TV Cars of the 1960’s – Mannix

Alrighty—

You probably already
figured out this post
is part two of our
TV Cars series that
we started a
couple weeks ago.

Yep.

If you missed
Part One, well <— .

Today, we’re looking
at more ‘ action cars ‘ –
– you know, the cars
the tough guys like
‘Mannix’ drove.

Actually, Mannix
was on TV quite
a while, from 1967
to 1975 –

– and they used different
models for most seasons,
although overwhelmingly
Mopar for most of the
show’s run.

But, the first year
used a 1967 Oldsmobile
Toronado Convertible.

And no, GM didn’t
produce a 67 Toronado
drop-top –
– it was a one of a kind,
customized by George
Barris for the show.

Another Barris
customization job
was done for season
two and three :

1968/69 Dodge Dart
340 GTS rag-tops –
in a non-stock color,
British Racing Green.

The functional hood
scoop, rear spoiler,
mag wheels,
and a lot of other stuff
wasn’t stock, either .

But it was a hot
looking car, right ?

Season four and five’s car
was a 1970/1971 Plymouth
Cuda 340 in dark green.

(In season five, the 340
was alternated with
another Cuda with a
383 c.i.)

Season six was
still a Cuda –
the 1971’s updated
with ’73(?) trim –
since the car had
been discontinued by then.

Season seven:
1974 Dodge
Challenger 360
Rallye’s,
with added
mag wheels
and tires was used –

— and the car was mainly
stock (although it was
equipped with every
possible option including
the factory sunroof ).

The last year, 1975, brought
a change in the car brand
used by the TV production
company, so the show
rotated a 1974 blue
Chevy Camaro LT hardtop
with a 1975 Caprice
Convertible.

(HUH?)

(That was the last year
for the rag-top Caprice.)

But, there are also
traces of a green
1974 Gran Torino
in several episodes
in season eight.

By far- the Toronado
and the Dart GTS
were the coolest, man.

!!! HOY !!!

.

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Major Suckage

Lame as it might
seem, it’s time
for yer Ole Uncle
Nuts to delve once
again into the vague
and incoherent
world of nautical
allegories –

– such as the fact
that we’ve already
sailed one more day
toward the edge
of what very well
could be a flat
world called 2019.

And spinnakers
aren’t all that
great at catching
a vacuum.

See what I mean
about vague and
incoherent?

We do that a lot
around here.

OK,
so,
cheer up, man.

There’s a big bottle
of bourbon in my
foot locker.

Anyhoo…..
speaking of
a vacuum…

I thought today,
we’d talk about
household vacuum
cleaners.

Why?

Well, at least one of
my readers has admitted
to getting his significant
other such a machine for
Christmas, and I thought
I’d rub it in ….

( Errr… I mean,
explain the background )
a bit.

And a nice Hoover with
all the attachments might
be just exactly what she
wants, I dunno.

( Yeah,…. right .
There’s still time, brother… )

The first carpet sweeping
devices were invented
around the middle of the
1800’s ; they created
a vacuum using a
hand operated bellows.

Then toward the end of
the 1890’s, electric motors
were added – not to suck,
so much, but to blow the
dirt around .
( actually into a specially
designed receptacle. )

It wasn’t until 1905 that a
British inventor came up with
a practical vacuum cleaner
device for the home — it was
called “Griffith’s Improved
Vacuum Apparatus for
Removing Dust from Carpets”.

Both the Kirby and the Hoover
came along a couple years
later- with obviously simpler
brand names, but using the
same basic principle.

They remained relatively
expensive devices, though,
until after World War II –
when the rage for
wall-to-wall carpets in
homes made them almost
a necessity.

Overall, it’s been
a pretty useful and
safe appliance …..

But, over the years,
there have been dozens
of deaths attributed to the
electric vacuum cleaner,
and fall into 3 general
categories:

1: Accidental electrocution:
( what a shock, huh ?)
like trying to suck the
water out of your bath
tub while you’re still in
it.

.

2: Auto-erotic :
( what a buzz-kill, huh? )
like the Oxford student
who was getting kinky
with a couple plastic
bags and a vacuum cleaner.

.

3: Getting hit with one:
( what a way to void
a warranty! )

.

There actually used to
be a 4th common way
to get killed involving
a vacuum cleaner, but
those damned door-to
-door Rainbow Vac
salesmen have finally
given up on my house.

.

!!!! HOY !!!!

.

The Simple Things

I’m a believer.

Yes, I am.

I’m a believer
that the simple
things in life
are usually the
best.

That the simplicity
of an invention or
a device adds to
it’s value.

And when you take
a simple idea and
over complicate it,
you make the whole
world a bit more
frustrated.

I just had a run-in
with the electronic
soap dispenser at
work.

You put your hand
under the sensor
and * VOILA * ,
no soap.

Move it,
and it dumps
a copious amount
of soap on the
counter.

Try it again –
just for giggles.

It literally came
all over the
sink, but me,
I got no joy at all.

And my hands
are still dirty.

yes, I ran the old reverse

Or take
surfing, man.

A clear enough
concept –

Good healthy fun
– sea, sun and surf –
and plenty of
exercise, right?

Until in 1948, this
guy comes along and
invents an electric
surfboard.

It costed $345 in
1940’s money –
and was powered
by 8 storage
batteries and
weighed a
staggering
164 pounds.

HUH ?

Who’s that
supposed
to be for, anyway?

Ahhh-
the world
of stupid inventions.

Take the world famous
phone-answering robot,
invented in 1964 by
Klaus Sholes.

Hey, maybe it makes
sense – until you
realize that this
mechanical marvel
didn’t really answer
the phone at all-
it just picked it up
and held it .

Your two year old
could do the same
thing, but you’d
yell at him.

Simple?

Ha.

Take an egg-

— you don’t get
much simpler
than that,
right ?

So what’s some
over-inventive
schmuck
go and do?

Makes something
to square-ify hard
boiled eggs —
called
“The Egg Cuber”.

It’s gone through
several incarnations
since it’s inception….

But the question
still remains:

WHY ?

– and –

WHO wants to eat
a square egg?

Handerpants ! 

You may well say.

And that
is a real thing,
handerpants,
should you
ever desire to
own such.

The
function / purpose
of it remains, alas,
a mystery.

!! HOY !!!

.

The BMW 507

Originally intended as
market competition for
the Mercedes Benz 300SL
at a lower price point,
the sporty and quirky
BMW 507 was only
produced for three
years —
– between 1956 and 1959.

The car, although
quite beautiful, had
some serious challenges
that took it, almost
immediately, out of
the running for Americans
interested in purchasing
a sporty mid-priced
roadster in the late
1950’s.

The first release of the
507 was plagued with
issues, including an
oversized gas tank
which took up valuable
trunk and passenger
room, and which leaked
the odor of gas when
the convertible top was
deployed.

The drum brakes
weren’t very good,
and an available
removable hard-top
option had to be
custom made to
each car, so it only
fit the car it came on.

And the production
costs, predicted to be
about $1500 under
the cost of a 300SL
in 1956, doubled –
and priced the car way
too expensive for it’s
intended market.
($10,700 in 1958)

By the time the car’s
issues were resolved,
BMW is said to have
lost about 5 million
dollars on it, and only
252 of them were
actually produced.

Still, the styling of
the 507 was first rate,
and the aluminum
193 V-8 produced a
reasonable quantity
of power for the car-
– about 150 HP, with
the double two-barrel
carb set up and the
4 speed manual, and
had a top speed of
over 120 MPH.

Acceleration was also
decent; zero to sixty
could be as quick as
11 seconds.

But it’s looks are what
is best remembered
about the car, and the
507 notably influenced
the styling of future
models , especially the
BMW Z-8.

.

The 1960 Plymouth XNR

1960PlymouthXNRconcept

This is the
1960 Plymouth XNR .

It is a one-of-a-kind
concept car designed
by Virgil Exner, Sr,
who was Chrysler’s V.P.
for styling at the time.

(He also developed the
legendary Dodge Fire Arrow,
and the Plymouth
Explorer Coupe.)

The XNR was builtaxnr2
on a Plymouth
Valiant chassis,
with a steel body
by Carrozzeria Ghia
( of Karmann Ghia fame )

and utilized a fiberglass nose.

It used a 170 cubic inch slant-six
power plant making about 260 HP,
with a four barrel carb and high performance cam.

axnr3It could handle sharp corners
at speed with ease, and was
capable of just over 150 MPH.

After several years on the show car circuit,

it somehow ended up in the
hands of the Shah of Iran,

….and then spent the rest
of the century in Beirut,
surviving the Lebanese
Civil War in a secret
warehouse.

Amazing, but true.

It was brought back to the United States
for restoration in 2009, and was shown
at the Amelia Island Concours
d’Elegance in 2012.

It sold that year for
just under 1 million dollars –
– $935,000 .

Looking at the styling of
this beautiful car
makes me ask one
simple question —-

Why can’t today’s
automotive designers
come up with cutting edge
ideas like this today ??

Why does every car
on the road lookaxnr
like every other car on the road?

Has automotive styling gone
the way of the dinosaurs?

Hmmmm?

Well,
if so,
what’s next ?

.

a1

.

HOY!

The BMW Isetta

The BMW Isetta
is a favorite of mine
in the field of classic
vintage cars …

.. despite the rarity
of them on American
roads.

.

Originally
an Italian design,
it was produced in
small numbers by
Iso SpA, an Italian
refrigerator company,
before licensing to
manufacturers in Brazil,
France, Spain, Belgium,
Britain…..
and to BMW
in Germany
.

BMW took the basic
design, remodeled it,
and then applied German
engineering ingenuity
to create something much
better —
and more popular.

In a year,
BMW had sold
ten times (10)
the number of cars that
Iso SpA ever sold.

Soon, the car became
available in the U.S.,
and they sold over
12,000 of them here.

The little 3 wheeled car 4
made quite an impression
with buyers, was low
maintenance, and excellent
on gas- getting an average
of about 60 miles per gallon.

Actually, BMW made
three models of the Isetta:

In 1955, the “250”
had a R25/3 250cc motorcycle engine, a four speed gearbox, and a top speed of 53 mph. It was only produced for about 8 months.

In 1956-1962,
the “300” featured a
four wheel option and
a more powerful 298
cc engine.

In 1957-1959, the “600” was a larger four seater, with four wheels standard, and an R67 582cc flat twin engine. It’s top speed was around 80 mph.

Unfortunately,
the “600” found itself
in direct competition
with the VW Beetle,
….. and did not sell well –
— only about 35,000
were ever built.

The “300” Isetta continued
to improve and sell well
into the early 1960’s.

Despite that, the market forgiannacanale
small cars was shrinking,
while the competition was widening,
…. and in 1962, BMW built the last Isetta.

I heard a rumor, however….
…. that BMW was using the
Isetta as the basis for it’s
new cutting edge electric
I-3 .

If so, the Isetta may yet
make a comeback of sorts.

I hope so-
it’s a cool little car.

HOY !!

Our Saturday Car Post

Our question this week
comes from one of our
readers in Nebraska.

He asks:

I have a farm tractor
that runs on LP propane
gas, and it’s very low
maintenance and
dependable; it originally
belonged to my grand-dad. 
Why can’t they build
cars that run on it ?

It might surprise you
to find that LP Gas-
or “Autogas” is the
third most popular car
fuel in the world and is
used by over 16 million
automobiles.

Autogas (LPG) is actually a
combination of propane
and butane – not to
be confused with CNG –
which is compressed methane
and is stored at a higher
pressure.

While the infrastructure
for Autogas is still quite
under-developed in the
United States, countries
like Turkey, South Korea,
Poland, Australia,
and Italy have been
concentrating on much
wider availability to drivers,
which is key to making it
a more user friendly choice.

Obviously, where there is
better availability, the costs
come down, and probably
a good reason why, at one
time, LP tractors were
popular in the American
Midwest – during WW II,
gas and diesel were rationed
and in much shorter supply
than LP in many areas.

Now, of course, with the
emphasis being put on
electric cars, it’s not clear
where the future of autogas
is headed in the United
States – but nearly 3% of
vehicles use it, at present.

It is possible to convert a
gasoline or diesel powered
car to autogas –
and there
are several major auto
manufacturers who have
invested heavily in LPG
vehicle development —
Ford, VW and Toyota,
for instance.

The main benefits seem
to be cleaner emissions
and a potential for fuel
cost savings if and when
wider availability becomes
a reality. Also, over 90%
of demand for Autogas
can be met by domestic
sources.

The negatives, aside from
the distribution issues,
have to do with power
and efficiency – a gallon
of gas has about 1/3
higher BTU capacity,
which translates directly
into horsepower.
It also means that a tank
of autogas will get you
less miles before you
have to refill.

On the post today,
our pictures are all
cars that use autogas
as their primary fuel.

!!! HOY !!!