only be possible to mass-produce an overhead-camshaft engine, but also make it simple to service and affordable to the general public.

Granted, it’s easy to read too much into Henry Ford’s patent filings from yesteryear, as many of you have pointed out. Ford had the resources to patent just about every idea that came his way, and a lot of ideas came his way via aspiring inventors all over the world hoping Henry would give them their big break. Nor did he see patents merely as patents; rather, he used them as smokescreens for his competition and diversions for his critics, all of whom watched his every step.

But the overhead-camshaft internal combustion engine patent that Ford filed in November 1932 (1993992A) appears a little more straightforward. By this time, of course, overhead-camshaft engines were widely known. Gas Engine Magazine tracked down the earliest OHC patent to 1892, and plenty of automakers – from Marr to Peugeot to Isotta Fraschini to Duesenberg to Stutz – had produced or were about to produce OHC engines by the time Ford filed his patent

Read on

WATCH THIS: the epic tradition of loading a trailer – Dan Stoner @Hemmings

Advertisements
Ah, yes: the trailer.

Much like the trucks we pull them with, you can’t live this life without a trailer. And there are two types of gearheads: those who own trailers and those who borrow/rent/beg/need a trailer. Now, if you’ve been getting the Muscle Machines newsletter in your inbox every Thursday, you know we’re huge fans of the best hot rod shop in the greater Boyertown, PA area, Iron Trap Garage. These guys seem to always be extracting, hosing off, pushing, pulling, lifting, building and driving some of our favorite revival hot rods.

Now, this particular Iron Trap video is really about a ’34 Ford Tudor and a Deuce 5-window that he’d been working the deal on for quite some time. This crowning moment in any hot-rodder’s life was recorded for posterity and, y’know, we couldn’t be more enthralled by the whole thing. This is what dreams are made of, after all: dragging a car into the daylight for the first time in decades so you can see what you just bought, for better or worse. But it’s all fun, no matter the outcome

Read on

Distinctive and luxurious, this 1980 AMC Concord is an unlikely survivor – Terry Shea @Hemmings

Advertisements

If you’re shopping for a well-preserved Corvette or Mercedes-Benz SL, the market’s probably got you covered one way or another. People just don’t ever throw those cars away and most were a second or third car when new, so they largely got taken care of. But, what if your tastes run to something that was, back in the day, just a little different, and, perhaps, not that well received by the marketplace?

Well, have we got something for you.Bid to win this 1980 AMC Concord D/L two-door sedan, currently offered on Hemmings Auctions, and you will surely be taking the road less traveled. Though not truly super rare, this AMC is still a remarkable survivor. Originally purchased by an AMC dealer for his wife, this little sedan seems to have survived so well due to careful ownership, years in the salt-free environs of the Pacific Northwest, and what appears to be an intact layer of undercoating on the rather clean undercarriage.

The Navy Blue finish looks to be in pretty fine shape, as does the partial vinyl roof. Don’t forget to check out that light blue “Sculptured Rochelle Velour” interior, as plush-looking a fabric as American car companies offered at the time, well this side of a buttoned-leather seat, anyway.

Including the carpets, door cards and seatbelts, there’s a whole lotta’ blue going on in this Concord. About the only thing non-standard would be the raised white letter Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires on bare steel wheels. But AMC wheel covers were nothing to write home about in 1980 anyway.Whether you want to call cars on this end of the hobby entry-level or a bargain, most family cars of the era are hardly in the condition this Concord is. And that makes it really easy to appreciate not only the car, but the care and effort that went into keeping it the way it is today.

Read on

EFI for Classics: Proving that electronic fuel-injection can be both easy and affordable – @Hemmings

Advertisements

Gearheads, like much of society, can be slow to embrace change. In the automotive world, advances in technology often mean considerable improvements in performance, and nearly every gearhead can agree that’s an admirable pursuit. But still we resist.
Changes to cylinder head design and camshaft profiles are areas where little input is required from the end user; they’re merely bolted in place and the owner can begin enjoying the benefits almost immediately. Improvements in other areas, such as fuel delivery, can be just as gratifying, but may require more finesse from the installer, or even the services of a tuner who specializes in wringing the last bit of performance from a carburetor.
Throughout much of the history of the internal combustion engine, a carburetor has been tasked with introducing a combustible mixture of air and fuel through an intake tract, and finally to the combustion chamber, where a spark ignites the incoming charge and converts that energy into work through the engine’s pistons, connecting rods, and crankshaft. As engines evolved, so did the manner in which they were fed fuel. But even with design improvements that allowed the carburetor to function in a wide range of conditions, it still remained (as many would refer to it) a calibrated fuel leak

Learning from the best: Mom’s fast-lane driver’s education course – Jim van Orden @Hemmings

Advertisements

Dad taught Mom to drive his Model-T around 1928, and she taught me to drive my 1951 Mercury in 1960. She could shift and drive fast with the best. What a great “driver-ed” instructor. Photos by the author, except where noted.

Remember who taught you how to drive? And the car in which you learned?
Despite freezing cold, I sweated bullets waiting for the light to turn green. Looking in the rearview mirror, the car behind appeared too close for comfort. Would I roll on the steep hill and crush its bumper when I let out the clutch?
Mom, sitting next to me, wasn’t worried.
“Relax and give it some gas,” she suggested. The light turned green, I revved my 1951 Mercury’s flathead, slipped the clutch and pulled away smartly.
“Nice!” she sang with praise. I was proud, too. It was 1960 and this was my first mile of driving. I was so nervous I repeatedly stalled the Mercury. Thanks to Mom, who brimmed with confidence, my nerves calmed with each mile.
“Pull over and let me drive. I want to show you a few things,” she requested.

Anything but a shrinking flower: How codename Daisy, the 2004 Shelby Cobra concept came together – @Hemmings

Advertisements

[Editor’s Note: Chris Theodore’s book, “The Last Shelby Cobra: My times with Carroll Shelby,” released last year, recounts not only the former Chrysler, AMC, and Ford engineer’s relationship with his boyhood hero, but also the development process for the 2004 Shelby Cobra Concept. In this excerpt from the book that Chris provided, we get to see how the concept car, codenamed Daisy, came together.]

Every year in Detroit after the North American International Auto Show, J Mays and I would get together to plan concept vehicles for the next year’s round of shows: LA, Detroit, Chicago, and New York. Mays’ design team would provide suggestions, as did my Advanced Product Creation group. With the success of the Ford GT at the centennial, it was no surprise that a modern Shelby Cobra was at the top of both our lists. We also decided to do a new Bronco and Lincoln Mark X. Mays let Richard Hutting, manager of the Valencia Advanced Design Studio, know that we would be reviewing proposal sketches on our next trip out west – as J and I would pay regular visits to the Irvine and Valencia studios for design reviews. Now that the world knew about Petunia, we decided to call this project Daisy. We intended the codename to be a little tongue-in-cheek and sort of a tease. As J said, it would be “anything but a shrinking flower.” Eventually everyone would know that we were up to something, but not know what. I called it a ‘fan dance’ – the most tantalizing secrets are the one that you know are there, but cannot quite see. In late March, we sent Manfred Rumpel to see Hutting, specifically to explore how to help with the packaging of the Ford GT suspension and a V-10 engine. During one of my weekly program reviews with the SVT team, I mentioned to (O. John) Coletti that I had kicked off Project Daisy

Read on

A universe all its own: How AM General sold the first civilian Hummer – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Advertisements

If there’s one thing the upcoming Hummer EV will share with its internal-combustion forebears, it’s excess. Ridiculous excess. Big ol’ ‘Murican-style keep-it-coming-’til-the-wheels-fall-off excess. After all, what would a Hummer be if it weren’t loaded down with superlatives (not to mention the weight of America’s relationship to fossil fuels)?

Whatever shape this new Hummer will take, however GM will position it, it’ll still have a legacy to live up to – a legacy that, once established in the first Gulf War, became cemented in 1992 when AM General decided to sell a civilian version of the HMMWV.

Read on

White House Mobility – 1909 White Model M – Terry Shea @Hemmings

Advertisements

PRESIDENT TAFT’S 1909 WHITE MODEL M STEAM CAR

I am sure the automobile coming in as a toy of the wealthier class is going to prove most useful of them all to all classes, rich and poor. —William Howard Taft

The American people elected William Howard Taft president in November of 1908, yet before he entered Washington for his inauguration four months later, he lobbied for a small fleet of cars for the White House. Taft’s desire to formally adopt the automobile came across as controversial. His predecessor—and later political rival—Theodore Roosevelt was no fan of cars and considered them dirty and noisy, as did many other people. Of course, Roosevelt, the former cavalry officer, was a noted horseman and favored travel by carriage, his loyalties firmly with the equine. But Taft, who served as Secretary of War under Roosevelt, would have none of it.

Read on 

PRESIDENT TAFT’S 1909 WHITE MODEL M STEAM CAR

Related – Steam Rally at Picket Piece Hampshire

Speedy metal: Metallica’s James Hetfield donates 10 of his custom hot rods to the Petersen – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Advertisements

Speedy metal: Metallica’s James Hetfield donates 10 of his custom hot rods to the Petersen

In the band’s entire 38-year discography, Metallica has mentioned in its lyrics the Great Old One Cthulhu more times than it has name-dropped any automobile brand; its 1997 single “Fuel” seems to be the band’s only acknowledgement of the existence of internal combustion engines.* Yet lead guitarist vocalist James Hetfield may be one of music’s most committed gearheads, as illustrated by the 10-car collection he recently donated to the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Read the article here

Speedy metal: Metallica’s James Hetfield donates 10 of his custom hot rods to the Petersen

Related Now in Print: The Robert E. Petersen Story – Get it from the TRJ Library

Sundancer – 1981 AMC Eagle Sundancer, 1982 AMC Concord Sundancer – Jeff Koch @Hemmings

Advertisements

AMC’S INTERESTING, ILL-FATED EARLY 1980S ATTEMPT AT BRINGING BACK THE CONVERTIBLE, IN TWO FLAVORS: CONCORD AND EAGLE

AMC Sundancers: 1981 Concord & 1982 Eagle

AMC’S INTERESTING, ILL-FATED EARLY 1980S ATTEMPT AT BRINGING BACK THE CONVERTIBLE

The death of the “Great American Convertible” from the mid-’70s through the early ’80s has led to a lot of soul searching, head scratching, and finger pointing over the years. Who pulled the trigger? Who’s to blame? Was it the government publicly mulling over zealous safety regulations? Was it the advances in air conditioning that had made cool, enclosed air more desirable—and cheaper—than sun and a natural breeze? Was it Detroit, which refused to spend the millions tooling for a body style that was shrinking in sales from year to year? And if Detroit stopped making convertibles because of slow sales, wasn’t it really our fault? How did we ever get to a place where convertibles weren’t cool enough to buy?

Read the rest of the article here

RelatedThe last AMC: Jeep’s ZJ Grand Cherokee turns 25, Renault, Chrysler and an Assassination