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Why I missed another VHRA Show.

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Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:29 pm

My work dictated that I had to be somewhere else, so for the second year, I’ve missed the VHRA show.  However, Gio thought the story of why and how that came to be may be of interest and he suggested I should post it up here.
 
Friday Jan 10th I boarded the big A380 airbus and headed east at 08:00am the following day I looked out my hotel window and this was the view.





My first morning in Detroit doesn't look too good and strong wind with minus 52 degree wind-chill, made it unsafe. 
 
It was so cold any exposed skin starts to burn almost instantly, I know this because I thought the hotel concierge was pulling my leg when he said i shouldn't go outside.  The skin beneath six layers of clothing takes a few seconds more before it too starts to burn.  The concierge wasn't kidding, news reports were that 8 people froze to death this day in Detroit.
 
It was so cold any exposed skin starts to burn almost instantly, I know this because I thought the hotel concierge was pulling my leg when he said i shouldn't go outside.  The skin beneath six layers of clothing took only a few seconds to feel the bite of that icy wind.  The beard also proved problematic when exposed, as the snowflakes get stuck in it and the whole shebang freezes, not very nice. 
 
Lips and any other exposed and/or moist surfaces of the body just freeze and crack apart.  Take your gloves off for a few seconds and the skin on the back of your hands dries out and cracks up too.  Another word for snow is 'humidity', AKA water, in this case, frozen water and the cold air just freezes anything moist.  However, my bride did equip me with special hand warming devices that she got from a ski shop.  They look like silicon breast implants (yup, much better than pocket billiards  ) with a strip of metal floating in the solution.  Bend/crack the metal and the chemical reaction causes the solution in the bags to get nice and warm, so the gloves can come off and your fingers are nice and happy so long as one keeps one’s hands in one’s pockets, or for about an hour.
 

The concierge wasn't kidding when he said it was dangerous to venture outside, 8 people froze to death this day in Detroit.  In fact the papers/TV News reported many deaths  each day we were there, very sad.  There’s so many homeless people with no prospect of employment in Detroit that it’s become an extremely scary place.  Worse than New York or Chicago ever were, because these folks are not just homeless, they are angry because of how they became so.  If you wander into the wrong part of town, they won’t just mug you, some are likely to just kill you for your clothing, wallet and any other possessions you have on you.  Many houses in what look like affluent middle class neighborhoods are boarded up, likewise the inner suburbs look like a war zone and many buildings in the downtown area are deserted.  I would have loved to visit some of the old car factories and related buildings/landmarks as I have done on previous visits, but it’s so dangerous in those places you cannot get a taxi or limo driver to take you there.  We even got ticked off for crossing the road out front of the Motor Show Venue, Cobo Hall (in the heart of downtown precinct) to have lunch in a little café that I know offers better food than the junk style stuff at the motor show.  The cop who stopped us on the crosswalk said that dressed in business suits as we were, we may as well just paint a target on our foreheads.  I figured we were OK by way of safety in numbers, guess I’ll think twice next time.

Same day 11:00am, much better, so time to venture outside and head for the Henry Ford Museum



So how did we eventually escape the extreme cold of Detroit?  
Driving north to Toronto in Canada seemed like a good idea at the time, yeah, let's go where it's even colder!   Shocked 



So cold it was, that water froze in fire hydrants and a couple of houses burned down whilst firefighters used large butane torches to try and get it flowing. 



Parking was a snap, moving on required a shovel.



However I did finally prove I really can walk on water, by strolling across the surface of this is normally fast flowing river (Note: I'm standing in the middle to take the photograph).



Finally, after many cancelled flights, I made it to St Louis, where the air eventually got warm enough that we could venture outside and do stuff.



Mrs Carps sent me a text to say it was 106 in Melbourne that day.
So I grabbed the thermometer from the garage wall took it outside and sent her this picture which shows the ambient temperature the same day in St Louis.




She sent me another one word text in reply B-A-S-T-A-R-D, but she calls me that all the time so I'm used to it.
After heavy snow during the night, it dropped below -20 the following day, with a windchill around minus 45.


I will never again complain about the cold in Melbourne on a winters day, EVER!


Last edited by Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:47 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:34 pm

I was a bit bummed because the Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford was closed, due to the bad weather, likewise the Rouge Plant tour was a bit less than comprehensive because there was nothing on the production lines as they'd stopped.  Again as a result of the bad weather and parts not being able to be delivered.  However, just to take a trip through the legendary Rouge River Complex is always worth the price of entry.

So it was the Museum where I spent much of the day.  For those who don't know, this isn't a car museum, but a museum of modern American history, much of it focussed on the industrial revolution, generation of power and the tools of industry that power made operate.
It truly is an amazing place, where you'll see things that do not exist anywhere else in the world.

Stuff like this.  Yes folks this is the very first production Ford V8, engine number 1.



Here's the brass ID tag still attached……….



But I digress, let's first check out the building from the entrance pathway that leads from the front gates of the property.





The building itself is huge and the display area bigger than any single building used for shows or exhibitions in Australia.  It even has it's own railway, but more on that later.

The view to the right of the tower.



To the left of the tower.



A portion of the left side facade…



The building had to be big, because Henry's collection included not only the biggest steam engine ever built, but an entire house, designed and constructed by a visionary of 1920s architecture and construction and a whole bunch of really big machinery.



This is one of only two of these homes that was ever built, reconstructed from the remains of both.



The kitchen.



Living area.



The building itself.



The transport side includes this genuine old stage coach, complete with a few bullet and arrow holes, it has a most interesting history and was still in use when Henry built his first car..



Speaking of Henry's first car, it's in the museum, along with his first race car and a few other things that may be of high interest to some of you.  However, I love the sign they have with old #1.



The also have the shop front neon from the very first McDonald's store.



The chair Abe Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated.



The bus that started a revolution when a black lady refused to stand for a white man.  The story is of one balsy lady and she died only last year of old age.



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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:35 pm

OK all you wieners,line up over here.





This old steam engine is big, but don't travel on rails.








This one is older.







Many of us as kid's had a small one of these.



Some of them in the museum are connected to electrical generators.





Sometimes they even crank one or two of the big machines into life.



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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:35 pm

The Ford museum houses a fine collection of furniture and consumer goods from many periods in time.

















Yup, even back in the day, folks had stuff custom made to suit some weird tastes.



However, unlike most museums, the Henry Ford also has the machines that were used to make all the things on display.








A giant belt sander.



This one automatically carves and slots the hub for wagon wheels.



This one has an automatic program on the big disc that allows it to carve a perfect duplicate set of spokes one piece at a time.



It wouldn't be the Henry Ford Museum without one or three clocks.



This machine would fit in a shoebox and makes intricate watch parts.



And for a little taste of what is to be seen in the Greenfield Village, here's a complete shoe factory, the business owner and his two workmen would make sixty pairs of shoes each day in this tiny factory that's not much bigger then a single car garage.  The workers would earn 2 cents for each pair they completed..



Here's the furnace and boiler that provided the power to operate the machines.



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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:36 pm

The Ford Rouge Plant is completely self contained, everything needed is created on site, including electricity, which was once generated by huge coal fired steam generators.  


Yup, teams of men worked flat knacker all day in attrocious conditions shovelling coal into the boiler of these things to keep them going, nice work if you can get it.  Not!.



In the late 20s, those machines were phased out and replaced with much more efficient gas fired steam driven generators.





These machines are enormous, about 150 feet long and 60 or more feet high.





Two steam powered pistons drove a single huge generator.







I think the electric motor is driving a pump to provide consistent water pressure to the boiler.



There's even a spare con rod, just in case one broke, or otherwise wore out.





I'd love to have had time to learn what all the levers and too dads do.


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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:37 pm

When you consider some of the machines in the museum are close to 200 years old, that does make you wonder at the tallent of the engineers who designed them and the machinists & fabricator who built them.

Here's a few more steam powered electricity makers.

They call this one The Gothic Generator, it's big and mounted to a huge cast iron frame..



This one is another early General Electric unit.



This one didn't drive a generator, but instead a huge belt went up into the factory roof to drive a series of shaft mounted pulleys which in turn were connected to machines throughout the factory.



As you can see, it's been set in motion so we can all see & hear how it works.
Estimated power at 2500 rpm is around 400hp more than adequate to operate a large number of machines on the factory floor.



More precision engineered do dads.



We also know that as a farm boy, Henry was motivated to make machines to help ease the farmer's workload.

This is his first ever tractor.



Pretty agricultural (pun intended) but it got the job done and was much moire versatile than a steam traction engine.



Four cylinder power plant was mounted transversely in the middle of the chassis.



This was his next tractor project, 



This joint venture prototype has kind of a familiar look.



And the rest as they say……. is history!



What's cool about these machines is that are the original prototypes from the hands of Hank and his crew, not restored mass produced machines touched by ten million others.

Up the road a aways, another clever engineer found a solution to yet another challenge.



The international Harvester Company, went front this…………



to a horseless milk delivery wagon.



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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:40 pm

The inside of the museum building is as impressive as outside, this hallway runs the full length across the front.



Stairwell in the tower.



Along the corridor/hallway are window boxes, with additional information about museum displays.





There's also a large collection of antique dolls and doll houses.



There are displays depicting homes and household trends across the decades.



I guess in deference to the weather, the collection of wood heaters is also significant, in that almost every American home had one at some point and for many it was a means of survival during the cold winter months.



Most of these cast iron lifesaver are works of art in their own right.









The rail display also includes this large scale, somewhat toy like model train layout.



There's also a large city scape built entirely from Lego blocks.







Back in the farm machinery area, there's also a number of original unrestored horse drawn wagons.





And…….

A tractor named Bryan.





Plus others that are more familiar…….



Or not, as the case may be.



And when it's time for lunch, you may choose to eat at the Oscar Mayer cafe, which of course serves hot dogs, or any of the other cafes through ought the complex, including this genuine trolley car diner, located in the automobile section.





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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:41 pm

Since America was opened up and built of the back of steam power, there's also a few trains in this museum.





The sign on this one says it's the oldest functioning train engine known.



This one was used by presidents.



This one should have been outside earning it's keep.



These were just cool.







And these old carriages, likewise.













These are the detail shots, these things are works of art.







This one is kinda large int it?  But it's not the biggest train ever built, only second biggest.
However it is the most powerful steam train ever created.



And like every other machine in this place, it is in perfect working order.













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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:42 pm

A few clever boffins had worked out that hot air rises and there were gasses lighter than air that would achieve the same effect when pumped into a huge balloon.  That effect was, to lift a container filled with people into the air and use air currents to manoeuvre the device, albeit not quite with the same level of control or accuracy as a bird.

Meanwhile, brothers Orville and Wilbur figured there was a better way and continued to develop their theories of aerodynamics for sustained, controllable flight using a fixed wing deigned from the knowledge they had gleaned from birds.  
All they needed was a means to get their winged device moving fast enough that the air pressure under the wings would lift their flying machine into the sky.

The advent of the automobile and it's internal combustion engine provided a damn near perfect solution to their problem and on a cold morning long ago, their machine did indeed lift itself off the ground and fly!



Soon, every man and his dog was trying to build a better flying machine.
And Henry was not going to be left out, here's his model T for the air!



When his X engine proved unworkable for a car, the concept wasn't trashed, it was adopted by the aero industry and evolved into the radial engine which was perfect for aircraft use.
Before long, automobile engines were no longer used in aircraft as the fly boys now had their own high powered and built for purpose power-plants.



It didn't take long for the value of aircraft as a military tool to become obvious and that could also be used to speed up delivery of mail dropping it into remote places where cars and even horses could not venture.  
Before long people started paying to be taken as cargo on the mail delivery planes.

Figuring there was a buck to be made, old Hank got some corrugated iron sheets and set about building his own passenger aircraft, the famous or infamous as the case may be, Ford Tri-Motor.



But air travel wasn't cheap, so only the very rich could afford it…………



……….and they didn't much like it anyhow.  Read the sign above the Tri-Motor seats to understand why.



It took many years, but eventually the Douglas Aircraft Company came up with this…………  The Douglas Cruiser or DC range of passenger aircraft.
They were fast, comfortable and most importantly reliable, you can still see the occasional DC3 flying out of many aiports around the world.




And once again, there was no looking back and today, air travel is no more difficult than catching a bus.   Heck, they even call them air busses, but contrary to what some obsolete politicians may believe it takes more skill than a drover's dog to fly one.

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:43 pm

The automobile section of the museum isn't about the cars, more-so what the car did for America and Americans, so whilst it would be silly for the Henry Ford Museum not to have this car on display,
it's not about Henry's cars unless those cars played a significant role in history.

Unlike the car in the Melbourne Museum, this is the real deal, the world's only original and genuine Ford Quadracycle.



Henry's first car!





Here's the first Ford Race Car, which was so scary and powerful that Henry hired a bicycle racer to drive it instead of himself, even tho he had a good record as a race driver.  
Barney Oldfield did not know how to drive and learned by racing this car, he also became very famous as a result.



The Miller Ford V8s did not win at Indianapolis, but they did make a point.



That point was something to do with innovation and this little Ford turned the Indianapolis race upside down by being the first lightweight rear engined car to win the famous race.  
Here's a little known bit of history, the Lotus team gopher that year, was an unknown Canadian kid by the name of Allan, who would later become famous racing Fords in Australia.



Of course there are one or two of these in various guises and states of completion throughout the museum, but again they don't dominate, they are just there, because if it wasn't for these cars, the Museum might not exist.  
And let's face it, there's never been a more significant or influential automobile in the history of the world.



For those who wish to try their hand, there's even a model T assembly line interactive display in the manufacturing hall, where you can test to see if you're good enough to earn $5.00 per day working on  Henry's moving production line.



When this engine design didn't work,……….



……Henry went back to the drawing board and figured out how to do what nobody else had been able to do, cast a V8 cylinder block in one inexpensive piece.  Here's the very first test casting!



However, as I said it's about what the car did to change the world……



First and foremost it provided the means for folks to go where they wanted, when they wanted.



It created entire new industries…



And a new way of relaxing after a hard weeks work.









Motorised trucks meant you no longer had to live near a rail head to establish a business or receive freight.





Who had the Dinky version of this rig as a kid?  
I still have mine complete with two trailers.



Inner city public transport no longer required rails as the omnibus could take you wherever you needed to go.



Including to school.



And for you MOPAR fans a DeSoto Fireflite..




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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:44 pm

This is  part of a display that snakes through the automobile section of the museum, depicting key points in the evolution of the car from the beginning to now, but I'll come back to that.



Since you've noticed them, I guess it's time to show some of the hot rods and other competition vehicles on display.  



This one is a recent addition to the collection.



Here's Ohio George' Montgomery's famous Willys 77.



All the cars on display have been chosen for their uniqueness or the significant role they played back in their day.
Like beating Ferrari at LeMans after Enzo rejected Ford's offer to buy his company because, according to Enzo, "Ford builds agricultural machinery and has no clue how to build a thoroughbred sports car."
I guess Henry forgot to tell that to the guys he hired to build the sports car in this picture.



This was the first hot rod in the collection, it remain as purchased back in the early sixties.



This one also has a Hemi, one of my favourite MOPAR products.



There's also a traditionally styled custom, just to make sure all the bases are covered.



Indy cars old,……



….. middle aged…….



And modern.



Dirt trackers……



….. to salt racers.




There's at least one or two examples of 'em all here.

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:57 pm

The display of presidential vehicles also proves that maybe the mseum's curator has a pretty droll sense of humour.

The display starts with Ronald Regan's Lincoln……



John Kennedy's Lincoln.  Yes this is the same car in which he was shot and it was later used by both LBJ and Nixon.



Eisenhower's Lincoln….



Roosevelt's Lincoln…….



and 
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wait for it.
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Lincoln's carriage!


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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:59 pm

These are the cars on the 'history road' display, I'll try and put them in order from oldest to newest.



The world's first mass produced car.















This one is labeled as the first VW to arrive in America.








The last car in the line, is a Toyota Prius and you all know what that looks like.

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:04 pm

Here's some of the more unique vehicles…..

Around 1904, hardware merchant James Packard complained to his car's builder (Winton) about it's unreliability and poor quality only to be told by the manufacturer, "if you think you can do better, why don't you build your own damned car!" and the rest became legend before it was left to history. The first Packards instantly proved themselves by being both swift and reliable enough to consistently win motoring challenges, no matter how tough.  Packard was the first car maker to build a proving ground and test his cars for durability and reliability before sending them to market.  In fact the Packard story is quite incredible in a similar but completely different way to Ford's.



I should make this part a test to see who can correctly identify each car.



A pair of spectacular failures, both for different reasons.



One of the success stories.



Another short lived make, economical and versatile with a wide model range.







A pair of the very best, that fell victim to economic hard times.



One of but six cars built on the Bugatti Royale Chassis, each one unique and one of only two that did not end up hidden in a large factory building by the Schlumpf brothers (if you don't know that story, it's better than any Agatha Christie murder mystery).
When built they were the most expensive cars in the world and they remain so today, the last time one changed hands it went for well over 30 million.



I did not know that The Henry Ford had purchased this car, but now I have finally seen all six in the metal.
You guys think 'billet' is a new idea, the engines in those cars were carved from a single block of aluminium back in the early 1930s!
And to prove nothing is new, the wheels are 24 inch diameter billets!   



Back in the teens and twenties there remained many small manufacturers churning out weird and unique models.
The car in the background was Mrs Ford's personal daily driver, a Baker Electric, which she preferred because it was smooth quiet and clean.



Meanwhile old Hank, hit on the perfect formula, one chassis, with a body for every purpose, in any colour you like, so long as it's black.  




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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:05 pm

A block down the road, a hundred or so metres past the Ford Engineering Dept. and almost hidden behind a mountain of snow……….



…….. is a building that's not part of the Ford complex or museum, but to me, equally as important to visit .



There's only a handful of cars in this building, but most importantly there's a wealth of history and recognition for some well known folks and those lesser known, who have played a significant role in the development of the automobile and the industry in which I work.



This place too is a must visit for me and it was well worth the ten minute walk in freezing conditions to get there and back to the Henry Ford.



Here's a guy we probably all know.



Here's a guy who's invention we now take for granted, but probably don't know.



That's what this place is about, respect for the folks who created what we love and a source of knowledge that can't always be found in books or on the WWW.







Even my boss's grandfather and great grandfather are listed on the wall with other greats of the industry.







Here's some of the cars chosen to help tell the stories of the men behind them…












[

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:06 pm

The next day I did try to make it to The Gilmore Museum which is about 40 miles out of Detroit and one of the best in the US.  However, I got turned back because of the bad weather, so it'll have to wait until I'm here during summer..

So, Monday morning we head downtown, to Cobo Hall, where the North American Motor Show is held.



It was kinda weird to see no snow, but apparently that's what they do in the downtown precincts, clear it all out, but the cold doesn't go away as is easy to see by this pigeon, huddling out of the icy wind.



The city still appears proud, but many buildings like the fire station are empty and boarded up.



This part of town said very clearly, don't bother unless you want trouble.



These guys confirmed it.



These guys told us we should go back to the hall for lunch.



I figured there was safety in numbers provided we didn't stray too far, besides, there's a lot to see.





And no visit would be complete without hearing the dulcet tones of the Motown Gals.



Or seeing GM World Headquarters.



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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:08 pm

Inside Cobo Hall the press were eagerly waiting for each of the futuristic concepts to be revealed and the T brand did not disappoint!



Think Supra.



The plan is for this one to be on sale within the not to distant future, it takes no energy from the power grid, but runs on electricity generated from hydrogen and therefore emits no exhaust emissions.



The yellow things are hydrogen storage tanks, the box between the wheels, the battery pack.



The box under the centre floor is the hydrogen converter unit.



And the electric motors that drive the car are up front under the bonnet.





The company also demonstrated that Camry is much sportier than most folks think it is.

It can run sub five second quarter miles.



Yeah the supercharger is big isn't it?



It can whip most things at autokahna.



Is a NASCAR contender/champion.



The big Tundra pick-up is also a winner with customers…..





….. and at the banked ovals.



The latest version of the companies retro 5 litre pushrod V8 makes upwards of 900 horsepower.



Across the way, the L company was not to be outdone, but they were a bit slim on concept cars, just a couple of ready for sale new coupes.

The relatively tame but very sporty version.





And the downright nasty one that kicks sand in other sports coupe's faces.







This one?  Well you'll just have to wait and see.





Around the corner, our friends at TESLA, were generating much interest with there electric luxury sports saloon.





Power-plant.



Energy storage and delivery system.





Are you ready for a Hyundai V8?



Or a Jaguar SUV?



This is Honda's idea of your automotive future.



Also powered by hydrogen.



Ford on the other hand, took a big step back to celebrate Mustang's 50th anniversary by showing off the original concept, the first production model and then they wheeled out the new one.







Yo all know what a 64.5 model looks like, so here's the newie!



They've actually managed to restyle the existing model without screwing it up.



The convertible and interior look pretty good too.





Of course the new aluminium F series trucks were also front and centre on the Ford stand.
I guess because aluminium doesn't draw like steel when pressed, is why the bodysides seem very flat and plain.  
The front mask is mostly mouldedl plastic so that's where the styling is and I guess why none of the PR shots show anything other than a tight front 3/4, which looks great.
Considering the massive weight saving and resultant improved economy and performance, it'll easily continue to be USA's number one selling vehicle.



The have a very timely option pack too, or maybe somebody at Ford has a good sense of humour.



Lincoln wheeled out an old guy to help them push the three new models they had on display.





GM's display could have been the Holden stand from the last Melbourne motor show, a bunch of Chevy badged Koreans, plus a couple of Chevy badged Commodores.





There was a freshened up Camaro.



And where Holden had the HSV line, GM had the newly crowned North American Car Of The Year, the new Corvette.





It's the most European Corvette ever, looks the goods and by all accounts delivers in spades!



Chrysler Fiat, decided to rest on their laurels, didn't seem to have anything new, just lotsa accessories and muscles, plus a couple of gurls.



Every time I pointed the camera at this Challenger, the chick jumped in front and grinned.



So I went away and came back later, only to find, she now had a friend!



Nissan has taken a different approach with their concept cars, not sure what it is, but they look kinda retro in a modern way.





Next door at Infiniti, the chick must have been told not to let anybody get a clean shot of the car, coz no matter what I tried, I couldn't get her out of the shot and I heard some of the press guys complaining about the same problem.  
Looking at the images I shot, I just can't help thinking there's something missing there.



Cadillac is know for it's recent edgy styling, but this concept kinda left me a little disapointed.






So there you have it, my quick and easy review of the Detroit Motor Show, The other manufacturers I haven't mentioned, because frankly, they had nothing new or exciting on offer.

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:11 pm

As mentioned earlier, to get away from the cold of Detroit, we headed towards the North Pole to spend some time in Toronto Canada, where my employer builds as many cars in a week for North America as we build in a year at Altona and where the weather is even colder!

After four planes didn't arrive to take me out of Toronto on Friday evening, I finally got a flight to Chicago, that could get me on a plane to St Louis on Saturday morning.  I was booked to be there Friday evening about 7:30pm, but the weather had a different idea and I ended up in a hotel near Chicago airport instead.    Saturday morning, I got an early call instructing me I should get to the airport quickly as my flight had been brought forward to avoid the anticipated airport closure.

When I arrived here's what was happening to my plane, they are blowing the ice off with hot steam and applying an anti icing chemical.





Finally safe in St Louis and seemingly headed away from the bad weather, coz there wasn't much snow on the ground and the sun was shining making it almost warm.
So we decided to get the Chevy out and join some of the other members of St Louis Street Rod association for Sunday lunch.





The icicles on a car stopped ahead of us at the lights suggested maybe it was colder than I figured.



Settled by French Canadian Louis Blanshette in 1769, St Charles was the first permanent settlement on the Missouri River.  
The town was also the first state capital of Missouri and among the prominent original settlers were folks including one Daniel Boone.  
The state's first newspaper, The Missourian was published here in 1820.  It was also the starting point for Lewis and Clark's first expedition to reach the west coast by land.



Ha! you would freeze to death if you tried, the shiny stuff in the grass is ice!



This building was erected before the first settlers arrived in Australia.



As always with small town USA, there'll be something to grab Old Col's interest.





And there's always a train station nearby.





The ID tag has this trolly first used in the mid 1800s, bet it could tell some stories.



The plaque says this old barn was built and used by Mr D Boone, then it later became a drugstore & dispensary.



Most of the buildings in this part of St Charles are around 200  years or more old.





The drinks list for lunch was kinda interesting.



I tried to grab this sign of the wall, but they wouldn't let me keep it.



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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:12 pm

Next morning we were greeted by this.



So we took the winter car, and headed out on a bit of a garage tour.



I like the sign in Bob's garage, makes me glad I don't have a son. 



Bob's current project is this '57 Ford Tudor wagon.



It's in surprisingly good shape and the Y block runs sweetly.



Another club member just picked this up for a song, like less than $30k.



I love the message on it's air cleaner top.



Further out of town we passed what was once a railway station.



Then we spotted a '73 Plymouth Roadrunner beside a big shed.



On the other side of the same shed was more old stuff, but the owner was a tad grumpy so we didn't hang around.



Inside Ed's shed are a couple of recently found jewels, like this complete and almost rust free Jeep pick-up, runs like dream and matches his Jeep wagon.





Wanna see a genuine '50s era hot rod?
This is the car that Ed drove to high school during that time, he later replaced the side valve six with a new 225 from a Valiant.





Ed's had this one since new.



Note, it's a two door hard top.



Original bucket seat interior.



Clean as a whistle, never rusted, never dented.





He picked up this F series truck just recently and believes the 37,000 miles on the odometer may be correct.



Flatty ticks over like a swiss watch.



Ed has never seen another one of these little tractors, so he dragged this one home, coz he figured it may be rare.



Stumbled across this one, nice car, good price, one of the locals snapped in up in a heartbeat, 



Got the icicles for free.





Old Ford dealership on Rt66 is now selling golf buggys.





Here's the front gates to the family home of General Ulysis S Grant



And bison roaming the front garden.



Here's how the locals keep their garages warm in winter, it really is a furnace, just keep shovelling the coal or lumber.




Too soon time was up and so I said goodbye to everybody and headed off to a warmer place.

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:14 pm

So I arrived in the city of angels and there's a day to kill before my pal Don arrives from Central California to join me for the famous Grand National Roadster show.

It was never going to be a boring day since I had a couple of missions to undertake for friends back home.

Job one was to check out a car for sale allegedly on the edge of suburban L.A.  
My good buddy whom I shall not call Dave or Dr Flathead, swore it wasn't far, but when the multi lane interstate ran out and turned into this, I wasn't so sure.



Then the NAV system decided I was off the map and it wasn't going to help me find the address I had been given.
Likewise my phone decided it wasn't going to play or connect me to the numbers I had been given, but somewhere around here is where the car was meant to be.



I did eventually find it after driving in circles for an hour or so, down at the end of this road.



The car checked out OK, and maybe it'll turn up in Oz some day soon, or maybe not, that wasn't my call to make, just check and report.

The second challenge was to search out any '34 Desoto Airflow parts that might be available, but all I could find was this.




















The car is rust free and seemed complete, but it has two less doors than my Aussie pal's car so I figured none of the parts would interchange.  So I left it where I found it and headed back to town.

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:15 pm

Whilst searching out Airflow stuff for my buddy, I spoke to a number of people and one fellow told me he thought there was an old Chrysler stored in a nearby barn.   So, with some time up my sleeve it was followed up.  Turned out the guy was right on the money, but it wasn't an airflow.  Here's what greeted me when the barn door was opened.



Here's the other end, which confirms it's a '34 Plymouth.



One rear wheel had been removed years ago so the owner could service the brakes.  They looked fine to me, shoes appeared barely worn, the drum doesn't even need to be machined.



"It was running fine when I drove it in here.", I was told, so what was this on the floor?
Picked it up as a spare back in the '70s, just in case it might be needed.



All the tyres were holding air and everything else looked good.



As is everything outside and underneath, so too is the interior in mint unmolested condition.
Yup that's an original radio, there's a heater under there too.



The number that's partly obscured in the odometer is a 6!




Since I figured this one also to be no value for my buddy, the location will remain secret for now.

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:15 pm

Friday arrived and so did Don and since the show didn't open until noon we headed out for some early lunch.

This pic makes me smile coz it reminds me of the very first time I went to the US and exclaimed on seeing a truck promoting the fact that rooting trees, doing so might really make your eyes water.   That was the very first time I had to explain to my American friends, the subtle differences between our two versions of the English language.  However, I'm not sure how being a rescue rooter might work out.



Anyhow, lunch done, we were off to the show to meet Ron…….



 …….. who had been out getting new shoes fitted to his deluxe Fordy.



As always on Friday, we had to park in the big lot across the road from the fairplex.



And there was plenty of cool stuff to see there.



This one is newer and cool too, thanx to the lack of silica based panels.  AKA Glass.



Mike Chiavetta's homebuilt woody must have a bazillion and three miles on it by now, coz it's everywhere man.



I instantly calculated that this DeSoto is not a '34 model, so despite the $20k price being cheaper than a '34 model, I decided my friend probably wouldn't want it, coz only a few of the parts interchange and probably not the ones he needs.



It was a surprise to us all that Don didn't have to wait too long at the gate, it usually takes me forever to scour the parking lot for stuff like this.



Hemi powered Plymouth is a Deuce of a different feather!



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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:16 pm

First order of business once inside is to check out the contenders…….

Paul Gomi is a well known local who likes old stuff and his '32 Ford Tub was fully decked out with rare old parts and speed equipment.  
He'd gone to a lot of trouble with huge signboards all round his display explaining all this stuff in detail.  Some suggested too much detail.



Paul Tregembo came all the way from Minesota for a shot at the big prize with his slick little model A pick-up.



Another very much different pick up is The Chocolate Rose, Charlie and Karen Matus's model T Ford from Stockton, Northern California.



The build sheet for Larry & Shirly Maddox's Blue Steel Deuce reads like a who's who of fast cars and it was built in Larry's own shop.



On the subject of fast cars, I've seen the Syclone Motorports/Advanced Plating deuce run well over 200mph many times.  
For a Bonneville veteran, The Gerber Special sure does come up nice after a bath.



Richard Chiarenza's 34 Chevy Phaeton hails from Redwood City in central California and was one of  two Chevy Tub's competing for the nine foot high trophy.



Done in a blend of modern and traditional that works realy well, Ron & Debra Goodwin's Brookville Deuce had the most attention grabbing upholstery job by B&B Upholstery.





Dan Van-Auken of Lake Havasu Arizona built this Deuce in his home shop and it has so many subtle and not so subtle body modifications it's hard to imagine the work involved in making it smooth enough for paint.



Speaking of body mod's, it's hard to imagine that Bill and Feta Enderson started with a model T Phaeton and finished up with a Tub for Two.  
All home built, they thanked Lonnie, Donnie, Glenn, Paul, Rich, Dant, Chet, Ray, Jeff, Don, John, Lennie, Ron and Herbie for their help to get it done.



My favourite was also probably the most simple in design & construction and I figured least likely of the contenders to win.  
It's an original Deuce on an original Ford chassis, owned by Bill Grant and put together so tastefully by the team at Stoker's Hot Rod Shop in Upland California, about two miles up Rt66 from the Pomona Fairplex.



I really did like the simplicity and era perfect appeal of this one, everything just works for my taste in old cars.



However, as we all know, there can only be one winner and love it or hate it, this year it was the Foose Designed, Trepanier built, incredibly rare 1935 Chevrolet Phaeton owned by Wes Rydell of Grand Forks, North Dakota.  
Some of you may be familiar with Wes's Riddler Award winning '36 Chevrolet Master Tudor, also designed by Chip Foose.  
This crew know their way around a judging sheet and whilst not to my taste, the workmanship on this car is stunning, such that most who looked at it closely had it down for the gold early.  
The wheels kinda let it down in my view, they look like stock '57 Chevy steelies with hubcaps, but are in fact hand made billet items, each one different to the next, I'd love to see it with a set of polished Halibrands.



Look closely at the pic's and you'll see the  detail, fit and finish that's required to win this big trophy.




So I guess that's it for the GNRS 2014, you now know who won, so there's no more to see here. 

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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:17 pm

Yeah, I was just joking, there's really plenty more to see.   Very Happy 

Where last year there were wooden cars, this year there were salt lakes racers, but as always, I digress for a moment to seek out some wooden beauty.




OK so back to the salt cars, most of which I've seen in action, so it was great to see them all spit polished and looking their best..

The entire Xydias family were present.



As was the most beautiful lakes racer ever!



It may be a replica, but it's a perfect one and one that just had to be built so those of us who never saw the original can appreciate what it was like.



This motorcycle powered liner is tiny, barely over 6 feet long and 33 inches high, it's gone out the Bonnevile back door at more than 176 miles per hour!  Dennis Varni is the current owner and responsible for it's perfect restoration.



Current holder of the title "Worlds Fastest Piston Engine Vehicle", the Poteet and Main Speed Demon, was looking fast just standing still.



And speaking of Ron Main, his old car, Flatfire, is still the only flathead (with the valves still in the block) powered car to go faster than 300mph.  
It's also easy to see that Speed Demon has a big chunk of this car's DNA.



Here's George's 'Blowfish', a 300mph supercharged Plymouth Barracuda.



There was a great mix of old and new, with most of the cars displayed also historically significant in their period.





Haven't seen this one run yet, because it's a new car, so maybe it'll be on the salt come August.
Definitely looks like it's got what it takes.



Of course Bobby Green's Old Crow Speed Shop Special was on hand.  
This one is a newish car built from very old parts and runs well over 100mph using a B model Ford 4 banger with a tiny supercharger and sometimes some nitro in the tank.



We pitted next to these guys in 2011 and they were green as any first timers I ever saw.
However once Keith had sorted his license and could open the throttle, he absolutely whupped the million dollar Ferrari team, by adding almost a hundred miles an hour to their record.

What made it more special is that this little Triumph GT6 based racer uses a twin turbocharged SBC, mounted backwards and driving the front wheels to speeds well beyond 300mph.
In fact the car's very first WOT run it went well over 300mph, to become the most talked about car on the salt that day.



The Royal Purple Streamliner has been around for many years and owns a plethora of ultra high speed records.



A couple more oldies.





And at the other end of the age scale, this is the world's fastest electric car!



There's a bunch of other racers in other parts of the building, mostly from the drag strip, but some round round cars like these.







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Re: Why I missed another VHRA Show.

Post  Carps on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:18 pm

What do you say to the boys when you're picked at random from the crowd to sit in the digger while they crank it up and burn about ten gallons of nitro?

Nyah, Nyah, nuh, Nyah, Nyah!



Whaddaya say to a lady in a tight fitting silver suit?





"Geddouda the way, I wanna check out that black n flamed van!" 
Some of you may even have a poster of it on your shed or bedroom wall.





And here's a random smattering of some other race cars that were parked about the place.







Anybody fancy a low six second quarter mile run?



Same model, same idea, different approach.



Of course there were lotsa Willys racers.











Even the dak, daks get in on the act.



Altered wheelbase Cusso!



Yup, this is the real deal and available to take home, IF you have enough bucks!   Shocked 



And some other stuff you may or may not have seen in Hot Rod Magazine.











This one is a lakester.



This one has a stutter.



This bunch were just cool.



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