Tag: Roadtrip

Fourth-gear musings: Thoughts from the road in a long-distance 1981 Plymouth Reliant K – Mark J. McCourt @Hemmings

Fourth-gear musings: Thoughts from the road in a long-distance 1981 Plymouth Reliant K – Mark J. McCourt @Hemmings

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Our K-car-driving friend Joe Petralia has made time to keep us up to date on his adventurous Michigan-to-Arizona trip in a new-to-him 1981 Plymouth Reliant K two-door sedan.

At 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, he shared the above photo and some driving impressions from 3-1/2 days on the road.

The stout 82 horsepower is enough to keep you moving but not enough to get you anywhere real fast. The car actually drives very nicely; it has a great ride and is a fairly tight and well maintained automobile, just by the feel. Even though it has no power options, it’s small, light enough, and a simple-enough car just to drive as-is. The manual steering is not a big deal and the manual transmission shifts smoothly and easily with no issues from the shifter. I have had a couple of these cars in the past, usually with double the mileage; the shifter is usually worn out, sloppy, and it’s generally hard to find first gear. This one, however, feels like it’s brand new: no strange noises, the transmission is tight, the clutch feels good… it did recently have a new clutch cable installed. As far as handling, this car is not going to win any autocross event, but it does feel pretty confident on the road as long as you don’t go over 35-40 mph on a highway exit ramp; she goes around corners ok, but she’s not designed to corner like a sports car. Overall it’s a great little car. It feels no different [to me] now than it did when I was driving them back in the day. Being a 56,000-mile car probably accounts for a lot of that, and this one has definitely had some pretty good maintenance along the way because it’s still tight and drives like it’s fairly new.

Joe has related a couple spots of bother, both pertaining to the car’s cooling system. The first came in the form of a leaking heater core, which manifested in dripping coolant thankfully captured by the passenger floormat.

“Well, like every trip across-country in an old car, something always has to happen,” he reported. “I was doing pretty good on the trip until a wet passenger side floormat in Nashville, Tennessee: leaky heater core! Now before I go into the process of disconnecting and looping the core, I’m going to throw some Bar’s Leaks in it and see if i can get it to tighten up, stop leaking, and continue on driving…”

“Second day on the road: fuel stop on the west side of Tennessee, getting ready to head into Arkansas,” Joe tells us. “So far the Stop Leak is holding up in the heater core, so that’s a good sign. The car’s running and driving real well – no issues, not using any oil, averaging about 25 miles to the gallon. I just made a fuel stop and checked all the fluids… we’re in good shape.”

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For the Curious Wanderer, the Back Roads of Alberta Offer Automotive Treasures and the Chance to Find True North – Steve Swanson @Hemmings

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When you live on a relatively small, wet island, you dream of road trips uncluttered by traffic and cars larger than a size 9 shoe. Pandemics can exacerbate such wistful desires but also prohibit them. In September 2021, North America remained closed to Brits. But then Canada opened its doors. I went north, hoping their love for classic automobiles and the open road matched that of their southern neighbors.

From the west coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, I set out on Highway 1 to head east for the prairie. By day two, I was past Kamloops, the wipers on my competent but uninspiring rental in constant use. So far, Canada was winning on scenery, losing on weather, and sadly lacking in classic cars. GatorBob’s fixed that for me. Of all the anthropomorphic names I expected from a Canadian car dealer, this wasn’t one of them. I was anticipating a Grizzly Pete, or a Beaver Ben, at least a guy called Moose, but Gator

GatorBob’s emporium was a chain link enclosure with a phone number and a Telus e-mail address. I stood on the wrong side of the fence in persistent drizzle, just feet from Highway 1, catching spray from the passing trucks while gazing on the classic machines penned inside. Bob’s predilection was clearly the Sixties to the Eighties, with a leaning toward Plymouth and Chevrolet, and should those cars come equipped with fat rear tires and a nose down stance, well, that was all good. I never got to meet Bob, but I liked his style. His absence allowed me to imagine him rumbling around in a jacked-up Camaro, Def Leppard on the tape deck, scouting back roads for bargain stock.

From this point on the scenery, already impressive, became quite simply stupendous. The highway carved a heady path through dense forest, river valleys and mountain ranges. The ascents challenged the auto box on my rental SUV. Stoic, laden logging trucks hugged the crawler lane, their warning flashers punctuated by the black smoke belches jetting from their exhaust stacks.

Late afternoon I pulled into Revelstoke. Downtown, resting below forested mountains shrouded in mist, blended the feel of a smart village with a kooky, offbeat “Twin Peaks” vibe. I found good coffee, friendly locals, and the railroad museum, losing myself in the story of the Canadian Pacific Railway and its construction. A feat that was both technically fascinating, fiscally exorbitant, and for the railroad workers a tough, inhospitable, and sometimes tragic drama. In 1899 they named the town after the banker that funded the CPR construction. A century later his bank, Barings, was taken down by a single rogue trader.

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It’s the roads, not the vehicle that make the trip worth taking – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com

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This may seem strange coming from someone who has made his living for the past 30-plus years writing about cars, but while working on Our Favorite Roads series, I realized that what makes the trip isn’t the car you’re driving but the roads you’re traveling.
In most cases.
Certainly, there are exceptions. There are roads best-appreciated in a sports car, or at least in a convertible with the top down. There are roads you best not even consider unless you have a serious sport utility vehicle, I’m talking here about the likes of a Jeep Wrangler or Hummer H3 or a Land Rover or at least a 4×4 pickup truck, and perhaps the next-generation Ford Bronco, though that is yet to be determined.
There also are exceptions involving traveling companions and destinations, or in some cases the people awaiting your arrival at your destination make the drive worthwhile regardless of the roadways

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3600 miles behind the wheel of a 1929 Model A on Route 66 -Phillip Thomas @Hagerty

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Phillip Thomas | Hagerty Media Site

Context is everything, right? For modern traffic, Route 66 is a slow, constricted highway, especially when compared to the interstate highway system. For a 1929 Model A, Route 66 is just the right speed.

Just as time and technology ditched the horse for the horseless carriage, those forces eventually bypassed Route 66 for interstate highways. Communities built along the highway withered while the traffic flow was diverted sometimes hundreds of miles away to newly-built freeways. Priorities for infrastructure had changed and no longer supported aging mining towns and farming communities; instead, Eisenhower and his administration sought to funnel the masses and their goods between metropolises with military efficiency.

Among the forsaken, recession-plagued byways of America, Route 66 became a martyr. Its meandering pavement is synonymous with the mystique of the open road, drawing those who crave an unpredictable journey and delight in driving for driving’s sake. One such scenic traveler is Ryan Tebo, who has been rattling and rumbling across from coast to coast in his 1929 Ford Model A for the past two weeks.

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New Hampshire to San Berdoo and back in a 1929 Ford Model A is the antidote to endless Cannonball runs – David Conwill @Hemmings

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It seems like since the pandemic started, everybody with a pack of adult diapers and a fast car is trying to break the Cannonball record. Whether or not that’s a good thing or a bad thing is debatable, but it’s gotten kind of stale. As someone (or multiple someones) once said, the thing about the interstate system is that it allows you to get from coast to coast without seeing a single bit of America in between.Enter Ryan Thibeault, of Strafford, New Hampshire, better known to the internet as Tebo Barn for his gorgeously restored farmhouse and barn which is brimming with vintage Fords (with an emphasis on Model T’s and Model A’s). Ryan, who is a good six decades younger than the 1929 Model A that he’s piloting, is a mechanical engineer who appreciates the antiquated-but-still-effectual machinery Ford turned out in the first half of the 20th century.Probably the most ubiquitous surviving early Ford is a 1929 Tudor, thanks to more than a half million having rolled out of Ford factories. Likewise, with more than four million mechanically similar Model A’s produced, even with almost 90 years of attrition, parts and knowledge are widespread no matter where you are in the United States. That makes it a great choice for Ryan’s trip.

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48 Cars in 48 States – Travis Scanlan of Royboy Productions Massive Road Trip

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Travis’s idea is as follows:

The idea is to take my trusty Galaxie 500 and my new camper “Irene” on a 48 State road trip, in each state I’ll shoot a traditionally styled hot rod, kustom or drag car. At the end of the trip I will create a coffee table book of the entire adventure and hopefully I’ll have added a whole bunch of new members of my rod and kustom family

You can find Travis’s excellent website here on the site you can find details of the trip, Travis’s podcast Chrome Pipes & Pinstripes and his Photography.