The Ford Gyron

Motorcycles are my thing.

And I can tell you one thing:
just because something
has two wheels and a motor
does not make it a motorcycle.

The first motorcycle was
developed in 1894-
the first car
(it had three wheels) in 1885 –
and there’s been a lot of cross-over development since then, of course.

Certain automotive concepts
along with the way have
attempted to combine
the efficiency and handling
of a two wheeled vehicle
with the all weather comfort,
capacity and safety of a car —

The first ones were:
The Bi-Autogo  —->>
in 1908,
and
the Wolseley Gyrocar,
way back in 1914.

One of my favorite attempts
at the two wheeled car
was the Ford Gyron.

Introduced at the 1961 Detroit
Auto Show, it was Ford’s look
into one possible automotive
future –

– filled with dramatic aerodynamic
designs and gyroscopic
controls.

Two passengers would, theoretically,
sit side by side, under
a rear hinged poly-plastic
canopy , as the driver
used a pad that looked very much
like a computer game controller to
drive the car –

— molded plastic seats that
kinda reminds me of my Mom’s
short-lasting ‘mod’ furniture craze
completes the interior.

The body was fiberglass
and plastic,
with motorcycle type stands that
would support the vehicle when
it wasn’t moving —

–but, since it was just a prototype,
it didn’t actually have to function –
( and the technology to do that
was still many years off — )
so, small wheels were put
in their place to hold it up.

The prototype’s main function
was simply to produce
a wow factor in the folks
who got a glimpse of it.

And in that aspect,
it worked great.

Today, several vehicles use
a similar concept but are still
very experimental —
like the Lit Motors
C-1 Electric Car.

Just don’t call it a motorcycle.

!! HOY !!

Advertisements

The 1961-1963 Lincoln Continental

Another of my all-time
favorite cars is starring
on today’s car post —

the stunning early
1960’s Lincolns —

Continental of course,
because Continentals
were the only cars Lincoln
produced during a 16 year
span, between 1961 and 1976.

The 1961, 1962 and 1963
Lincoln Continentals were
part of the brand’s fourth
generation, and their classic
good looks are so refined
that they might make one
forget that they have been
also described as ” the finest
mass-produced domestic
automobile of it’s time “.

Lincoln Motor Division
had been struggling
in the late 1950’s –
in order to survive,
the new fourth generation
model, due in 1961, would
have to deliver on distinctive
looks, durable build quality,
and better handling and performance.

Elwood Engel, Vice President of Ford Development, had been working on a cutting edge design for the third generation Thunderbird, and the plans were soon brought to fruition –
— not on the 2 door T-Bird,
but on the new 4 door
Continental instead –
the T-Bird uni-body was
stretched to accommodate
a 123 inch wheelbase that was
still shorter than the previous
model’s 131 inches.

It was available in four door sedan and convertible
versions only –
and equipped with a 430 c.i
big block V-8 making over
300 horsepower –
and a 3 speed
automatic transmission
was standard.

One thing most folks
remember about the
fourth generation Lincolns
were the suicide doors-

Continental’s rear doors
were hinged at the back
for looks, ease of access
and maintenance:

they were called ‘suicide doors’
because “…a reverse-hinged
door, if accidentally opened
in a moving car, would be
flung wide by the road wind,
making it easier for a
passenger to fall <or jump> out.”

Lincoln’s Continental line during this period also included the first and
only post WW-II
American-made four
door convertible –
made until 1967.

My personal passion for
these cars began in the
late 1970’s –

I owned a 1962 Continental that had well over 100,000 miles on it — and I still went
cross country with it —

– it was gorgeous,
drove like a cloud,
had room to spare,
and was mechanically
bullet proof.

Best of all, the girls loved it.

Of course, it only got about
13 miles to a gallon of gas –
but dependability was much
more important to me then,
and it still is today.

A friend of mine owns a ’62 just like my old black beauty,
and he has kept it
very original —

other than replacing the old
rear drum brakes with disks —

and it does my heart good to
hear him talk about how
dependable the car still is,
and how many looks
the car still gets.

A man could do a lot
worse, let me tell you.

!! HOY !!

The 1st Three Generations of Ford Thunderbird

Thunderbird.

One of my favorite automotive
name-plates .

Made by the Ford
Motor Company
for fifty years-
from 1955 – 2005.

The fact that Ford
doesn’t make
Thunderbird any more
has more to do with
corporate disassociation
with the tastes of their
buyers than any
other consideration —

A well designed ,
well thought out
Thunderbird would
indeed be hefty
competition for the
‘all-look-alike’
cars in the current
marketplace.

My two cents worth.

Now, let’s look at the
first three generations
of the car Ford called it’s
“Personal Luxury Car” .

Generation One:

The first Thunderbird, a rear wheel drive,
two-seater with a detachable
hard-top, and powered
by a 292 c.i. V-8 ,
was unveiled at the
1954 Detroit Auto Show –
and was an instant hit.

(Outselling it’s nearest
competitor Corvette 23 to 1
it’s first year of production)

That year it was available in five colors :

Torch Red.
Raven Black.
Thunderbird Blue.
Snowshoe White
and Goldenrod Yellow.

Revisions for 1956, included:

a continental kit for
the spare tire (which caused
car handling issues because
of uneven weight distribution) –

the either loved or detested
‘porthole’ (I hate it)
was added to the top for visibility
(most chose it, but it could
be ordered ‘without’ )

an optional 312 c.i.
225 horsepower V-8 …

4 more paint colors including
a medium dark gray metallic ,

– and a 12 volt electrical system.

In 1957:
the front fender was
modified, given larger
tail lights, a new front grill
and tailfins.

The rear of the car was lengthened
to accommodate the spare tire
without the continental kit, and
14 paint colors were available.

A supercharged 300 HP V-8
was one of the optional engines
offered in that model.

Generation Two : 

Ford designers had been concerned
that the two-seater layout of the
Thunderbird in it’s first generation
limited it’s sales appeal…

So in 1958,
the first four seater was produced –
and was offered in both hardtop
and convertible models.

It had been a choice between two
outstanding designs –
the winning
one done by Joe Oros, and the
losing one eventually
becoming the basis for the 1961
Lincoln Continental.

New in the second generation
Thunderbird was the 352 c.i. 300 HP
V-8 engine, uni-body construction,
and the much larger size and weight
of the car, which helped with improved
handling characteristics.

It actually was the car that won the
first Motor Trend ‘Car of The Year’ award.

16 paint colors were
available in 1958;
and in 1959, a more refined
but limited palette.

1959 also brought a new
front grill, leaf spring
suspension, and a more
powerful 350 HP engine
option – a Lincoln made
430 c.i. V-8.

1960 was the last year for
the 2nd generation T Birds –
as well as one of the best selling-selling over 92,00
of them that year.

Maybe it was the third taillight
on each side that did it,
who knows.

Generation Three : 

The third generation has
been affectionately nicknamed
the ‘ bullet bird ‘ from the
side profile of the car  –
it was made between 1961
and 1963.

The ‘swing away’ steering column
was a cutting edge innovation
included in the third generation
Bird – and one of the it’s most
distinctive interior features .

The car also came with many
standard features that were
pretty expensive options
in other brands-
including :
Bucket Seats
Power Steering
Power Brakes
and a 390 c.i.V-8 (only) .

but it also could be ordered
with just about any other
desired option —

except for a manual shift
transmission, which was
not available on the 3rd
generation T-Bird….

— the Cruise-O-Matic MX
automatic transmission
was standard.

About 1 in 7 was ordered
as a convertible, and there
were 26 paint colors offered
in 1961. 

Several ‘special production’
models appeared during the
three years of the third gen
T-Birds, including a
“Sports Roadster”
featuring 48 spoke wire wheels
that proved to be problematic,
and a “Landau” model with
vinyl top and a “S” ‘coach’ bars.

But in general, the Thunderbirds
built in this period varied only
in minor trim details .

Certainly, the third generation 
had the most fans among
‘baby boomer’ car enthusiasts as
daily driver/collectibles
but the earlier ones, particularly
the first generation, have a
following and popularity that belies
the small number of cars that were
actually produced.

So……

Which one is your favorite ?

!!! HOY !!!

Today’s Serial On Cereals

A New Year comin’?

Meh.

There are issues,
let’s face it.

For one,
damned if I know
how long it’s gonna
take for me to start
writing ‘2018’
instead of ‘2017’..

.. last year it took
until April.

And the gym thing–
newbies crowding all
the equipment,
dropping weights,
and generally making
a nuisance of themselves
all because of some
nebulous new years
resolution to lose
7/8 of their body fat
and get muskularized –

— that they’ll keep
just long enough to get
a shiny new membership
tag for their key-chain.

(or their neck chain. )

And every new year puts
more distance between
the time when ‘recording
artists’ actually TRIED to
sing a song,

—- instead of using
a computer auto-tuner to
modulate it for them.

I remember somebody
in the early days telling
me that technology would
make things better .

What a crock-o-shit
THAT was.

Ok,
so I’ll stop bitchin.

Ahem.

The phrase
always drink your Ovaltine
was, for some reason,
ear-worming in my
sub-conscious mind
all weekend long —

I hate that stuff, 
but I do , on occasion,
eat breakfast —
so…..

I went looking in my
kitchen pantry for
some breakfast cereal
this morning, and
after plenty of digging,
finally found a box of
Lucky Charms.

I remember those from
when I was a kid, so I
poured a bowlful out..

… and got nothing but a
couple of pieces of cereal
and a whole mess of
marshmallow ‘surprises’.

One of my kids had
apparently decided that
there weren’t enough of
those sugar bombs in the
box already, and had
added some –

(and by some,
I mean a shit-load) —

Yep, you can indeed buy
just the colored marshmallow
shapes separately…

and then add as many
as you want back to the box.

Or,
I dunno….

Just throw out the cereal
altogther and eat them
marshmallows instead.

:-O YOWCHEE. :-O

Magically delicious.

No wonder parents today
can’t keep their kids from
climbing the walls at the
local Walmart.

Anyhoo…
it got me to
thinking back
about some of
the breakfast
cereal brands that
have come and gone
in the last 50 years or so.

Talk about flash
in the pans,
most of them
didn’t survive
more than a year or two.

Though I purposely avoided the
more obvious ones like those
based on Star Wars,
The Simpsons,
or the Flintstones
characters–

— still, I think you’ll find this
assortment a pretty vacuous one
altogether.

And they’re
all gone, now…

— except that
Uncle Sam stuff
that we led off with —

And that one
wasn’t really
a cereal geared
toward kids,
if you know
what I mean.

Prunes, anyone?

!!! HOY !!!

.