This Isn’t Nova – Or: Songs About Cars

Creative ideas
for this program
were provided
by :
my friend Jules.

( I see you watch
PBS, too, dontcha. )

For those who
remember
Mitch Miller,
you’ll be
relieved to hear that our
post today doesn’t ask
you to follow the
bouncing ball or
sing along off-pitch
with Mitch.

Ugh.

However, while
signing along with
the music in this post
is not at all required,
you may well find
yourself doing just
that – –
-I know I will be.

Hey, maybe you
think I’ve got my
calendar watch set
on the wrong day
( again ) –
since we usually do
music posts on
Sunday –
but it’s just me
throwing another
proverbial monkey
wrench into my own
stupid system …..

And I thought it
was just too good
a post idea to wait
for another
24 hours
to roll around.

Not to mention
that this way,
I can ask our readers
to do some of the work
providing music.

You see,
I never miss a game of
‘I’ll show you mine if
you’ll show me yours’
so, I’ll give you 5 or 6
of my favorite songs
about cars, and then
I want you to give me
yours.

In comments,
or in email,
either way
is groovy.

And I’ll add em to the
bottom of the post.

Get it?

Got it?

Good.

Let’s begin.

No post about
automobiles
and popular music
can really claim to
be so, without
certain inclusions,
I know that.

But, I’m gonna
leave several of
them off —

Maybe it’s just me
being contrary,
( typical )
or maybe I wanna
give our readers a chance
to come up with em.

This is one of the
must haves, though:

Beatles :
” Drive My Car

.

.

A “Deuce Coupe” refers
to a ’32 Ford body with
a V-8 flathead engine;
considered by many car
enthusiasts to have been
the ultimate hot-rod car.

And of course, to have the
‘pink slip, daddy’ is the
only way to fly-
– it means you own it.

With that in mind:

Beach Boys —
Little Deuce Coupe” .

.

My friend Carolyn gave me a couple of hers, too:

Fun Fun Fun – Beach Boys

First Kiss – Kid Rock

No Particular Place to Go – Mr. Chuck Berry

Diamonds On My Windshield — Mr. Tom Waits

Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf

And C’s oldest sister
would want me to add:
 

Paul Evans and The Curls —
Seven Little Girls (Sittin’ in the Backseat)

.

I can’t help myself…
this song wouldn’t have
made any one elses top
five considering how
many great songs we’ve
got to choose from,
but I did have one of
these, and I did drive
my father crazy with it.

Commander Cody did a
passable version of it,
but I like this one
better.

Junior Brown :
Hot Rod Lincoln

.

If I were to name the
top five rock and roll
drummers of all time,
I bet you wouldn’t be
all that surprised to
find that Neal Peart
(Rush) was right in
behind (or ahead of)
Ginger Baker at numbers
one and two.

But, since this is
a ‘Top Five Songs About
Cars’ post, I submit this
one for your approval.

Rush :
Red Barchetta

” Well-weathered leather
Hot metal and oil
The scented country air
Sunlight on chrome
The blur of the landscape
Every nerve aware ” 

.

.

Van Halen :
Panama

How can you lose
with lyrics like :

” Ain’t nothin’ like it,
her shiny machine
Got the feel for the wheel,
keep the moving parts clean
Hot shoe, burnin’ down the avenue
Got an on-ramp comin’
through my bedroom “

Oh sure, you may say that
it’s not about cars at all,
and is just an allegorical
reference to something else
entirely… but what isn’t ?

Jeeez,
how literal can ya get ?

.

My friend Jules
suggested these:

Jan & Dean’s
“Little Deuce Coupe “–
which is a perfect
natural, as far as
I’m concerned.

.

.

.

.

My friend Katie
out on the West Coast
requested a real vintage
piece that I’d almost
forgotten…..

Ok–

back to our list….

no allegorical anything
on this last one.

Recognize these lyrics?

” In cars, in cars, in cars
In my car, in my car,
in my car, in my car
In cars, in cars
In my car, in my car,
in my car, in my car
(I’ve been sittin’,
I’ve been sittin’,
I’ve been sittin’,
I’ve been sittin’) “

Gary Numan and
the Tubeway Army:
Cars

Oh, I see….
now, I’m too literal.

Alrighty —
well,
it’s time to
show me yours.

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Saturday Car Post

I’ve driven a lot
of cars in my life-
I love em, and I’ll take
anything out for a spin
that I have the chance
to, not to mention always
insisting on renting
a model I’ve never
driven before when
it’s possible.

I frankly don’t think
much of the newer
reproductions of older
classics, like the Challenger
and the Mustang –
not because they don’t
have plenty of power –
they do – but because
they lack originality in
their form, while their
function is limited by the
constraints of the vintage
look they’re emulating.

Ok, so maybe I’m
just a crank.

But spending $70,000 for
a car that looks like it was
built 50 years ago just
doesn’t appeal to me.

Give me original or
give me new –
don’t confuse me with
something that’s neither
and both.

I’ve been asked to write
about the qualities that
made the cars I loved
my favorites…..

1: Power, sure, One;
and by that I mean
power to the street –
it does me no good
if the tires burn out
at every traffic light,
so,

2: Two is the correct
Gear Ratio.

3: Steering, is next-
you can’t really enjoy
a car with a huge
turning radius.
You wanna make that
U-turn without hitting
the curb or needing 5
lanes to do it.

4: And Suspension is
Four – I don’t want to
bounce around like a
buckle bunny in the
back of a pickup.

Only after one other
thing,
5: Weight
do Looks start to mean
something . By weight,
I mean, how hefty a
vehicle is when the
wind is blowing –
does it bounce off the
car like a nerf ball or
does it make me feel
like I’m driving a kite?

6: Looks.
Of course, it matters.
But, like so many other
things in life, without
the basics, looks are
nothing but junior
class bimbette bait.
Life’s too short, and
any woman worth
her salt knows a lemon
from a good hunk of
go when she sees it.

!!! HOY !!!

Index (from top):
1967 Pontiac LeMans
2003 Ford Thunderbird
1963 Chevrolet Impala SS
1961 Lincoln Continental
1965 Ford Thunderbird
1974 Plymouth Fury
1971 Triumph TR-6

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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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 !!!

A Trip To The Friday Mail Bag Warehouse

Hey,
there !

Jump aboard…

Let’s head
on down that
lonesome road
a piece….

— we’ll turn
up the
tunes

… and see if we can
dig us up some
trouble at our
secluded and secret
world-not-so-famous
Muscleheaded
Science Lab and
Vintage Postcard
Warehouse atop
Mount Charlotte.

Listen –
I’m busy steering….

so, just flash
the guard
at the gate
your ID …

….. or somethin.

Well,
I don’t know
what you showed
him, but he sure got
that gate open quick.

I couldn’t hear what
he was sayin because
of my helmet, but he
sure looked excited.

Ahem.

If you look to your
left, you’ll see the
pier space where
we developed our
famous concrete boat
designs.

And if you look hard
as we pass the lake
you might still be
able to see what
remains of those
things —

— if the water
is clear enough .

We’re thinking
a lighter material
might be called for,
next time —

— maybe
papiermâché.

Our gantry for the
ill-fated
Muscleheaded
Rocket program
is to your right…….

— who knew that
combining Mentos
with Diet Pepsi
wouldn’t result in
enough propulsion
to lift a 200 ton
projectile?

And,
what a mess.

Oh well,
we’ve got enough
Mentos leftover for
Halloween, anyway.

Ahhhh,
here we are….

Prepare yourself to
behold the wondrous
mysteries that are the
Muscleheaded Warehouse .

Hand me
the keys, willya ?

Ummmm….

… whatdaya mean you
don’t have the keys ?

Didn’t I
give ’em t…….

Heh.

Reach around and
check the saddlebags —
there’s probably some
old post cards in there.

Oh good.

Well,
how about
we go cool
our jets with
a burger and a
large bag o fries
at the 5 Guy?

My treat.

!!! HOY !!!

.

Saturday Car Post: Wartime Fords

Reader Question:

Have you ever heard
that 
there were
American-made

cars that were registered
and titled as 1943,
1944,
and 1945 Fords?

Yes, indeed.

And, you’re probably
wondering how such
a thing could be –
considering all the
major U.S. automakers
stopped making civilian
cars in early 1942 for the
duration of World War II,
and didn’t resume until
the 1946 models.

Still, both facts
are true –

Because a large number
of the 1942 Fords made
were held back for U.S.
government use and
for other “war-essential”
personnel.

And some states issued
the titles on those cars
based, not on date of
manufacture, but on the
date it was first registered.

Also, certain Ford plants
continued to produce
military ‘staff cars’ based
on the 1942 model
(mostly 4 doors-
the ‘Fordor’, but also
pickup trucks ) all the way
up to the end of the war.

Other manufacturers
were making staff cars
during this period
as well —
for example,
General Eisenhower
had a Packard Clipper,
Buick made such a car
called the Century
Series 60, and Plymouth
made the P-11.

The cars were equipped
with basic equipment,
and then modified for
their specific use, so it’s
not uncommon to find
a large variance in their
options and interior layouts.

One of my favorite features
on the Fords made at that
time was the manual start
mechanism – usually, the
car would be started with
the electric ignition- but
in case of a flat battery,
a crank could be inserted
into the front engine
compartment and fire the
car.

This feature was discontinued
after the war.

Thanks for your question !

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