Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kentucky Bronco

My father-in-law knew I was a fan of early broncos - and he stumbled upon this about 10 minutes from his house. So, he called me one day a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to help him on a "project" and kind of chuckled. That weekend, he drove me to this old barn in the middle of eastern Kentucky, stopped, and said - "look inside." After I quit smiling, we agreed to split the cost and take it home. We got an amazing deal...

These photos were taken the day we pulled it out of the barn - and everything is covered in years of barn crud. Fired up on the first try and we drove it home...we have it currently hidden in the mountains of eastern Kentucky as we begin the journey.

Any thoughts on where to begin or what to do first? We're going to get the engine running strong and replace all the fluids, transmission/rear-end and begin from there.

The fun part should be watching a retired engineer and an illustrator/graphic designer work on this project together. I'm looking forward to working on the truck, and more importantly spending the time with him.


Monday, May 15, 2006

CT to PA to BC, a Porsche 356 C's Odyssey

I was only 25 when I bought this matching numbers car #221146 C coupe sky blue with red interior. A year after looking for projects and roadsters that were soaring in price. In its day it was driven seldom in Glastonbury, CT from 1965 to 1969 where I'm told (by 2nd owner) was involved in some race crash and taken off the road (original miles then in 1969 is 19,983). I have a few emails from old CT Porsche mechanics who remember a car like it then crashed the same way. Owned by a European couple, it now had some right side rear end damage and transmission damage, (axle tube severely bent). The car had a panel-repair (bondo) and quick repaint, and was resold then to the 2nd Owner, a real-estate agent from PA who was in town the time on business, bought the car from an estate sale, as the European couple were going back to Europe and then had it shipped to his PA house. He told me the car looked great then but drove poorly so he drove it up the driveway, and there it sat motionless until 2001. He told me he never drove the car except for that. Off the car carrier and down the street and up the driveway. A mistake he wishes he had corrected. In 2001, it exchanged a few hands quickly, from him to Bruce Baker (who could not in good faith chop it up due to its low miles and solid body) to Parker Tyler, who actually drove down to PA to get it from Bruce, and then towed it into Nova Scotia for me in 2003.

It was caught in Hurricane Juan, Sept in 2003 and soaked with water. When I got the car Oct 2003, I disassembled, sandblasted, and after a 2 year restoration, a proper rear end repair and colour switch and some leg work to contact all party's except 1st owners, I am left with a great low mile solid coupe today. I continue to talk to the 2nd Owner on a regular bases and he is very envious and notes he is first in line to buy the car back. He holds the cars original tool kit still as ransom, and jokes only to reunite if he gets the car back. It lost a few pieces in the transaction but I have been able to refit with some things and have all registrations going back to 1969, with proof of mileage. A 12,000$ metal work and paint job and some serious weld work and an amateur floor job done by myself. I am now back in Vancouver BC and it still has a few hiccups but I am intent on racing it in the local vintage events and driving on sunny days. Mileage now is 20,007 miles at the time of this story, and sounds nice running. (when it wants to start that is. Wife has named the car "Ooter" and I its safe to say "Ooter" is a little miffed he hasn't been driven in so long and the trials and tribulations he has gone through. Thus the trouble he gives me.) I have only driven a few miles in the last three years, basically around the block a few times and to the gas station, but when he goes he pulls great. Some carb tuning needed, but a great find for my first 356.

The little low mile coupe is the envy of a few old mopar and corvette neighbors who poke their head in and a nice addition with a 1959 Convertible D I have picked up, which has a story just as interesting.

Sean-Christerfer Longhi

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Connecticut 1967 MGB MK I

I found this tired but complete MGB at a shop across from venerable Lime Rock Park Race Track.
It had the usual rust issues but not as bad as most I had considered. I did all the repairs myself except for the welding. Don't need to burn down my house now do I!

Well 3 years later it is quite spectacular and one of the most reliable cars I've restored. It's parked next to my Alfa Giullietta Spider and gets some infrequent exercise. I'm ready for another project if you're interested!!!

Mike M.

The California Porsches Part III: 1967 Porsche 912 Targa Soft Window

The soft-window Porsche 912 Targa is a rare bird having been produced only from 1967 until 1969. Yes '69, after Porsche went to the longer wheelbase. Porsche offered the soft-window as a no cost option but few buyers took the opportunity. If you find a good soft-window like this one it can be a really enjoyable sports car to own.

The California Porsches Part II: The Rare 597 Jagdwagen "Hunter"

The Jagdwagen was similar to the four-wheel-drive Volkswagen Kubelwagen. It featured a rear-mounted, air-cooled, four-cylinder opposed engine. Early versions employed a Porsche 1488-cc unit; later, a 1582-cc unit was used, detuned to 60 horsepower with a single carburetor and a 6.5:1 compression ratio. A clutch on the front propeller shaft allowed an advanced feature: The four wheel drive mechanism was shift-on-the-fly via a lever on the floor.

From 1954 to 1958, Porsche built the 597 Jagdwagen, or Hunter. The 597 was designed primarily for military use, with hopes of spinning off a civilian version. But the project never gained momentum, and only 71 Hunters were made. Porsche fans will enjoy knowing that the Hunter was built in the factory race shop, assembled alongside 550 Spyders.

The California Porsches Part 1: 1958 Speedster

These all belonged to a long-time Porsche fanatic and time-speed-distance rallyist. I married his niece in 1978; John died in 2002. I bought three of his seven Porsches from the estate and began the long process of bringing them back to life. So the cars weren't lost and I certainly didn't find them. John liked the Porsches but never quite had the ambition to get them running again. When one starting having troubles, he merely parked it and bought another.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

1961 Pontiac Ventura

As a young,17 year old, car crazy kid from the west coast, I had the chance to drag race a brand new ‘61 Ventura, Honduras Maroon, 4 speed with a quick change rear end. That experience was one of highlights of my youth.

Fast forward 30 years and by chance I discovered the car again in a small town outside of Chicago. By this time it was a worn out example of itself, but my memories of the good times made me do it. I bought the car without even driving it around the block. I was just happy to get it. If it turned out to be a planter box for flowers, at least I could look revisit my memories.

Today, 40+ years later “the car of my dreams” is totally restored and making those wonderful noises again (in my driveway).

- A Real Ventura Guy
(Thanks for the opportunity to share my story!)

Monday, May 08, 2006

'94 SL 500 Mercedes-Benz

I had to find an upholstery man to repair a chair that we bought on ebay. I dropped off the chair in front of the upholstery man's home workspace (we're out in the countryside in Connecticut). He opens up the door and reveals a beautiful black and tan '94 SL 500 sitting on an oriental carpet with only 28,000 miles on it! "I gotta sell it 'cause I never use the damn thing" he says. A week later I drove it home. The Mercedes dealer in our area said it is the nicest '94 SL 500 they have ever seen.