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CorvairJim

M –51
Norristown, Pennsylvania
United States

 
 

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Our new Granddaughter has arrived!

By CorvairJim

As of about 7:30(EDT) on the evening of Tuesday, September 4th, my wife and I became grandparents for the sixth time when our daughter Sarah (Motortopia member Ladidragon18 ) gave birth to her third child, Charlotte Renee. Little "Charlie" weighed in at a healthy 8 lbs,10 oz, and 21" long. Mother, baby, daddy Tim, big sister Suzi and big brother Timmy are all doing well.

Happy Birthday, Chevrolet!

By CorvairJim

Today is November 3, 2011. Exactly 100 years ago today, industrialist William C Durant and famous race car driver Louis Chevrolet submitted the paperwork establishing the Chevrolet brand in Detroit, Michigan. This was Durant's first step in regaining control of General Motors, which had ousted him as chairman a couple of years before. Chevrolet and Durant Had a disagreement over which direction the new brand was to take. Chevrolet wanted to build a grand, high-end luxury car, while Durant had his mind set on a low-price competitor for the Ford Model T. His thinking was, when he regained control of G.M., he would already have no fewer than three upmarket brands in Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. He needed an entry-level brand to entice the masses, and he saw the new marque with the name of the famous racer as the ideal way to do it. As a result of this disagreement, Louis Vhevrolet left the company that bore his name within the first couple of years. He went on to manufacture speed equipment for Model T's with his brother Gaston under the Frontenac name.

The first two years, Chevrolets were indeed big, luxurious cars, but by 1914, they were supplanted by loweer priced cars. The "Royal Mail" was marketed as a direct competitor to the Model T, and that was replaced by the 490 a couple opf years later. That model got it's name from it's price: $490, F.O.B. Detroit.

Chevrolet did take a brief detour form the inexpensive cars only mindset in 1917 and 1918, when they brought their first V-8 powered car to market. It was priced in the luxury car range and people had already come to associate the brand with entry-level cars, so it didn't sell well. The model was dropped after the two model years.

Another misstep occured in 1923, with Chevy's first foray into air cooling with the "Copper Cooled Chevrolet" line. These engines had copper cooling fins brazed to the individual cylinder barrels, which were supposed to keep the engine cool. Unfortunately, this concept failed - miserably. Chevrolet ended up recalling the cars and destroying them; Urban myth has G.M. hauling them out into Lake Erie on barges and dumping them in!. As I recall, only two are known to survive of the 500 built.

Chevrolet maintained a firm hold on second place in sales through the mid 1920's, but when the Model T was replaced by the more expensive Model A, Chevy took over as the sales leader. In 1929, the famous "Stovebolt Six" made it's debut, with the advertising line "A Six For The Price Of A Four", aimed squarely at the Model A. Chevrolet's new engine handily out-powered Ford's 4-cylinder, and when Ford fought back with a V-8 in 1932, it was purely a numbers ploy, since the Chevrolet 6 was more powerful than Ford's new 8! It didn't hurt that the 1932 Chevrolet's styling was WAY more elegant than Ford's. Harley Earl's influence was making itself known across all GM divisions by that point, and the '32 Chevrolet was sometimes referred to as looking like a "Baby Cadillac". Chevrolet maintained this image for many years, aping the appearance of either thew previous year's Cadillac or Buick up until after the war. This helped Chevy hold the leadership in sales through the 1956 model year.

In 1935, the longest running nameplate in automotive history first saw the light of day - The Chevrolet Suburban. This truck-based station wagon was novel for the time in that it boasted an all-steel body. Most station wagons relied on wood bodies until after WW II, but not the Suburban.

Another couple of firsts in the low-price field were the 1949 Bel Air "Hardtop Convertible", with it's fixed roof, pillarless styling, and the Powerglide fully automatic transmission, at a time when Ford and Plymouth offered only semi-autiomatic boxes.

The Motorama show of 1953 brought a surprise to the American motoring public in the form of a "Dream Car" called the Corvette. It had a fiberglass body on a modified standard Chevrolet frame. The people seeing the car fell in love with it, so much so that it was rushed into production... to a resounding yawn! Apparently, none of the other GM divisions wanted to let Chevy use one of their V-8 engines in the car, so it came to market with a hotted-up version of the tried-and-true inline-6, mated to a mandatory Powerglide automatic. Furthermore, it only came in Polo White with a red interior. More colors were available in 1954, but dealers still had a tough time selling them. In 1955, Ed Cole's legendary high compression, overhead valve Chevrolet V-8 hit the market, and combined with the availability of a 3-speed manual transmission it helped Corvette sales to an extent. Ford brought out it's Thunderbird 2-passenger "Personal" car that year, so Chevy had to continue making Corvettes beyond 1955 or be seen as knuckling under to crosstown competition. Good thing they did, because the Corvette went on th become THE American sports car while Thunderbird abandoned the 2-place market altogether by 1958.

1955 is best remembered for the all-new standard Chevrolet, the first of "The Hot Ones". This and the next two years are possibly the best-loved big Chevys of all time, with the iconic '57 Bel Air topping the list. After stumbling in sales for a single year in 1957, Chevy regained the top position in sales in 1958, a spot it wouldn't relinquish again for several decades.

By 1960, the compact wars were really beginning to heat up, andChevy was in the thick of things with their radical new Corvair, with it's rear-mounted, air-cooled horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder engine. This unorthodox approach was arrived at very logically: By putting the entire drivetrain behind the car's cabin, it allowed for greater interior room and a flat floor. The Corvair had very nearly the interior volume of a full-size Chevrolet, while it's competition like the Ford Falcon and Chrysler Corp's valiant (it didn't become a Plymouth until 1961) were basically just traditional American sedans reduced to roughly 4/5 their size with a corresponding reduction in interior room. Unfortunately, Americans wanted conventional cars rather than cutting edge thinking, so the Corvair didn't sell as well as expected. Chevy reacted by bringing ANOTHER entry to the compact field only tweo years later, the Chevy II series of utterly conventional compacts. Corvair was repurposed as a sporty compact, thus originating the modern "Sport Compact" merket segment. It succeeded so well at this new direction that Ford had to react to it by rushing a rebodied falcon to market in the middle of the 1964 model year - They called this car the Mustang!

In 1963, Corvette got it's first total redesign, gaining a fully independant rear suspension in the deal. Larry Shinoda's timeless design is considered by many, myself included, to be the best looking all-around Corvette design ever.

1964 brought yet another car to the Chevy lineup: the "Midsize" Chevelle. Then in 1967, Chevrolet answered the Mustang with their second sporty compact offering, the Camaro. Unfortunately, that pretty much sounded the death knell for the Corvair. Ralph Nader had already given the car an undeserved black eye in his famous work of fiction, "Unsafe At Any Speed", where, in the first chapter, he claimed that Corvairs tended to roll over easily. That claim was proven wrong in a government investigation years later, after the damagehad already been done. The second chapter dealt with the claim that the horizontal tail fins of the 1959 and 1960 full-size Chevys caused the rear end of the car to actually lift off the road at 70 mph... If he had checked his facts with NASCAR driver Junior Johnson, he would never had made that assertion - Johnson won the 1960 Daytona 500 in a '59 Impala at an average speed of nearly 140 mph. How do you suppose he managed to maintain speeds like that if his drive wheels weren't on the track?

Went to see "Ashley" again...

By CorvairJim

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

My wife Rose (MAXXINE to all of her Motortopia friends) and I just got back from a much-deserved week's vacation in the beautiful Pocono mountains for some R&R in the cool (if somewhat rainy) weather, and a time to decompress from the stresses of working for the Poatal Service. At this point, I don't know whether I'll have a job come March, if the Postmaster General has his way and breaks the contract, doing away with the "No Layoff" clause that was written in in exchange for the unions granting the U.S.P.S. a "No Strike" clause. They say they'll do the layoffs from the top down to eliminate the highest-paid employees first so, with nearly 26 years there, my neck is DEFINITELY on the block!

Anyhow, back to happier things, namely our trip. We went to a church on Sunday where a friend is the Pastor, then enjoyed their monthly breakfast afterwards. We met this gentleman through a prayer group in our home church that Rose is active in that goes up to the Poconos once a month to pray for his 22 year old daughter who is severely handicapped due to being struck by lightning about 3 years ago. Please remember Emily in your prayers. Her folks tell us that she was always a bright, cheerful young woman with aspirations of eventually becoming a doctor when the incident occured. Emily is still a beautiful young lady, but she's having a tough time re-learning every aspect of life, from walking to talking, to even feeding herself. But you can still see that spark in her eyes and her beautiful smile that lights up a room. The 'old Emily' is still there, but she just can't express herself or move in any coordinated way. I can't begin to imagine how frustrating that must be for her, but she's a fighter, and always seems so cheerful. This evening, before leaving the Poconos to return home, we returned to the church to help out with their annual Pork & Sauerkraut dinner. It was nice to see them one more time before leaving for home (and dinner was great too!).

Monday saw us heading west to Mountainhome, PA, to visit our friend Harry Callie, the gentleman who bought my '66 Corvair "Ashley" from us a couple of years ago. Last year, I was upset by her condition. He clearly hadn't been driving her, and she was filthy inside and out. He mentioned that she didn't seem to be running right, so I offered to take her for a couple of days to see if I could figure out what, if anything, was wrong with her. I wrote a blog about that last year along with photos in an album from our time with her. Anyhow, imagine my surprise when I found out that Harry had followed through on his promise to me that Ashley would be professionally restored cosmetically (She didn't really need anything mechanical done to her). I went back to the garage and there she was, my old baby, looking brand new! All the minor little parking lot dings were gone along with the rust spots that had started to develop from four winters worth of driving in Pennsylvania road salt. The broken taillight lens had been replaced. All of the dinged-up chrome pieces had been straightened or replaced. The front seats had both been reupholstered, and the carpet re-dyed to get rid of decades worth of sun fading. She still needs some detail work taken care of, but it did my heart a world of good to see the old girl looking new again. Harry told me that he would be more than willing to let us use the car again for a few days, but for the fact that it was currently impossible to get it out of the garage! It seems that last week, a big ol' bear had wanted to get into the garage and had broken the door to the garage bay where the Corvair is parked. The door won't move without the risk of it collapsing on the car. The PA Department of Fish and Wildlife came in and set a humane trap for the bear, caught it, and released it somewhere where it shouldn't be a bother to people. Maybe next year we'll be able to take her for a drive... I hope!

(While we were there, I volunteered to exercize any of his other collector cars for him if he wanted me to. That list includes a 1970 454 Corvette coupe, a 1963 Bel Air wagon with a 409, another Corvair, this one a '65 Monza painted "Evening Orchid", a '59 Edsel Ranger, a '66 Rambler Ambassador convertible, a '62 Studebaker Lark, a '55 Studebaker sedan, a '65 Dodge pickup, and a gorgeous dark blue '47 Cadillac sedan.)

A "Vairy" Merry Christmas!

By CorvairJim

A friend of mine on the "Corvair Center" website posted this poem, and I thought it was good enough to pass along to my Motortopia friends.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
'Twas the night before Christmas and there in his house,
Ol' Ralph Nadar was sleeping as quiet as a mouse.
Ralphie heard such a noise, he exclaimed "What's the matter?
Sounds like a Corvair with it's valves all a-clatter"
When all of a sudden dear Santa appeared
But he wasn't driving his tiny reindeer!
Santa Claus shouted, "I don't mind the noise
'Cause look at my 'Vair, it's chock full o' toys
Toys for the girls...wire wheels with spinners,
Toys for the boys...Finned oil pans, that's a winner!"
Nader rubbed at his eyes, couldn't believe such a sight,
The nerve of this guy with his Corvair so bright!
All Nader heard as the 'Vair whisked from sight,
Was "Merry Christmas and to all a good night"
Nader's heart beat, he was having a stroke!
No, a nightmare, but soon he awoke...
All's quiet now, not a trace of the spoils,
But out on the snow... just a small spot of oil!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On a more serious side, we would like to wish all of our friends on Motortopia, and their families, a very merry Christmas and a joyous and blessed New year!

Jim & Rose

A fellow Motortopian needs our help.

By CorvairJim

A couple of months ago I posted a blog with a similar title, asking for votes for a friend's car so it could win the title of Hemmings Muscle Machines Magazine "Muscle Machine of the Year". I'm glad to announce that their '67 Comet 2-door sedan placed second (by less than 2% of the total vote) to a very well modified Pro Touring '69 Charger Daytona lookalike in a very tough field. That's not why I'm writing this. That was for an honor for a car and it's owners. THIS is important. This is about a man's financial life and the loss of a beloved car, along with too many other troubles to be fair to expect a man to handle on his own. Most of us who have been on Motortopia for a couple of years know Mark Francis, also known as MonzterRacing here on Motortopia, and his famous 1975 Chevy Monza drag car, "Louie The Lizard". Mark is having an incredibly tough time at the moment and needs all the help that we, his friends from Motortopia, can give him. Here's what he had to say in a blog that he posted this past Thursday evening:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I won't go into all the details but I have been having a really really bad run of luck over the past year or two. I have been deceived by what I thought were friends, lost my great paying job, just finished up with a nasty divorce, and shut down my personal business building cars and engines due to all the stuff I had been dealing with. They say when it rains it pours and now I believe it.

Anyway, I stopped with the cars and working on them as my car had been taken away from me illegally according to an attorney I hired. She has yet to get any results from the guy that took it. He ignores all legal documents sent, won't sign for Certified letters, answer calls, or anything from my attorney.

It all goes to the start of I thought I made a great friend with a person and worked extensively on his car welding on it, re-wiring it, built an engine for it, and more. I also lent him my tools and MY transmission when he blew his up at the track. Well he offered to do the body work on my car for $2300. We agreed. He found out I was going through a divorce and stuff after he picked his car up and was racing in it already. He finally blew up his motor I built (over 90 passes in 30 days) and I was trying to build his other backup motor for him as well. Anyway he had issues with that motor as well and blew it up also. The rod let go literally !!!! He blamed me for the motor work. All the while being nice to me and still saying that I only would owe him the $2300 for my body work he did. Well all of a sudden he wants over $12,000 for me to get my car back !! He is charging me for his motors that also had over $3000 of my parts in that he never paid for yet. He still has my transmission he BORROWED ALONG WITH MY TOOLS !! So I have been fighting to get my stuff back. THE CAR ISN'T EVEN FINISHED!! HE NEVER BUFFED IT OUT OR ANYTHING!! His employee started to wet sand the car but never finished !!

But through the divorce I had to just file bankruptcy !! He ran into a few of my friends and told them I could have my car back for $4400 now but that was not the original agreement !! ALL VERBAL NO LESS !! SO he took my transmission, car, and tools and put them in some storage facility in hiding for a ransom (my attorney said that) illegally because these are two separate business deals and that is my personal property !!! So the attorney filed for a Replevin Suit but he still won't cough up my stuff or tell anybody where it is. He won't even talk to my attorney !!

So I am at a sad point in life as I worked exceptionally hard to get my car, worked my butt off on building it to what it was, and now lost it to a crooked deal !! What is a guy to do !! I want all auto enthusiasts to think of how they would feel at this point !!
I lost my job, working for half the money I used to make, got a divorce, Became really ill with Diabetes Type 2, and other medical issues that are serious, filed bankruptcy as I was left with all the burdens of the divorce, pay child support but have joint custody, and working to keep the house I was left with out of the divorce. All these things just happened this past year or so. The health issues were caused from stress and stuff.

So I ask where are all the really good people go out there in this world ??? Can a person trust anybody anymore?? Is everyone out for themselves??? I came up with a simple plan that if anybody wanted to think makes sense or has a real heart and acknowledges a persons distress than maybe I can rely on people and friends in another way.

How about if each person donates or donated to the cause to help get a guys car back when he has lost all hope??? What if everybody donated only $1 or $2 to the guy to see how close he can get to getting his car back !!! Nothing more?? A person cannot buy much with that $1 or $2 anymore but maybe a soda or candy bar. But that even depends on the serving size !! I probably will get into trouble for asking this but I am at my end on what to do so I think I will have to come up with the money ($4400 to get the car back) so I am asking everyone to think about it !! Would you do it to help a cause !! To keep a dream alive !! I haven't been able to go to car shows anymore, I sold everything else practically, so I have no way to get that money but to use this idea I just presented. If anybody wants to I am not begging (well maybe I am) Could this really happen ?? Would you do it. We all send out money to do things for foreign countries in need, buy stupid things we don't need, and spend more than that $1 or $2 doing it. Well would you help me out??? I know I would help people out in this situation !!! I have. I have been burned on a lot of things building motors, parts, etc... and I just keep taking the chance and love of the automotive world to keep doing it. I grew up poor as hell and I worked hard as hell for everything I had. I don't want to lose this car !! These Monza Coupes are rare anymore !! I won't get another one !! So who would help ?? If you want to stay annonymous or just send that $1 or $2 for a good cause PLEASE LET ME KNOW !!!

e-mail me at monzter_racing@hotmail.com or monzamark@hotmail.com. I don't get on the computer much anymore due to the finances I don't have internet at home anymore. I do try to find a place to get to the WI-FI to use the laptop.

OR just donate that $1 or $2 to
"Louie The Lizard"
Mark Francis
1340 Rose St.
Lincoln, NE 68502

I have a couple of engines I posted on here for sale on my page that I have left and I need to sell the 68 Mustang I have from the divorce as well and then I can get that money towards getting my car back !! Louie and I have a reputation on the internet and local car shows. I owned that car for several years and built it twice with a lot of blood, sweat, and even tears !! I want my car back !!! PLEASE HELP !!! It is hard for me to look at cars, car shows, racing, and even the parts to the car in my garage when I am out there anymore !! I love that car !! THAT car is all I have left !!!! (MAYBE)

Thank You if you understand !! Sorry Motortopia about this but I ran out of options and nothing looks to be in my favor these days !! If you delete this I would understand !!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Two of our fellow Motortopians have organized a campaign to help Mark out. Jeff Strong (compoman) and Ben Deutschman (bencar) have teamed up to raise as much as they can for our friend. You can make a secure donation through PayPal at this link to Ben's own webpage:

http://1960pl...com/id15.html

I want to thank you in advance for doing all you can to help a good man out in his time of need. Even if you're not in a position to make a monetary donation, please take some time to remember Mark, his ex-wife and his kids in your prayers. While you're at it, pray for the man who's holding Mark's car and tools, that he realize what he's doing is wrong and set it right.

Jim

Car Models

By CorvairJim

I've been busy! Over the past ten days I've added ten models that I've built to my garage. Since I can't afford to do anything with my Cobalt SS at the moment, I've decided to do more with my model car hobby, and Motortopia is a great venue for me to show my friends what I enjoy doing. No, they're not all Corvairs - only two of them. They range from a purely fictional 1967 Corvair Yenko Stinger convertible to a beaten and battered 1966 Corvair Corsa coupe. There's a very rare original 1970 Camaro model - the only time a 2nd-generation Camaro was made in model kit form with the regular, "Non-Rally Sport" front end, and the only one with a vinyl top molded in. I have a 1968 Firebird 400 coupe and a replica of the 1977 Firebird Esprit from "The Rockford Files" TV series from the 1970's. There's a rodded '59 Cadillac Hearse. a bone-stock '69 Barracuda fastback, a drag race-equipped '62 Bel Air Bubbletop, a modified version of an already modified 90's Caprice wagon, and a '65 Pontiac Demolition Derby special. Something for everyone! So if you have the time (and the interest), drop by my garage and check out my little dust collectors! Thanks!

Let's help out a fellow Motortopian!

By CorvairJim

My friends Pete and Sandy Robinson, screen name 1967Comet, sent me a message today asking for help in having their car named "Muscle Car of the Year" by HEMMING'S MUSCLE MACHINE magazine. They are great folks and their car is really awesome. I'm a Chevy guy and I think this FoMoCo product is worth consideration for the award, even against some other really fine cars. Take a sec and read what they sent me, copied below:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi, I was wondering if you would vote for my car for Muscle Machine of the year. This is a honor from Hemmings Magazine to be picked. There are 12 other cars competing with me for this honor. Please go to www.hemmings.com/mmoy and vote. You can only vote one time. It's the seventh car on the list. It's a white 1967 Mercury Comet. Thannks..Sandy
PS Would you let everyone else know, as I will admit that I'm not wise enough to know how it is done on this site. THANKS!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now hit on that link and check out the cars. Drool a little. Then help out a fellow Motortopian and come December buy HEMMING'S MUSCLE MACHINE and see how they did. I heartily recommend the magazine anyhow - lots of great cars every month.

Two more Corvair models

By CorvairJim

With the pleasant weather we had this past spring and another temperate week just past, I was able to finish work on a couple of Corvair model rebuilding projects I've had in the works for a couple of years (I need coolish weather to work on my models since my workroom in in the attic and the window air conditioner conked out last fall!) I rebuild-restore old car models as a hobby and these two were both unique projects, based on genuine 40+ year old annual-issue kits. The first is a 1967 Monza coupe that I changed into a convertible due to body damage that would have been nearly impossible to repair correctly. Since I was already committed to changing it drastically, I went ahead and modified it further to represent my dream Corvair: A 1967 Yenko Stinger convertible, a car that never was. You can see it's album at: http://www.mo...r-built-25892

I went a completely different direction on the second model. Thjis one is a 1966 Corsa coupe annual issue kit, but it was ROUGH! When I got it in the mail after winning it in an eBay auction, at first I wondered what I had gotten myself into. It looked like the model equivalent of the car you see on someone's front yard with a "For Sale" sign in the windshield... EUREKA! Inspiration strikes! That's the way I rebuilt it. Ironically, it turns out that it was one of the easiest models I've ever had to disassemble and strip the paint off of. It would have been a great candidate for a full-stock, factory-fresh buildup, but I had the bit in my mouth, I knew what I wanted to do with it. There was one damaged area on the body that would have been fairly easy to fix (A chip out of the back of the driver'sside rear wheel well), but I used that as my excuse to cut it up! The body got rust holes, scrapes, and dents, and the roof is even sagging a little bit in the middle from kids climbing in it! I did cheat a little and use the chassis and interior bucket from a 1969 reissue kit and kept the originals in my spares box for future restoration projects. I used the engine from the donor kit too, since the one I redid didn't come to me with one. You can see my album of this model at:
http://www.mo...e-model-25890

Check out my models and let me know what you think! I had a blast building them.

"The Driving Lesson"

By CorvairJim

A couple of weeks ago, our church had it's annual Parish picnic at the farm of a couple of our parishioners. As they do every year, they invited some neighbors to attend as well, and they brought a couple of their old cars to park with our host's "His & Hers" Morris Minors. (Our hosts are English expatriates, and they still have a love of the cars from their homeland). One of the neighbors arrived in a 1911 Ford Model T Touring Car. I didn't see it arrive, but the other neighbor was standing with their cars (he brought his '47 Ford DeLuxe convertible) and offered to answer any questions I had about the cars. I had one that I'd been hoping to have answered for some time about the Model T, specifically it's unusual (by today's standards) pedal-operated 2-speed 'Planetary' transmission. He explained the three pedals in front of the driver as being, from left to right: To shift between low and high gears, Reverse gear, and the brake (which acts on the rear wheels only. Back then, everyone knew that having brakes on the front wheels was clearly unsafe!). There is no gas pedal, that's handled by a throttle lever on the steering wheel. To drive the car, you start out with the left pedal to the floor to engage low gear, and when you want high, just let the pedal up. There is no neutral, but if the pedal is halfway up, the transmission will be slipping slightly between both forward gears and the car won't move. When you start the car, you have the handbrake set, which engages a mechanism that holds the pedal halfway down. For reverse, hold the left pedal halfway and put the middle pedal to the floor and you're in reverse. It's really simpler than it sounds... Which I found out when the car's owner showed up right about then. The first gentleman explained to the owner about my question, and the owner told me to "Get in, we're going for a drive!" Well, you don't have to tell this old car nut to do that twice; I've never sat in a 99 year old car, much less taken a ride in one! He explained that his doctor insisted that he install an electric starter in the car last year when he had a minor heart attack (The guy is 88 years old!), so he installed a starter from a 1916 Model T that he had lying around. 1916 was the first year for an electric starter in a Model T. I was sort of disappointed that I didn't get to see it started with the crank, but I didn't think to volunteer for a cranking lesson at the time, a job I would have loved to try! He hit the starter button and it cranked over a couple of times, rattled to life, and settled down to a contented slow idle. He let it idle for about half a minute and we were off! He took me for a leisurely 10-minute tour of the back roads of rural Checter County, PA, and I had a big ol' grin on my face the whole time. Itr amazed me how smoothly the old car rode, a function of it's very flexible chassis. It was made that way intentionally because of the poor quality of the roads of the time. a more rigid chassis would make for a jarring ride and slowly shake a car to pieces, as many owners of more expensive, more rigid cars found out. I may be a Chevy man, but this drive in a 99 year old Ford is an experience that I'll remember for a long time to come.

(The picture above is of a similar car to the one in the blog. The actual car was blue with black fenders. I found this picture on the internet to illustrate what the car looked like.)

Reminiscing about my Corvairs... ALL of them!

By CorvairJim

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

The subject came up recently while messaging back and forth with a friend of mine as to how many of our favorite type of car each of us have owned. I told him that I'd had 14 Corvairs and, after some thought, came up with this list (The numbers after the descriptions refer to the drivetrain the car had in "Corvair-speak" - first the engine's factory horsepower rating, then the transmission, either # of gears for a manual box or the notation "PG" for a Powerglide automatic):

1) Dark Green '65 Monza Sport Coupe - 110/4 (daily driver - posted in my garage - "Toni")
2) White '66 Monza Sport Coupe - 110/PG (parts car)
3) Maroon'66 Monza Sport Coupe - 110/PG (became a parts car after driving it for about 6 months; really rough!)
4) Silver Blue '66 500-Series Sport Sedan - 110/4 (daily driver)
5) Royal Plum (!) '67 500-Series Sport Sedan - 96/PG (daily driver)
6) Blue '61 700-Series Lakewood Station Wagon - 102/PG (sold too soon - posted in my garage - "Woodie")
7) Gold '64 Monza Sedan - 110/PG (My 1991 Corvair Society of America Convention car - posted in my garage - "Goldylocks")
8) White/Gold '63 Monza Sedan - 102/PG (became parts)
9) White '61 Greenbrier Deluxe Van - '64 truck 110/4 (semi-daily driver - posted in my garage - "The Kelvinator")
10) Dark Green '65 Corsa Convertible - 140/4 (became parts - WAY over my head in this one!)
11) Beige '65 Monza Sport Sedan - 95/4 - A/C (stolen!)
12) White/Yellow'65 Monza Sport Sedan - 140/PG (occasional driver)
13) White/Turquoise '60 700-Series Sedan - 84/PG (project with my daughter - posted in my garage - "The Smurfmobile")
14) Lemonwood Yellow '66 Monza Sport Coupe - 140/4 (my baby - posted in my garage - "Ashley")

Hey, I remembered them all! How many of your favorite model can YOU remember?

I've been posting some of my old cars...

By CorvairJim

This is the latest of several of my "No Longer Owned" cars that I've been posting recently. I've been trying to flesh out my personal "Auto-Biography". In addition to this Chevelle wagon, you can look at my '61 Corvair Lakewood 700 wagon and my '64 Corvair Monza sedan. If you have a few minutes, take a look. I hope you enjoy taking a little trip down someone else's Memory Lane!

Jim

He is RISEN!

By CorvairJim

I'd like to take the opportunity to wish all my brothers and sisters on Motortopia the happiest of Easters. Rose and I have had a blessed Lent; We both really felt the Spirit acting in our lives. I hope the same thing happened for you.

HALLELUJAH! He is RISEN!
The Lord is risen indeed! HALLELUJAH!

Jim & Rose
(CorvairJim & MAXXINE)

A 6 year old "New" photo album...

By CorvairJim

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Our scanner was down for nearly a year, but it started working again today. I don't know what she did, and neither does she, but my wife was just playing around with it, trying to get the copier portion of the all-in-one unit to work and the whole thing decided to get it's act together and work again.

When I had my '66 Corvair Monza, I carried a photo album of pictures we took on the trip home to the Philadelphia area from picking the car up in Denver in the car's glove box. When I cleaned the car out prior to selling it, I brought that album into our home office, where it sat on the book shelf right next to the computer. Well, now that the scanner works, I can finally share that road trip with all my Motortopia friends who might want to share the adventure of an 1,800 mile road trip in an antique car with me. Check it out - Rose and I had a blast on the trip... quite literally at one point, when we had a blowout at about 70 mph on the Interstate in Ohio!

Happy Birthday, Corvair!

By CorvairJim

Today, October 2, 2009, is the 50th Anniversary of the Corvair's debut in Chevrolet showrooms across the nation! Back then, it wasn't the misunderstood little car that it came to be, but rather General Motors' long-awaited answer to the Compact cars already on the market from Rambler, Studebaker, and of course Volkswagen. Corvair's rear engine layout wasn't meant to copy Volkswagen, but simply followed the logic Ferdinand Porsche used in the VW's design: A compact drivetrain concentrated at one end of the car allows more room for passengers. Rather than design a 3/4 scale full-size Chevy, they took a "clean sheet of paper" approach and started fresh. As a result, the Corvair has more usable interior room than the comparable compacts from Ford (the Falcon), Chrysler (Valiant) Rambler (American) and Studebaker (Lark - even though the Lark was based on an old Studebaker full-size platform, dating back to 1953!). Today, folks believe that the Corvair never sold well, but the fact is that in it's first model year alone more than a quarter million cars were sold! Keep in mind that, when it was introduced the buyer had his choice of a 4-door sedan in one of two trim levels. That's it - the coupe came at midyear, along with the Top-of-the-line Monza trim level, exclusive to the coupe in 1960.

In 1961, production increased to nearly 300,000 cars with the introduction of a Monza sedan and two levels of station wagon. 1962 saw the introduction of the world's first successful car with a factory Turbocharged engine, the 150 horsepower Corvair Monza Spyder. The station wagon became available with Monza trim for it's shortened model year - it was discontinued mid-year to free up production for the new Corvair convertible, available only as a Monza or Monza Spyder. Production still topped 250,000. 1963 was basically a carryover year, but 1964 saw a marked improvement in handling with the addition of a camber-compensating transverse leaf spring to the rear swing axle independant suspension. That was just a foretaste of what was to come the following year...

1965 saw the introduction of the "Late Model" body, with it's fully independant suspension. The Monza Spyder name was superceeded by the Corsa badge, and the Turbo engine, newly upgraded to 180 horses, became an option with a 4-carb, 140 hp engine standard on the Corsa and available throughout the rest of the Corvair line. '66 saw general refinements to the car with seat belts, a driver's side rear view mirror and back-up lights becoming standard by federal law. '67 was more of the same, including several federally-mandated improvements, a collapsible steering column and a dual circuit master cylinder among them. '67 was also the final year for the 4-door Sport Sedan which, in base 500-series trim, was the least expensive 4-door hardtop available in America (I once owned one of these rare cars - fewer that 3,000 built - made even rarer due to it's having the 4-carb engine and a 4-speed stick!) By 1968, the handwriting was on the wall, and production slumped to only 15,399 units. The final year, 1969, was even worse, with only an even 6,000 cars built, spread among 500-Series coupes and Monza coupes and convertibles.

Then there were the "Corvair 95" trucks (So named for their 95" wheelbase). These unique little vehicles were incredibly practical for their owners. The Rampside pickup got it's name from, well, a ramp in the right side of the pickup bed that lowered to street level to make loading and unloading easier than it ever has been in any other pickup not equipped with a tailgate lift! The pickup was also available without the ramp. Called the "Loadside", it undercut the price of the Rampside but was never anything like as popular due to the increased practicality of it's more expensive stablemate. There were also a pair of vans available: The panel-sided Corvan and the Greenbrier Sport Wagon with windows all around.

There are examples of nearly every year and body style of Corvair owned by fellow members of Motortopia. So on this 50th anniversary of this unique car's introduction, why not take a few minutes and take a look. There are some VERY impressive cars and trucks available for your viewing pleasure just by running a search for "Corvair" under the "Cars" tab at the top of the page.

Farewell, good and loyal friend.

By CorvairJim

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

It's happened to most of us: For one reason or another, we lose a car we are attached to before we're ready to let go. Well, that happened to me today.

Our financial situation has been going steadily downhill over the past year or so due to cutbacks at work. Our household budget was built around the 8-16 hours of overtime that I could depend on coming in every 2-week pay period. We bought my wife a new car in late 2004, and I got my Cobalt SS in September 2005. Everything was going smoothly... until Rose's work hours were cut in half due to on-the-job injury. The company doctor said she can only work 4 hours a day. Worker's Comp doesn't cover the entire difference, but my O/T was still there so we were still staying above water by just trimming some fat from the budget here and there. Then the other shoe dropped and my O/T went away about a year ago. Things started slipping, like maintenance around the house. Then, about a week ago, the water heater blew and we didn't have the money to replace it.

Something had to give, and that turned out to be my Corvair. I had a standing offer on the car from a friend for several years, and last Monday I contacted him and told him that I'd finally take his offer. Today, we took Ashley on her final drive as my car. We took her from our home in suburban Philly up to the Pocono Mountains (a very pleasant drive, by the way - the weather was perfect), and I signed the title over at about one o'clock this afternoon.

We owned her for over 6 years and had a lot of fun with her. We found her on eBay and flew out to Denver to drive her home. We love a good cross-country road trip. Rose learned to drive stick shift on that trip! The car took us safely to two Corvair Club national conventions. One of them included single-day drives of over 750 miles each way without a hiccup. The local 5.0 Mustangs learned to respect her - we had a record of 13-0 against 5.0's at traffic lights. I especially enjoyed dusting a BMW Z-3 on a twisty back road last fall, ironically in the Poconos, within miles of where she now 'lives'.

Her new owner has serious plans for a complete cosmetic restoration. The car is already nearly 100% mechanically, so some minor bodywork, a complete stripping down to the metal and a repaint in the original Lemonwood Yellow, and a new reproduction interior are in her immediate future. Anyone in the area of the Poconos can visit her at "Callie's Candy Kitchen" in Mountainhome, PA. Most nice days, at least until she goes in for her makeover, she should be on display in front of the shop. Her new owner, Harry Callie, is a collector with over a dozen interesting old cars on an informal rotating display schedule at that location, with several Model A's at his other store, "Callie's Pretzel Factory", about 1 1/2 miles south.

I'm going to miss my car. I had a lot of fun with her. She was the best Corvair by far of the 14 I've owned. At least I know where she is and can visit any time I have a day to drive the 100 or so miles. I know she is in good hands and will get the restoration she deserves.

Goodbye, my friend. We had some good times.

Two New Albums

By CorvairJim

Well folks, I've been busy with my trusty Nikon Coolpix again! Last night I went to the August edition of Pottstown, PA's monthly "Nostalgia Nights" show, and as usual I took plenty of pictures. I split the pictures I took into two albums, for a rason I'll describe in a second. Good News! Neither of these albums is nearly as long as I usually put on here! In fact, the two of them combined are shorter than most of them! My format for the first one changed a little - I used to shoot EVERY car that caught my eye, regardless of whether I had shot it before or not. This time I concentrated on cars that, if I hadn't taken their pictures before, it had at least been a long time since I had.

The second one is VERY different, even though it was shot at the same time: While I was there, I came across a professional photo shoot featuring a fully customized '53 Chevy 2-door sedan and not one but TWO beautiful Pin-Up Girls! I met one of these ladies at this show last year and took her picture beside a customized '59 El Camino. That shot has gone on to draw more comments than just about any other picture I've posted on Motortopia! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to capture this on my trusty digital camera (I almost said 'on film'!) for all of you to enjoy.

(WARNING: Most of the pictures in this album are at least borderline risque, although it was all done in fun. There were parents there with young children there. If you find this sort of thing offensive, please don't bother to check out this album!)

Check out the new "Independant Challengers" Group!

By CorvairJim

I've been accused a lot over the past several months of cheating in the challenge game, but it took another member (LouieLouie) getting sick of seeing it in the comments to come up with a great idea: Form a group dedicated to fairness in voting in the challenge game! Yes, I know I was with a couple of challenge groups in the past, but I left them months back with no ill feelings that I know of from the members of those groups. It was such a feeling of freedom to vote for the rides I felt were best in the challenges and not just for friends rides. Funny, many of those guys have some of the best cars in the challenges, and I still vote for them, not because friends own them but because they're simply the better car in the challenge involved. So check out the "Independant Challengers" group, read what LouieLouie has to say about it and just think about it. Here's a link to the group's page:

http://www.mo...t_challengers

Jim

Our resident "Bad Apple" is at it again!

By CorvairJim

andylynn67 has sunk to a new low. read what he had to say about 1962ChevyGuy in a comment in a current challenge:


andylynn67 Apr 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm
Hmmmm !! Big mouth gay guy(not that there is anything wrong with that LOL) or cool Porsche !!
Well this will be easy

OK, I know what I did to get him all hot and bothered at me: I dared to vote for a car in a challenge that he didn't like! HORRORS! How could I dare do stupid thing like that, vote for a very nice Honda CRX over a soon-to-be completed VW Bug that promised to be very nice itself once it was finished. I even commented that I liked the Bug, and if I had known that the points were going as badly against it as they were, that I would have sent a few votes it's way. Yes, voting was going very much against the Volkswagen, and it was going to be a very nice car once it was finished, but I wasn't the only one who preferred the Honda. For some reason known only to andylynn67, he singled me out for his diatribes. Perhaps it was because I like Corvairs. Since both Corvairs and VW Bugs are air-cooled, Andylynn67 just assumed that I voted for the Honda because it's owned by a friend of mine. He clearly didn't look at my friends list - if he had, he would have noticed that the VW owner was ALSO ON MY FRIENDS LIST!!! :lmao:

Anybody who knows "Chevy Guy" will tell you that he's as straight as they come. I don't want to come off as judgemental in this issue, but andylynn should at least get his facts "straight"! "Big Mouth"? I don't think I've ever seen him write a sentence of more that four words! I don't know what "Chevy Guy" could have possibly done or said to incur the hateful wrath of andylynn67, but whatever it was, it was bad enough for him to present blatant HATE SPEECH in a public forum for everybody to read. If it were up to me, this bad apple would be plucked from Motortopia and thrown in the compost heap where bad apples belong. This is supposed to be a fun, friendly website, and I don't think we need people like andylynn67 messing things up for those of us who are here for fun and friendship! If you agree with me, please let Motortopia know!

My response to andylynn67's challenge blog.

By CorvairJim

I voted in a challenge recently, with a very nice Honda CRX up against an equally nice Volkswagen Super Beetle. I voted my own preferences, by the criteria set in the challenges; those being Performance, Styling, and Overall. Now, as you can read in the comment I left on the challenge, which I "Cut & Pasted" below, I like BOTH cars, but voting just in the categories, I realized that the Honda would out-perform the VW, it's styling is much more to my liking, and overall. I'd rather own the Honda over the Beetle. Yes, the owner of the Honda is a friend of mine. No, that didn't weigh into my decision in the least! Sounds strange, coming from the owner of many air-cooled cars over the years, but it's the truth. However, some disgruntled members with a chip on their shoulder, can't seem to get it thtrough their heads that a person can't possibly disagree with them! So I've taken the liberty of posting a couple of messages that are on Motortopia already (Look them up on the challenge in question), as well as the one sent to me personally. Let me know what you think of the situation. First, here's andylynn67's blog post in it's entirety, through the magic of "Cut & Paste":
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WOW!!!
Feb 20, 2009 | Views: 23

By andylynn67

I hate to say that I am very upset to pop back in here and see the same old ! The same clowns are challenging everyone and regardless off the car (no longer owned,or no Info etc!) they all vote for their friends. Is this fun??? It is the same people(no names will be metioned), but if you have been here as long as I have you will know exactly who I am talking about. And the biggest sore loser that wold cry and beg for votes is still at it (can't say his name but starts with A ) LMAO!!!!!
That's it for me, Done here .. Don't have time to play
Cheer to my good buds
And new Buds!!!!
Andy
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Now, this is my comment posted on the challenge: (AUSUMCRX vs. The Bug http://www.mo..._the_bug/o/6)

Feb 17, 2009 at 11:13 am
Whew! I've gotta go Honda here, but I like the Bug, too. If I'd realized the VW was getting pounded so badly, I would have voted differently, since it deserves better than it's been getting so far (No offense to the CRX).
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Seriously, does this sound like I had it in for the Volkswagen? Still, here's andylynn67's personal message to me:

Subject: Jim Jim Jim
From: andylynn67
Date: Feb 19, 2009 10:19 pm
Report as Spam

I can't believe you voted for a no longer owned Honda piece of crap over a VW!!!! And for a clown that begs for votes. No need to reply you are toast as a buddy
LMAO !!!! I am gone from here.
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Afterwards, andylynn67 added this comment to the cahllenge:

Yesterday at 10:34 pm
The Bug Rocks!! Bud, sadly some people here feel it is more important to vote for friends. No names will be mentioned, but you will see them over and over and over agin with lame comments. So if comments are meant to be fun they are having all the fun winning cheap thrills.
I'm done and gone
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All I can say is that he just doesn't get it. Sure, I know full well that some folks vote for their friends - that's just human nature. But some of us take the challenges more seriously, and enjoy the competition for the sake of competition. I lke to think that people like my cars and vote for THEM, not just because I own them but because they're great cars. I like Andy's '67 Camaro, and I've voted for it in several challenges in the past. Should I have voted for his opponent just because he was on my friends list? No, that wouldn't make any sense, now would it! Still, he seems to think everybody should think the way he does and vote the way he does. Sad.

Some really GREAT car models!

By CorvairJim

I've recently posted three albums of pictures of model cars built by a gentleman I met online about a year ago. I answered an ad of his on eBay about a very well detailed model he was selling, and we got into a discussion of what it takes to build a model of the caliber of the ones he was selling. He graciously e-mailed me the pictures I've included in these albums. Two of the albums go into detail about the restoration of a couple of models to his high standards. These models were built back when the kits were new in the 1960s, and he completely dismantled them, stripped any paint, fixed any defects in the [plastic (including a couple of major errors in the design of the body of one of them, a 1969 Chevy Impala SS convertible), rechromed the chrome pieces, and painted them in original factory colors. The other restoration album is a 1962 Chevy II Nova convertible, which he modified by installing a small-block V-8 in place of the original straight-6. The third album shows pictures of three of his other creations: a '69 Impala SS hardtop, a '74 Impala coupe, and a 1965 Chevy Bel Air (or is it a Biscayne - I don't recall!) 2-door sedan. This one id built with a non-original body sourced from the growing model car aftermarket. (chevy66babe, are you listening? This one's real close to your car!) If you have any interest in excellent workmanship, you owe it to yourself to check out these three albums, all under the heading "Curbside 66", the gentleman's eBay screen name.

I finally got pictures of my car models posted!

By CorvairJim

I've been building model cars since I was about 10 years old (with a break in my late teens-early 20's), and it's an aspect of the car hobby that I really enjoy. No, car models aren't just for kids - I even formed an enthusiast's group here on Motortopia about 10 days ago that has almost a dozen members already! Please take a few minutes and check out my models, and let me know what you think. Also, take a look at the group's page. The other members of the "Automobile Modelers of Motortopia" have some fantastic models on display there, too!

NEW GROUP: Automobile Modelers of Motortopia

By CorvairJim

After discussing the idea with a few friends, I've finally decided the time has come for Motortopia to have a group for those of us who enjoy building car models. There is already a group dedicated to collectors of Diecast models, but the new group is for those of us who like to put our own personal touch on our scale cars. The group isn't just for plastic kit builders - folks who modify diecast models, build R/C and slot cars, and anything beyond simply opening a box and putting the car on the shelf are welcome. Diecast models have a place in the model hobby (I have several myself), but builders take a model and make it uniquely their own. If you're interested, drop by the group's page and check it out. There isn't much there yet - I don't have any pictures posted, and I seem to have misplaced my camera!

Corvair Monza: the inspiration for the Mustang

By CorvairJim

Those folks who know me well know that I am a voracious reader. I rarely go anywhere without a paperback book or a magazine stuffed in my back pocket. Well, about twenty tears ago, I went through a period of reading biographies instead of my usual mysterys, crime dramas, or science fiction, just for a change of pace. One of the more interesting books I read during that time was "IACOCCA: An Autobiography" by Lee Iacocca, past Chairman of the Ford Motor Company. Being a Corvair enthusiast, there was a paragraph on pages 63-64 in "Chapter VI: The Mustang" that particularly interested me. I quote it here verbatim:

"We knew that General Motors had taken the Corvair, an economy car, and transformed it into the hot-selling Corvair Monza simply by adding a few sporty accessories such as bucket seats, stick shift, and fancy interior trim. We at Ford had nothing to offer the people who were considering a Monza, but it was clear to us that they represented a growing market."

As most of you reading this know, I'm heavily into the challenge game here on Motortopia, but I like to challenge cars as similar to mine as possible. When entering my 1966 Corvair Monza in challenges against Mustangs and other Pony Cars, I will often cite this passage, although not as a direct quote as I have done here. Let's face it - there aren't too many cars on Motortopia that compare directly to the Corvair, so I have to take my challenges where I find them. Since the Corvair Monza was the inspiration for the Mustang and, by extension the entire Pony Car class, I feel justified in challenging those cars.

Attention Corvair Fans!!!

By CorvairJim

This evening, I acted on an idea that I've been kicking around for a couple of weeks now: To raise awareness of the Corvair in the hearts and minds of our fellow Motortopians, I've formed a new Enthusiast's group: The Corvair Mafia! This name came from an offhand remark I made a month or more ago in a challenge comment. The purpose is simply to encourage Corvair owners to participate more in the Challenges, to get the Corvair out in the public view as a viable hobby/enthusiast car. It is specifically NOT A CHALLENGE GROUP!!! No member has to vote for any car, Corvair or otherwise. Rather, they are openly encouraged to vote for whichever car they like the best in any and all ctgories. As stated above, our sole purpose is to raise awareness of our great little car!

What has happened to manners around here?

By CorvairJim

Some times your words can come back to bite you. 1fast_mazda found that out, and apparently he doesn't like it. I, along with at least half a dozen members that I know of, complained to Motortopia about his abusive, vulgar comments on challenges against his friend's cars. Motortopia revoked his comment privilege, and he seems to believe I did it myself. Now, we all know that no member can pull another member's right to make a comment on a challenge - only Motortopia itself can do that. You can block incoming messages from individual members, but that's the extent of it. That seems to have escaped 1fast_mazda's notics, because, according to him, I somehow managed to do it all on my own! Now he's resorted to issuing personal threats! I have to wonder about this guy. Here's a "Cut-And-Paste" of a message he sent me yesterday. I took the liberty of "Bleeping" one word because this is supposed to be a family-friendly website. All I can tell you is that what he wrote is a crude reference to a part of the male anatomy...

keep blocking me you crippled p****, next time i will run you and your wheel chair over in my yoder. hope you fall down the stairs.... good luck have a nice day

Now, I don't know where he got the idea that I'm in a wheelchair; judging by his picture, I'm in better shape than he is! Also, can someone please explain to me just what a "yoder" is??? I'm assuming it's some sort of car by the way he uses the word (Toyota?). Whatever the case, it sounds to me like a threat, which is a felony in all 50 states. Motortopia knows his address, so if they agree that this IS a threat, I'm sure his hometown Police will be notified.

Personal Attacks

By CorvairJim

There's a newcomer to Motortopia that seems to think it's OK to trash cars he finds in the challenges if they don't live up to his expectations. Mostly, he seems to think a friend's cars are "All That" and anything in a challenge against one of his cars is, in his words, a "Turd" (My '66 Corvair) or a "P.O.S." (newfinish's Grand Prix). If you know either of these cars, you know that they are good cars, not at all what he makes them out to be. This newbie's screen name is 1fast_mazda, and he's finally decided to get involved in a couple of challenges himself, including one against me, with his high school hot rod, a warmed-over Mustang. Check out his challenges with me and "okhorsepower" (That's all for him, at least so far), and vote your mind. Feel free to leave any comments that you feel are deserved. And, if you truly feel that his Mustang is a better car than my Corvair (currently 12-0 on the strip against similar 5.0 Mustangs, and 3-0 on the autocross course) or the other car, that's the way you should vote.

A Water Pump for a Corvair?

By CorvairJim

In a response to yesterday's blog about car names, vair95 commented something about asking a counterman at a NAPA store what kind of antifreeze would be best for a Corvair. Now, keep in mind that Corvairs are AIR COOLED, so they don't use antifreeze! This brought to mind a great little story from my Corvairing past. Here is the response I sent to him, broght to you through the wonders of "Cut & Paste" (with a little editing to correct a few editorial mistakes... ):

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

From the time I bought my first Corvair in the fall of 1980, I made a practice of going to the parts counter of a Chevy agency (or calling them on the phone) on April Fool's Day and asking for a water pump for my Corvair. In all that time, only TWO countermen caught it roght off. ONLY TWO!!!

The best one was in 1984 (I think... ), when I was working as the Get-Ready Manager at the local Chevy-Olds dealer. I went to the Parts Dept. around 10:00 and specifically waited for Ed, the old-timer, to be available. Ed had worked there since 1954, so he was a Chevy parts guy throught the entire life-cycle of the Corvair. Well, he first went to the computer to look it up... and couldn't find anything! (Imagine that!) So then, he grabbed a Parts Manual from under the counter and thumbed through it for several minutes. By this time, the Parts Manager had come up to Ed and asked what he was looking for, so Ed told him "Jim needs a water pump for his Corvair, and I can't seem to find the damn thing"! The Manager told him to keep looking, he was sure he'd come up with it sooner or later. About this time, the parts driver came in, and the Manager took him to the back of the storeroom for a minute. When they came back, very quietly, they both had these big ol' s*** eatin' grins on their faces. Ed then went up to the attic area, where they kept the old, obsolete parts and manuals and rooted around up there for a while. By this time, it had been at least 15 minutes, and the manager had quietly called the service manager and the general manager, both of whom walked by and gave me a quick nudge and a wink when Ed wasn't looking. A couple of minutes later, though, Ed FINALLY looked up at me from the manual he was looking through for at least the third time, very red-faced, and all but roared :"A WATER PUMP FOR A CORVAIR???" He then hurled the manual at me, which I sidestepped quickly! This is when I said, "Happy April Fools Day, Ed"! The Parts Manager got on the P.A. system and announced that "Ed has finally found out that he will never find a water pump for Jim's Corvair". Apparently he had heard that word of the prank had spread throughout the entire dealership...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I suppose I should saved this for, say, April Fool's Day, but it came to mind on Thanksgiving, so that's when I'm posting it. Now here's the challenge for all of you out there in Motortopia: What stories do you have about HARMLESS pranks or jokes that you have played on others concerning YOUR pride and joy?

Why did you name your car what you did?

By CorvairJim

After I posted my blog about all the cars on Motortopia named "Beast" yesterday, I received a response from a friend, K1M_and_TH3_1MJIMID8TOR, asking just why people name their cars what they do. Good question, but it seems that most people do name their cars, whether they're car people or not. My Grandparents on both sides of the family did, and none of them looked at a car as anything more than a way to get from here to there. When my folks were married in early 1960, my dad had a '58 Impala 348/Power Pack that my mom, having shared a 6-cylinder '57 Chevy 150 with her mother, simply could not handle. My dad surprised her one evening when he arrived home from work with a brand new 1960 Corvair coupe - he traded in his pride and joy to make things easier for his bride (The guy was a romantic then, and still is!). They decided to name the little guy "Archie", and their tradition of naming their cars alphabetically started then. The main car's name was spelled with a capital letter, and any second car would start with the same letter, but in lower-case. In 1962, with one kid already and me on the way, the Corvair was traded in on "Boris" a black 1962 Biscayne 2-door sedan. He got his name because he was bought at "Borss Chevrolet". During Boris's reign, they got a second car so my mom would have wheels while my dad was at work. This was a brown '53 Bel Air sedan named "buster". Later on, buster was replaced by a '63 Corvair Monza sedan, "bucky". As the years went on, Boris gave way to "Casper the Friendly Station Wagon" ('66 Bel Air), "The Dragon Wagon" ('69 Kingswood Estate), "Erik the Red" (Firethorn Red '77 Impala wagon) and so on. Meanwhile, bucky was replaced by my late Grandmother's '65 Chevy II, named "Sunny" by my then 3 year old brother when the car was new. Mom inherited the car in 1968, and it became my first car in 1980. Sunny was replaced by a bright red 1976 AMC Pacer, probably the last car in the state of Pennsylvania to sell new under $3,000... It was a stripped leftover that my folks bought in November of 1977! This car became "eohiphus" (a prehistoric ancestor of the modern-day horse, but the size of a medium-sized dog. Therefore, it was a "little horse", and of course a "Pacer" is a kind of horse, so it makes sense. We always called the car "littlehorse" anyway!), and they gave me this car later on as well.

When I started buying my own cars, I decided to keep the family tradition alive and name them alphabetically (ay least at first... That changed later on.) The first car I actually bought was "Antoinette" ("Toni"), a 1965 Corvair Monza coupe, and the car that started my love affair with Corvairs that obviously goes on to this day. We didn't go with the lower-case second cars, though, preferring to continue naming them serially. About a year after getting Toni, I had the opportunity to buy a 1976 Buick LeSabre 4-door hardtop for $500! It was a former Police unmarked that had become too well known to be effective in the smallish town it served (West Chester, PA), so they sold it off. The car was white with a maroon vinyl top and reminded me and my (then) wife of a southern gentleman-type car, so we gave it a southern gentleman-type name:"Beauregard" ("Beau"). This car would pass anything but a gas station, and dusted a bunch of high school kids who thought I was out in daddy's car! A 4-barrel 455 with true dual exhaust and no catalytic converters to block things up (yes, the cops did away with the cats!), as well as a shift kit that I had installed on the Turbo 400 will do things like that, even on a 5,000 lb car. Enough of the life stories... These are some of the other cars I've had and their names:

1973 Chevelle Laguna Station Wagon - "Carlotta" (I-a bought her at-a the used-a car lott-a where I-a worked at at the time! We eventually just called her "Carly", because Carlotta was too much of a mouthful for our very young kids)

1966 Corvair Monza coupe - "Degas" (I got artistic on this one with pinstriping, doing it up like a Trans Am Special Edition!)

1966 Corvair 500 sport sedan - "Esmerelda"

1980 Honda Accord sedan - "Farley", after the dog in the "For Better Or For Worse" comic strip, a favorite of my older daughter at the time)

1979 Chevy Malibu coupe - "Glinda" (My ex's car, named after the Good Witch of the North... Ironic, since she turned out to be a bit of a bad witch toward me later on...)

1986 Buick Century station wagon - "Hezekiah"

1965 Corvair Monza sport sedan - "Sir Issac" for my favorite Science Fiction writer, Isaac Asimov

1989 Beretta GT - "Jezebel" (She looked like a "fast lady" - and she was. She was blue, so we called her "Blue J")

1961 Corvair Greenbrier sport van - "The Kelvinator" (it was white and looked like a refrigerator on wheels! I know, Kelvinator was part of AMC and GM had a different appliance division, but the "K" fit!)

About this time, the alphabetizing plan fell apart, and cars were just named whatever seemed appropriate for them:

1964 Corvair Monza sedan - "Goldilocks" (she was gold!)

1960 Corvair 700 sedan - "Eddie" (for Ed Cole, the father of the Corvair, among other things)

1999 Chevy Venture Minivan - "Joy" (Rose's van, from her vanity plate "JESU JOY", her favorite hymn)

1963 Corvair Monza sedan "Little Golaith" (the name the original owner, who I bought the car from, had given it. I figured that since the car had been going by that name since new, it would be a shame to make it learn a new one!)

1999 Cavalier coupe - "Sylvester" (It was black, and my daughter Sarah - ladidragon18 on Motortopia - said it kinda reminded her of the Warner Bros. cartoon cat!)

My current 1966 Corvair Monza coupe - "Ashley" (The name of the daughter/office manager of the classic car dealer who sold me the car on eBay. She was very helpful all through the process, even helping with arrangements for Rose and me to pick up the car at the airport in Denver so we could drive it home to the Philly area. The car is pretty and yellow, and Ashley was a cute blonde, so it seemed natural. And before you get any ideas, Rose suggested the name!)

My current 2006 Cobalt SS - "Bud" (I'm a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fan, so when I bought my first-ever new car, I got it exactly the way I wanted it. Since Jr. was driving a red Chevy SS in NASCAR at the time, and the Cobalt looks good in red, that's the color I bought. Now of course Jr. was sponsored by Budweiser at the time, and his race car had "Bud" written across the hood in 3-foot high letters. The car sorta named itself!)

Rose's current 2005 Chevy Malibu MAXX (Yep, that's the way Chevy spelled it, all in capitals!) - "MAXX" (Well, that's what it says on her hatch, and it seemed to fit the car's personality: Biggish, semi-tough looking, but with a bit of a fun-loving spirit)

With all the cars I've owned over the years, there are several I've just plain forgotten, and somethat I never got around to naming because I never got them on the road.

Now it's YOUR turn! Why did YOU name your car what you named it???

A current challenge well worth looking into..

By CorvairJim

A good friend of mine, 64_VERT_VAIR, sent out this message tonight, and it seemed so important to me that I just had to make sure everybody saw it. Now, I wouldn't beg for votes any more than Dave would but, like he says, if you should just happen to click on the link below and maybe vote impartially in the challenge for either his high-mileage old truck or MY WIFE MAXXINE's carefully maintained, economical, sporty-looking, comfortable, shiny, silver sport sedan, That would be OK with me, too! The paragraph below is Dave's message:

64_VERT_VAIR says: Every Rose has a thorn and I'm in pain. I hate it when people send out messages begging for votes so I will not stoop so low.............. but if the link "HAPPENED" to show up below and you "HAPPENED" to vote for one of the cars - I guess that would be alright.

http://www.mo..._vs_maxx/o/33


MAXXINE

We've got more "BEASTS" than the zoo!

By CorvairJim

The_Dude posed an interesting question as a comment on a challenge earlier today: Just how many cars on Motortopia are called "The Beast" (or some variation thereof). I had thought about that question myself on occasion, so I took it on myself to find out. By searching keyword "Beast" on the "Cars" tab, I came up with close to 200 hits, 152 of which had the word "Beast" somewhere in the name. That's right: 152 BEASTLY CARS ON MOTORTOPIA!!! Of those, 32 are simply "Beast", while 80 more are "The Beast" (Unfortunately, one of the beasts has shed this mortal coil: "The Beast R.I.P." Also we've got two "The Beast II"s, one "Da Beast" and one "Tha Beast").

Some of the "Beasts" are quite colorful - we've got seven "Blue Beast"s, four "Black Beast"s, three are green, two each red and yellow, and one each pink, teal, and burgundy. We even have a "Blueberry Beast"!

Several members rides have "Beast" somewhere in the name, like current Challenge participant Camela 'The Beast' Camaro. In no particular order, we have an "Inferno Beast", a "Mean Beast", a "She Beast", a "Little Beast", a "Jeep Beast", "The Hell Beast", and two "Mini Beast"s. One member even has "Beauty and the Beast, all in one Package"!

By make, it seems that Chevy owners think their cars to be the most Beastly - There are 59 Chevy Beasts! Ford is next with 32... 33 if you include a Saleen-badged car, and 34 if you also include an R/C Monster Truck! From there, the Beasts go as follows: Pontiac - 15, Dodge - 13, GMC - 4, Jeep - 3, two each for BMW, Chrysler, Honda, Mercury, and Toyota, and one each from Acura, AMC, BMC/Mini (That's the original one, not the current car), Lancia, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Porsche, and Saturn. Last but not least, there's also a Beastly Kawasaki motorcycle!
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