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1950 Mercury Eight Convertible Flaunts Bored and Stroked Flathead V8, Impeccable Looks –  Aurel Niculescu – @autoevolution

1950 Mercury Eight Convertible Flaunts Bored and Stroked Flathead V8, Impeccable Looks –  Aurel Niculescu – @autoevolution

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The Mercury Eight series holds the uncanny honor of being the debut line for the upscale Ford division. It was manufactured between 1939 and 1959 over a total of three generations and sat in between the Ford Deluxe (Custom) and Lincoln.

As such, it was produced both before – when it shared its body with the sibling Ford models and after World War II – when it became the first apparition of the new Lincoln-Mercury Division, thus sharing more traits with Lincoln from then on. As such, it is not just a car but also a statement of history.

Anyway, now is your chance to grab hold of it because New York-based Motorcar Classics says it has a classy 1950 Mercury Eight Convertible for sale, with low mileage and a potential craving for best-in-show accolades. Sitting proudly in the dealership’s inventory in classy dark green over tan and dark green attire, the two-door drop-top “has been lovingly refurbished by a late owner.”

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

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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.

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Cummins Diesel Indy Car 1952 – Moviecraft Inc/Goodwood

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Fascinating story of the development and racing of the Cummins diesel race car at the Indianapolis 500 in 1952. Number 28, the Cummins Diesel Special, clocked a qualifying track record that year of 138.01 MPH, using a truck type Cummins diesel engine. What a story! Transferred from a 16mm Eastman Color film, with significant color fade.

At the 1952 Indy 500, Don Cummins entered a diesel-powered race car that was revolutionary for its time. It featured a 401ci (6.6L) 380hp turbocharged diesel engine mounted on its side in a radically low chassis built by Kurtis Kraft. Not only did the 3,100-lb car win the pole position in qualifying that year with a speed of 138.010 mph, it also outran Ferrari’s 12-cylinder race car by nearly 4 mph

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In 2017 number 28 appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

It’s the perfect ecosystem-come-melting-pot, therefore, for something like the Kurtis-Kraft Cummins Diesel Special to sprout. The ‘50s had to be one of the most developmentally lucrative periods in the history of motorsport. The world was shaken, battered and bruised by war, determined to forge better lives for all and blossoming economically as international trade exploded. The pot of cash and hunger for growth that was the bow-wave of post-war recovery swept all industries and with innovative products being produced in unprecedented numbers that needed to be sold, concepts needed to be proven. Where else other than the racetrack does automotive technology prove its chops?

Technical challenges forced innovation. The high centre of gravity that was the 1950 car’s Achilles heel meant that the Cummins 6.6-litre commercial engine had to be laid on its side – the happy side-effect of which was a left-hand weight bias for the left-turn-only machine. It was the first car to race at Indy to feature an exhaust-fed turbocharger, as well as the first car to be tested in a wind tunnel. Driver-activated radiator shutters were developed such that a boost of 18 horsepower could be accrued with their operation. The newly developed layout made it the lowest car on the grid, too. The car was heavy (in spite of a lightweight alloy block) but it was slippery and very powerful with the monstrous lump good for over 400bhp. Cummins had proven the advantages of diesel at Indy before in 1931 when a car went for the full 500 laps without a pit stop. They would move to avenge their fateful 1950 attempt in ‘52 with the game-changing new car. 

Don Cummins had designs on San Francisco’s 32-year-old race ace Freddie Agabashian to pilot but it was a difficult sell. When approached, Freddie was sceptical of the car’s weight and overall competitiveness. On a drive out around Indy with Freddie, Don had a point to prove. He stopped the car, pulled a 5-inch Coca Cola crate out of the boot and set it on the ground outside the car upside down. He gestured for Freddie to sit, following “That’s all the farther you’ll be riding above the pavement in a new roadster”. Convinced of the innovations the new car would bring to the fight, Freddie was sold

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Sources – Moviecraft Inc, Goodwood Road and Racing