Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mustang, Muscle Car, Matchbox, Mashed Slots, Marilyn

Road & Track Test Drives the 2015 Mustang GT

The 2015 Mustang is getting rave reviews from the automotive press, and now that it comes standard with independent rear suspension, I think that it'll get thumbs up from Top Gear should they test it on the show. Hammond always loved the Mustang but Clarkson always gave the impression that he wanted to love it but could never bring himself to praise a car with a solid axle.

Don't worry, the new generation Mustang hasn't been neutered as its 5 liter V8 puts out 435 hp and according to the reviewers, it has that pin you in your seat torque and acceleration. I loved the retro-look fouth generation Mustangs, but after 10 years it's time for a change. I was worried that Ford would redesign the Mustang to resemble a Nissan GTR but the lines are still very recognizably a Mustang.

Best of all, and I may upset some traditionalists with this, but I'm thrilled that the Mustang finally joined the 21st century and tossed the live axle rear for the IRS, making it a real road car instead of a straight line boulevard racer. I prefer handling more than top end and let's face it, there aren't a lot of places you can really open it up unless you rent some track time or move to Germany.

My Favorite Muscle Car – 1966 GTO

389, 360 hp, and lines that meant business. The Goat was scary fast, there was an adrenaline thrill driving a car that looked, drove, and sounded like it wanted to kill you

Matchbox Cars from the Lesney Era

I was a grade school kid when Matchbox cars were made in the UK by the original Lesney Company. I had quite a few of the models in this video, had I kept my original collection I might get enough for a down payment on a real car.

Slot Car Crashes

Slot cars no doubt seem pretty lame to today's kids with all the high powered graphics of the video games around now, but let me tell you younguns, slots were a blood sport in my day. Having the right touch on a curve to fishtail your car to send your opponent flying off the platform took a deft touch on the pistol grip and nerves of steel.

Now get off my lawn!

Marilyn and a 1950 Pontiac

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Highlights of AoSQH Car Thread Posts

Here's some highlights of the Ace of Spades HQ Car Threads co-written by me;

8-31-14 Car Thread

Ranking of all the James Bond cars

Teen takes a fatal test drive in a Lamborghini Under $30,000 Performance Car Shootout

How to Handle Encounter with police after being pulled over

1940 Ford Coupe

Ranking of Driver Freedom by State

Future Car Tech; Fuel Cells

And a friendly girl in a truck

9-6-14 Car Thread

Automotive News Top 10 Cars for Geriatrics

Joan Rivers Dodge Commercial

Best Used Cars for Under $30,000

Cool Car Movies of the 1970's

A Classy Pinup Lady

Monday, August 25, 2014

240Z and K-Car at Ace of Spades HQ Car Thread

I wrote up another Saturday Car Thread at Ace of Spades HQ

Topics for this thread were the Datsun 240Z, the Chrysler K-Car, and Lucas Electric jokes in recognition of a new season of Doctor Who

And a Car Thread Compliance Pic which a co-blogger uh... forgot (cough) to put up

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another Co-Written Car Thread for Ace of Spades HQ

This week the topics are the small block Chevy, PJ O'Rourke's automotive writings, girls named after cars, William Shatner's 10 favorite cars, and some records being broken at the Monterey Auction

8-16-14 Saturday Car Thread

Not to mention some choice car pictures like this one;

Well, don't just sit here checking the decals on that Challenger, head on over!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Shot at the Big Time

Ace of Spades HQ is one of the most popular blogs on the internet, discussing politics, popular culture, news items, and it's been called "A Smart Military Blog".  Almost every Saturday afternoon a Car Thread is posted and for this week I was given the opportunity to write the thread material

Go for the Car Thread, stay for the lively discussion which can not only be quite informative but also quite bawdy. 

And of course, I contribute often myself with the "Open Thread Compliance Pics" such as this one;

Visit the blog, and enjoy

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy 50th Birthday, Ford Mustang

Be True to Your School
The Ford Mustang premiered in spring of 1964 as a sporty affordable compact for the masses of Baby Boomers getting their first driver licenses, the first "Pony Car" and still considered the epitome.

Built on the second generation Ford Falcon compact platform, the Mustang was the product of a team headed by Lee Iococca and designed with the vast youth market coming of age in the mid 60s. The Mustang was affordable, attractive, sporty, and with a myriad of options could be anything from an economical 6 cylinder convertible for high school girls to a muscular street car for her brother.

Called by Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson "the most significant car of the 20th century", the Mustang was a blockbuster sales success for Ford, sales surpassing the 1 million mark within 18 months of production.

The first generation offered a powerplant choice of the 6 cylinder 120 hp 200 ci (3.3 L) or the muscular 289 ci (4.7 L) V8 which started at 200 hp for the basic 2 barrel carb up to 270 for the high output options. When the 1967 and 1968 models came around, the street racers could choose from a gearhead's dream shopping list of the 302 "Boss" to the Carroll Shelby collaborations with the monster 428 Cobra Jet with 335 hp from the factory, easily scaleable to over 500 hp.

It was the 1968 GT with the 390 FE that Steve McQueen drove to cinematic car chase immortality in "Bullitt"

But by 1970, Mustangs began to suffer the same bloat as almost every other American car of the early 70s, it was longer, wider, much heavier and with the "smog motors" it was much slower with the top powerplant being the 351 "Cleveland" topping out at 275 hp from the factory

The nightmare began for the Mustang in 1974 with the introduction of the subcompact Mustang II based on the legendarily bad Ford Pinto platform. A panic response to the 70s oil crisis, the first year provided only a weakling 2.3 L 4 cyl or an anemic 2.8 L V6, only adding a pitifully castrated 302 V8 with all of 140 hp. The Mustang II was mercifully put to death after the 1978 model year and still resides on countless "worst cars ever" listings.

Update- GGE from "Last Refuge of a Scoundrel" has informed me that the Mustang II was based on the Maverick platform, not the Pinto. Since he'd marry his Mustang if it was legal in his state, I'll accept his word on this as an expert. The Maverick was also the relative that the Ford family speaks of in hushed tones.

The Horror .... The Horror ...
From 1979 to 1993, the Mustang would return to it's original platform criteria, starting out slow but by the mid 80s it had returned some respectability with the 302 now designated as the 5.0 liter (nicknamed the "Point" by the growing urban culture) with the light body making it the fastest American production car not named the Buick Grand National.

The mid 90s brought a more attractive and sleeker look over the boxy 80s Mustang, still popular with those who loved a youthful sporty young car, but it's street cred had been bypassed by the turbocharged Hondas and Mitsubishis while the well heeled youth of the day were given BMW's and other German sport coupes for their 16th birtday

In 2005, Ford hit a home run with the new retro design with the lines of the first generation. It is gorgeous and like its progenitor it is widely scaleable with the base V6 offering 300 hp and the top of the line Shelby putting out over 500 hp from the factory

Nice Pic of a 2006 Mustang
In the autumn of 2014, the Mustang will premier a new generation with an entirely new look that comes to mind "Aston-Mustang", will feature turbocharged 4 cylinders and will join the 21st century with independent rear suspension, which I hope will satisfy the main complaint of the Top Gear trio had about the live rear axle.

Trivia tidbit - The Mustang was not named by its development team for the small horse, but for the P-51 Mustang fighter planes of WW II.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Zombie Cars

According to former GM CEO Bob Lutz, Obama told the company that even though they liked their Pontiac Division, they couldn't keep their Pontiac Division;

Lutz: "Feds said, 'we're giving you 60 billion dollars. Drop Pontiac or you won't get the cash.'

Pontiac had committed to producing a lineup of rear wheel drive high performance cars to compete with the Germans and Japanese. Unfortunately, it wasn't the government's idea of "cars people (politicians want them) to buy.

So bye-bye, G6, G8, Grand Am, Trans Am, GTO, and Fiero. After 2010, it became just a part of history, just like the old "Wide Track Pontiac" ads of the 60's. Pontiac lived on only as a zombie on the used car lots, Craigslist ads, and Sunday auctions.

R.I.P Pontiac - 1926-2010
Epitome of the 60s Muscle Car, the 1967 GTO
Pontiac wasn't the only casualty of the bailout, there was also Saturn, loved by its owners but detested by the unions who were the true beneficiaries of the bailout. An attempted sale to Penske fell through, sealing its doom

Saturn 1985-2010
Also consigned to nameplate heaven was the Saab brand owned by GM, loved by yuppies and Jerry Seinfeld

Not to mention that you can no longer get a Hummer

Arnold may be bahck, but for his Hummer it was hasta la vista, baybee

Before the bankruptcy and bailout of 2009, "Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" became Not Anybody's Oldsmobile after 2004, but not before a 1967 Olds Delta 88 killed Mary Jo Kopechne in July of 1969 along with Ted Kennedy's presedential ambitions. Olds also contributed the 442 to muscle car legend.

Before that, there was the short lived economy car GEO brand of the 90s

Here's a look at other brands and entire car companies that Pontiac joined after 2010;

Alan Jackson can buy him a Mercury or two, but no new ones after 2011

Ford's ill-fated Edsel was strangled in its cradle

1958 Edsel Corsair. Ugly car named after a cool WW II Marine fighter plane

Chrysler has escaped death's door many times, most notably with the 2009 bailout and sale to Fiat.. The previous brush with death was in 1980 when they were bailed out and revived by the K-Car and the Minivan. However, several brands did not survive the bean counter's Grim Reaper.

Plymouth went away after 2001

The Cuda lagged behind the Mustang & Camaro on the sales charts, but it held its own on the street

The Eagle was a rebadged Mitsubishi that Chrysler sold in the 90s

1998 Mitsubishi Eagle Talon

The Titanic of the street, the leviathan Imperial which served The Green Hornet well

1965 Imperial. Machine guns not included

The DeSoto, the finned cruiser that died after the 50s

1959 DeSoto Firedome

Finally, here's some entire companies that either were absorbed or went entirely out of business

AMC 1954-1987


AMC's Rambler nameplate - 1955-1968
1965 Rambler Marlin

Nash, 1917-1954
"The Little Nash Rambler blew his horn it went Beep Beep .."

Hudson 1909-1954
The very spacious back seats in the Hudson Hornet conceived many early Baby Boomers

Kaiser 1945-1953
The Kaiser Henry J. coupe. Stripped and basic. Not popular with families but its light weight made it a popular modified quarter miler for the low budget drag racers

Packard 1899-1958
1956 Packard Executive which the also defunct Soviet Union revived as the Chaika Gaz 13

Studebaker 1911-1967
"Honest dear, I read Playboy just for the Avani ads"