Pontiac’s Prototypes

1977 Pontiac Phantom

“Driving
Excitement ?

Sure……

I’ve always
had a
soft spot
in my
driving heart
(head)
for
Pontiacs..

1988 Pontiac Pursuit

… to me,
as a kid
growing up
in the 1960’s,
the “Wide
Track Sporty Pontiac”
was the image
of what an automobile
should be and would
represent in the future.

Fun, style, handling,
and power.

1963 Pontiac Scorpion XP-758

No matter how
hard GM seemed
to try to wash
out the
distinctive
qualities of
the brand
over the years,
Pontiacs always
looked pretty
much LIKE a
Pontiac.

1959 Pontiac El-Tigre XP-92

The marque
was started
in 1926 as a
General Motors
stable mate to
a car make
called the
“Oakland”
(discontinued
in 1931) and was
outselling it within
months of it’s
introduction.

1959 El Catalina

Until the
mid-1950’s,
Pontiac wasn’t
really known
for it’s good
looks or it’s
performance,
necessarily…

1970’s Pontiac Banshee XP-833

It was simply
known
as a rugged,
dependable
and relatively
inexpensive car.

1956 changed
all of that-
along with
marketing
strategies,
lead engineers,
and even
a new general manager.

1956 Firebird II

Soon, a new 1957
Bonneville was selling
for more than a Cadillac –

– and their old fashioned
stodgy image was changed
almost overnight into
” America’s Number
One Road Car “.

And Pontiac designers
continued to set this
tone, well into
the early 1970’s.

1990 Pontiac Sunfire

That new emphasis
on style and engineering
meant the development
of several prototypes
to keep ahead
of coming trends —

— so, today’s post
includes several of
Pontiac’s most cutting
edge designs from that
prolific period .

!!! HOY !!!

1956 Pontiac Club De Mer

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The Norton ES-2 Motorcycle

48nortonES2-500OHV

1948

Today’s Car Post
is about one of
my favorite
Motorcycles-

– in this case,
a British made
rocket called the
Norton ES-2.

1935

Similar to the
Norton Model 18,
in everything, that is,
but with springs on the
rear suspension and the
overhead valve engine
configuration, the ES-2
had a girder forked frame,
and used a single cylinder
500 cc engine.

It was an
extremely popular,
durable and versatile
motorcycle –

1956

– for
the 36 years that
Norton built it –
between 1927
and 1963.

The machine
was especially
well thought of by
riders and mechanics
alike for it’s ease
of maintenance
and simplicity
of design.

1961

Alec Bennett won
the winner’s podium
at the Isle of Man TT
in 1924 on a Model 18,
and the ES-2 was even
better and more nimble.

It’s top speed was
about 90 MPH –
– not bad for a single
cylindered 500.

The last real ES-2 rolled
off the assembly line
in 1963.

1965 MK2

( in 1965 , the parent
company of Norton,
AMC, produced
a “ES-2 Mark 2” based
on a “Matchless” frame
badged as a Norton. ) –>

.

!! HOY !!
.

1948 Norton ES-2

The Saturday Car Post – Movie Cars Part 1

You might have been noticing the series about TV cars on recent Saturday Car Posts – and my blogging friend over at TaoTalk asked if I couldn’t take it a step further and do something about movie cars.

Absolutely, man;
happy to oblige.

Ok… so maybe you
noticed the guy on
that very attractive mule.

Well, ya see, that guy
happens to be Clint
Eastwood – and that
wonderful mule was
the one that got insulted
by those five nasty
gunfighters in
” Fistful Of Dollars ” –
and, you should
definitely watch what
you say, cause it didn’t
go all that well for those
guys.

I was conjuring up some
of my favorite movies,
and since they didn’t have
cars back in the old west …

Ok..
back on topic.

Hey- CAR CHASES .

Who don’t like em ?

We talked about the Charger
in the Steve McQueen movie
“Bullitt” already … and that
dark green 1968 Ford
Mustang GT Fastback was
pretty much a hoss, too-
equipped with that
muscular Ford 390
four-barrel V-8.

They recently located the
original car from the movie…
–it’s in Tennessee somewhere
currently getting
rebuilt and restored.

My favorite car chase,
all things considered,
though … was the
one through
the mall in
“The Blues Brothers”.

I dunno if it was the
background music
combined with all
that wonderful crashing –
did you know that 103
cars were wrecked in the
1980 original version ?

The boys drove a
retired California
Highway Patrol car- a
1974 Dodge Monaco,
with a big 440 V-8 –
“cop tires,
cop suspension,
and cop motor” .

Legend has it that
the scene was shot in
a real mall —
the Dixie Square Mall
in Harvey, Illinois.

Henry Gibson,
and his on-screen
Illinois Nazis also
owned a fleet of 6
1977 Ford Pintos –
including the orange
station wagon that
went flying off the
end of the unfinished
highway bridge.

Couldn’t happen to
a nicer group of guys.

!!! HOY !!!

.

 

The 1968 Dodge Charger R/T

It’d be hard to get me
to say anything nice
about the cars produced
by Chrysler Plymouth
after the year 1972.
(Other than Dodge Ram)

The worst vehicle I’ve
ever owned was a
Chrysler Pacifica, and
I’ve had spectacularly
disastrous experiences
with Prowlers and
New Yorkers.

Previous to those,
however, I had much
more success with
70’s era Dodge Darts,
early 60’s Plymouth
Valiants, Plymouth
Furys, and
today’s featured car:
The 1968 Dodge
Charger R/T.

It sold new for
about $3600,
and was the
sharpest looking
car on the market
for the money.

(disregarding that
horrible avocado
paint in the ad, ->
of course)

I know it’s irrelevant,
by the time I got it,
it had 120,000 miles
on the odo and was
still running like it
was new.

1968 was the first year
for the new “B-Body”
line-up – and the boys
in Hamtramck on the
line were working hard
to improve build quality.

What they produced was
a worth adversary to it’s
competition –

– what it lacked in
creature comforts,
it made up for in
speed, handling,
and classic good looks.

The R/T model came
stock with the V-8
440 Magnum package,
which made about
360 horsepower –

– but if that weren’t
enough for ya, you
could order the
legendary 426 Hemi
engine as an option.

It also came standard
with “bee stripes” –
but anybody with
any sense ordered
that thing deleted.

Think the
world’s greatest
car chase ever filmed —
in ” Bullitt “, with Steve
McQueen in a hopped
up Mustang being
chased/chased
through the streets
of San Francisco by a
couple of thugs in a
Charger 440 R/T –

— there weren’t no
damn sissy stripes on
that stone-cold black
beauty.

Yes,
that car, man.

You might say it was
the pinnacle of that
company’s design
history – sleek, lean,
fast, and looked like
it would jack your
lunch money.

Alas, all too soon,
higher gas prices,
federal regulations,
insurance costs,
economic issues,
and planned
obsolescence
brought the domestic
production of cars
like this to an end-
especially for the
Mopar Group.

( Except for a couple of
overpriced, underwhelming
exceptions like the Viper
and the Demon, which are,
for all practical purposes,
un-driveable in city conditions,
and un-affordable to the
average working man looking
for a really fun daily driver. )

It’s a shame, really.

Because that
68 Charger R/T
was really something, man.

!!!! HOY !!!!

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 !!!

.

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 !!!

.