Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bianchi goes home...

Stricken Marussia F1 driver Jules Bianchi has left Japan some seven weeks after his horrific accident at Suzuka and been flown home to France via Air Ambulance to continue his recovery in hospital in Nice...

Mr. Le Mans retires

When I first spotted the news of "Mr. Le Mans" pending news conference, (Tuesday) I immediately thought he's retiring? To which now it's become official, as Tom Kristensen has announced his last  race will be in Brazil in just over a week's time.

The 47yr 'Dane is legendous' for being the all time winner at le Circuit de la Sarthe, having won the coveted 24 Heurs du Mans an unprecedented nine times and surely will be missed at next year's epic endurance race...

AUTOS: Florence Rods 'N Rhodies Car Show serendipitous Trans Am connection

Mark Donohue's Team Penske Javelin Trans Am machine. (Image source:
Continuing on with another mushrooming story; Hey, that's the way I tend to roll here in Nofendersville; Hya! As I simply cannot seem to write a short story, eh?

More Rods 'N Rhodies Highlights
Prior to reaching the never seen before Chevy Fleetline's, we came across another vehicle I'd never  seen in the flesh. As this black beauty immediately grabbed my Attenzione, due to its hunkered down stance, whilst the large round AMX badge*?) on its rear side windows flanks, known in car parlance as the C Pillar, leapt out at Mwah, causing me to ask Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen what it said? Oh, I think that those cars were raced in the Trans Am series by Penske and Donohue, to which she mused: Should we ask its owner sitting behind  I-T? To which I curtly said Nah and we kept going.

Yet, that black beast weighed on my mind, asking Mary Ellen to circle back to it after we'd looked at the first few vehicles on the opposite side of the street, for which I really didn't pay too much Attenzione to, other then when Mary Ellen asked 'bout the Hot Rod with no front cowling, fenders or hood - looking straight outta American Graffiti: What do you do when it rains? I chortled back, Drive Faster; Hooah!

Thus we gravitated back towards  the AMX which was pulling heavily upon my heartstrings now, where this time Mary Ellen chatted up its very amiable owner by proclaiming: My friend Tomaso here claims that the AMX was raced in the Trans Am series, is that correct?

Yes, they were raced by Roger Penske and Mark Donohue and set some 100+ speed records! Although I tend to remember more its sibling, the Javelin better, which I've seen Donohue's car being raced in Vintage Trans Am events multiple times by Kenny Epsmn, most notably at Pacific Raceways during SOVREN's annual Pacific Northwest Historics event held over the 4th 'O July weekend in Kent, WA.

He told me a fact unknown to Mwah, that the AMX's wheelbase is 96-inches, with the Javelin's being longer at 110-inches; to which I mused that sounds pretty short. Having now learned that the AMX's 97-inch wheelbase was just one-plus inches shorter than the Corvette's and hence garnered praise as an affordable option vs. the pricier 'Vette.

Yet the Javelin, which presumably competed against potential AMX buyers? Was American Motors Corporation's (AMC) answer to the then red hot "Pony Cars" war, being their two-door coupe version in this market segment. With the longer 'N larger Javelin owing its size due to having actual back seat room for passengers along with a fairly large trunk, as the Javelin was the four-seat version of the AMX.

He also proclaimed that in 1968-69 approximately 8,000 were produced each year, with only 4,000 being built in 1970, of which he owned two!

The particular example I was oogling over, or was that drooling? Careful Tomaso, Yuhs don't wanna make spots on  it; Hooah! Was a  beautiful, and NARLY 1970 "Raven" black AMX which he told us he'd bought from its original owner in 1972! And it had a 390cid V-8 motor mated to a 4-speed manual transmission, with the motor being slightly  "built," producing an estimated 425bhp...

As what I really enjoy about AMC's marketing of the AMX is that they could be ordered with the performance orientated "Go Package!"

Mary Ellen, as typical, asked the pertinent questions, i.e.; where are you from and did you drive here, etc. To which he told us he'd originally been from Albany but now lived in Stayton and that he'd trailered the car to the show, which later we'd discover where all of the trailers were parked.

Then she spotted a Deckle' (decal) on its rear window for the Stayton Car Show honouring Brent Strohmeyer, to which she asked: Who's 'Dat? Oh, he was a kid who got killed in a car accident when he went for a ride with his buddy in a Cobra 427 and his father wanted to do something in his honour, and since he loved cars...

It's a real nice car show and they had about 260 cars this year, its during summer and Y'all should check I-T out he told us before we said our goodbyes.

AMX Trivia
Otay, I'll confess, I don't think I ever knew about the AMX, confuzing it instead with its "big Brother," the Javelin, which I primarily know about due to its Trans Am association, with Mark Donohue winning the 1971-72 titles for 'El Capitano, nee Roger Penske.

True to his word, the AMX, Americres' first two-seat steel body production Sports Car since Ford's "Baby Bird," aka 1955-57 Thunderbird did indeed set some 106 Speed and Endurance records in the hands of Craig Breedlove, his wife Lee and racing driver Ron Dykes., with the heavily modified AMX's being breathed on by the renown TRACO Engineering Company.

'Whale, that's how I remember it being called, along with most notably being the company that "Massaged" that 'Uber  NASTY No. 6 Ferrari 512M that Roger Penske ran in Sunoco blue with Mark Donohue and David Hobbs at the keyboard...

1968 Playboy Playmate of the Year Angela Dorian receiving her 1968 American Motors AMX. (Image source:
On the lighter side, the AMX was affiliated with Playboy in a marketing agreement and was publicly launched at Daytona Speedway in February, 1968, with AMC having also produced a signature Playboy Pink chassis given to 1968 Playmate of The Year Angela Dorian, who's personalized vehicle included her  measurements of 36-24-35 as its Dashboard Number Plate!

Miss Dorian, whose real name was Victoria Vetri, originally was Playboy's playmate of the Month in September, 1967 before ascending to her crown in '68, where upon being named Playmate of the Year she was awarded $20,000 in prizes, most notably the AMX, along with a gold watch, skis, clothing, a guitar and an abundance of electronics

Born in San Francisco in 1944, Victoria pursued a modeling and acting career, along with singing and playing guitar, and landed the lead role of one of the original Perry Mason TV episodes along with movie work, mainly starring in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, (1970 where she refused to  die her hair blonde and her producer considered her a "Nitwit!"

Upon finally marrying in 1986 to Bruce Rathgeb, apparently life came crashing down in the fall of 2010, as she was arrested for the attempted murder of her husband, with bail being set at $1.53 million. After having the charge of attempted murder dropped to aggravated voluntary  manslaughter the  following year, she pleaded no contest in September, 2011; with the National Enquirer calling her "Slaymate!"

Her husband of 25yrs survived her attack, while Victoria is currently incarcerated for nine years, having just celebrated her 70th birthday in state prison...

For Part 3's conclusion of this Mondo' Car Show expose, see; AUTOS: Florence Rods 'N Rhodies Car Show - 'Vette's 'N More

Monday, November 17, 2014

AUTOS: Rods 'N Rhodies Car Show a Low Key affair in the "Other" Florence...

Black 1970 AMC AMX. (Image source:
For months now, I've been mentioning how I'd expected to be traveling to what's now known here in Nofendersville affectionately as thee "Other" Florence, aka Oregon's magnificent Sand Dunes; NOT Italy's town where some 'lil 'Ol statue of David sits; Hooah!

Rods 'N Rhodies recap
What better excuse to go to  Florence to visit our friends whilst staying at the renown Honeyman State Park than tying the trip in with my Debutant outing to Florence's annual Rods 'N Rhodies Car Show.

Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen, my esteemed Chauffer, Cook, Bottle Washer and most importantly, Personal Assistant Extraordinaire - graciously drove  your humble No Fenders scribe Tomaso southwards from our Tacoma "Staging Area" to Florence, Oregon and A-L-L points in-between, departing on Thursday, 'ZeppTember 4th.

After leisurely making  our way down the coast, I learned a long known, yet apparently forgotten lesson. DON'T ever trust others to do your research for Yuhs!

Since even though I'd obviously read the town's website in order to ascertain the event dates, I'd not paid strict Attenzione to the details apparently?

After Mary Ellen first noted our vehicle 'O choice, the trusty 'C-Team's '91 Dodge van resembling that long ago fond "A Team" vehicle, being passed by several Hot Rods Friday afternoon, somewheres in Oregon. Presumably on their way to Florence? She noted how what appeared to be a  vintage Bonneville parked alongside the two-lane "Blacktop" we were crusin' on, parked roadside, with its occupants sitting in folding chairs enjoying the passing caravan 'O vintage Rods, having their own "Private Idaho" Car Show!

Then with Forked Tongue, insert Foot here! I made the mistake of proclaiming: The Car Show's just Friday night, with a "Poker Run" and Sunday, as we'd been originally planning on attending on Saturday, to which Mary Ellen shot back: Then why are we scurrying to get to Florence early tomorrow?

Thus, erroneously, as I won't mention who gave me the Bum Steer! (NOT Mary Ellen...) We missed the full day's Car Show, which presumably featured way more vintage Rides at the annual end of Summer Rods 'N Rhodies extravaganza, since I've got NO idea where my friend pulled up his info from; BUTT! here's  the website in Questione:

Sunday, Sept 7th
Arriving promptly at 9AM sharp for the final day's car show, albeit the abbreviated version, i.e.; 9AM-Noon, vs. Saturday's all day 9AM-4PM event, originally my Number-1 choice for my imaginary "Best 'O Show" went to the very first vehicle we viewed, an ultra-rare and for us, never seen or heard of before Americar, with second place going to another unseen in-the-flesh treasure, an AMX. While third place was bestowed  upon a BAD ARSE Stingray, but I'm getting way ahead of myself...

So what's an Americar Mary Ellen asked its affable owner sitting behind his vehicle, to which we were told the following; which WICKEDpedia' seems to somewhat contradict. (Per usual...)

It's a 1941 "Jeepster" related vehicle, which Willys, then known as the Willys Overland Motors company produced between 1940-41, countering upon the patriotic theme sweeping the nation. Many were produced as 4-door staff vehicles abroad being used in Europe during the war. (WWII)

As I casually glanced over the vehicle,  a Gynormous (rear) chrome wheel leapt out at Mwah, which I told said owner; that Don't look stock! To which he cheerfully rang back: NOPE! There isn't much stock on this chassis anymore! As I've converted it to two doors, albeit being Suicide doors, along with hopping up the engine, etc. As I think he mentioned it being a bumped up 2675cc '4-banger? While proclaiming the original four cylinder lump cranked out a lowly 62bhp!

And the most non-stock item on said Americar was its AWESOME paint job, as is it green, gray, black, midnight blue, turquoise; Oh Never Mind! As this custom paint changed its hue "Reptilian-like" dependent upon what angle you looked at it or the sun; Uhm? Where'd it go; Hya! Played off the car's relatively low roofline, fenders, doors, etc.

As this colour changing characteristic immediately made me think of that ultra expensive Mystic 'Stang paint colour, a proprietary BASF automotive paint that's colour shifts between seven different hues and was only used upon the ultra low 2,000-units production run of the 1996 Ford Mustang Cobra SVT, which naturally, I'd LUV' having one! Albeit don't know if I'd cherish the bill for repainting I-T!

Yet Ah Contraire Monsieur; Wee-Wee! As the Wikipedia page for Willys Americar  denotes the model was produced between 1941-42, with some 22,000 units in '41, followed by a further 7,000 in  its final year of production...

'Whale, Otay, we'd better get KURR-RACKIN' since there's "Miles-to-Go," Rod-wise and we're only on vehicle No. 1. Alas, after our extended 'Chin-wag, we moseyed along the next cars in procession and turned the page; Err corner. As we'd entered Florence's "Old-town," or is it Downtown? From a side street, as there were just a few blocks cordoned off to traffic for said car show.

  • 5 Chevy Bel Air's
  • 2 Chevy Nomad's
  • 2 Corvette Stingray's
  • 2 Chevy Fleetline's
  • Bonneville
  • 1969 Ford Mustang coupe
  • 1960 23-window VW Bus

Hot Rods Galore!
Then in no particular order I noted the following vehicles presence above, since for Mwah, contrary to my belief, thinking that Bel Air's were only made between 1955-57; Hey, after all they're "Chebbies!"

Hmm? Never noticed before how those year's would square off nicely vs. Ford's iconic "Baby Bird," aka the 1955-57 Thunderbird. As one of those Bel Air's window placard denoted it as a '54 model; Hmm?

Having now learned a bit more 'bout the Chevrolet Bel Air, who's model year's ran from 1950 to 1981, with US production ceasing  in '75, as the Bel Air was then replaced by the Impala.

Alas, the second generation 1955-57's are the Hot Rodder's  favourites, with that '54 model being the last  year of the first generation models. (1950-54) As  Who'd Uh Thunk I-T, that learning could be  so fun; Hooah!

Then we stumbled upon a lone  1967 'Vette, proclaiming its Elkhart blue interior(?) was the only one produced, along with this Corvette being the last vehicle built in February of that year.

There were lots of early 1930's vintage Hot Rods, notably Rodder's favourite's, i.e.; '32 Ford "3-window & 5-window" coupes, some with the obligatory flames upon them, albeit both cars I noticed with these were done  tastefully.

A lone Bonneville "Boatmobile" made us marvel over its incredibly long length, as they just don't make land  barges like that NO more; Hya!

And there was some sorta Mercury(?) all on its lonesome which featured a clear glass roof that only covered the  front row of seating, i.e.; front windshield pillar to driver's seat.

Also seem to recall that we'd passed by a 1968 Mercury Cougar before getting to the 'Vette, as I still fondly recall an ex co-worker named Pat, who  was going to WSU who'd restored a '67? Cougar convertible, red with black top. As I always rejoice over some Dude's named Rufus (Parnelli Jones) and Dan Gurney being two-thirds of Lincoln-Mercury's 1967 Trans Am team...

Then at the end of the row, were two more oddities for Mwah, these being what I perceived to be early 1940's Hot Rods, although if I'd thought about it more seriously, I'd have remembered that something called World War II ceased ALL automobile production during this time-frame.

Yet what drew my Attenzione to the vehicles in question were their unique  two-piece slit front windshield's - with a thin center post in the middle of the windshield, which I've never seen before; previously my only "Split window" knowledge related to one of my favourite Corvette's, the iconic 1963 rear split window model.

Thus, purusing the A-L-L Knowing Intrawoods, nee internets, I've discovered that these two cars were Chevrolet Fleetline's which were produced between 1941-42 and 1946-52, although I have NO idea what year or style they  were, having failed to view the rear end to see if they were Fastback's? While Me Thinks they were at least 2-door versions.

For Part 2 of this Mondo' Car Show expose, see; AUTOS: Florence Rods 'N Rhodies Car Show serendipitous Trans Am connection