Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Better than Selfridges!

Despite a dozen years of amazingly fantastic garage sale finds, I have never found a taxidermy mutant cow head. And I sure would like one. If you have a mutant cow head, I would trade a Curta mechanical calculator, 10 slide rules, a 1991 Sony Handicam 8MM, a book on piranha and a nice pocketknife for the pleasure of hanging it on my wall.

Its a hell of an ikebana basket, but lets focus on that oddball flashlight. The BrownBilt Shoes 'Tread Straight' Buster Brown Shoes mystery light is marked Germany and Triola, but I can find no online mention of such a device. It was purchased for .50 cents this last weekend. The knob to the left of the porthole engages a blue lens filter; the right, a red filter. The Buster Brown took a pair of D size batteries and, as you can see, it had metal belt straps on the back, but to what end? Was this some sort of belt bike light? Hang it off your ass and flip on the red filter for slow as it goes, blue filter for reverse?

The Buster Brown light was not salvagable as the battery acid soaked cardboard interior was missing parts. And I knew damn well when I bought Buster Brown that it was a disaster, but the quality of manufacture was so high and the switching lens system so ingenuous, I bought it with no idea what I was going to do with it. While removing all the guts and trying to decide if it was worth rebuilding from scratch, I realized it was really close to ipod size.

The view with the red filter enabled.

Boardgames are a plentiful supply of dense, high quality cardboard and can be purchased for pennies, nickels and, sometimes, dimes. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea makes for a piss poor boardgame, but Fight Off Cannibals and Kill Giant Squid set the right attitude for ass kicking.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

When I realized how close the fit was going to be, I literally ran to the car to retrieve my ipod. The Camel tire patch cardboard is held by foamback tape to give just enough tension to keep it in place. The original power button was on the top so I elongated the hole with the Dremel to accomodate the ipod remote cable connector.

Everytime I see the Buster Brown Shoes ipod case, I giggle like a damned idiot. It just looks so fucking Philco Predicta, round window ocilloscope, Westinghouse front load washer, Western Holly porthole stove, T-Bird cool!

Friday, September 24, 2004

Inaugural Mister Jalopy Invitational Hooptyrides Trophy Dash and Outlaw Racing Derby

In preparation for the upcoming race, I worked for quite a while today on the 1961 Mercedes 190b brakes. Keep in mind, this car has not been registered since 1984 and the outstanding mechanical issues are daunting. The aesthetics are beyond reproach, so nary a cosmetic issue to address before race day.

The challenge was thrown down and accepted. I will be racing against the considerably more powerful, more modern and properly maintained 1971 Mercedes 280 SE 4.5. From the stats, it appears that the 190b's fate is sealed but there are special considerations. For example, as the sponsoring race body, I have complete control over the rules and may make changes right up to, and even during, the race.

As the Mercedes 190b is running after 20 dormant years, it was time to turn my attention to the brakes. Disappointingly, the brake pedal went straight to the floor without delay, remained at the floor and would likely still be resting at the floor if I didn't help it back to its proper position. Upon repeated vigorous pumping, the brakes came up to pressure and the pedal returned to correct position with no cajoling whatsoever BUT it managed to lock all the wheels absolutely stationary! For good! What spirit! What heart! This little car may be short on horsepower but what pluck! Like a cartoon teapot, building pressure, building pressure, cheeks red and puffed, building pressure, brow furrowed, eyes squinted until it finally gets to boiling point and blows the whistle! What a little champion, the Mercedes 190b. No brakes one minute, but a pat on the dashboard and a little pedal pumping action and boy, does the 190b deliver.

So, that brings us to the question, what is the competitive advantage of pluck? Probably not enough.

The plan for race day victory
1. Flexible rules
2. Remove the spare tire for reduced weight
3. Wear a suit
4. Pluck
5. Superior driving skills
6. "Black Widow Brakes"
7. "The Trident Exhaust"
8. No radio antenna (or radio) means less aerodynamic drag

As there is currently no exhaust system, I am free to fabricate the most efficient and competitively advantageous exhaust. I have decided on a design of my making composed of a single exhaust downpipe, routed to just under the front of the passenger door where it will be split into three seperate pipes angled directly at my competitior's head. The exhaust will look very much like a trident with a single center pipe slightly longer than the pipes on each side. It will be painted gold and will be identified as The Trident Exhaust by a discreet stencil just above. As stipulated by the rules, the older car has lane choice and I will position the trident directly at my competitor's driver side window. The dismay caused by a raw blast of carbon monoxide should give significant advantage to the 190b. I told him, 'I am going to Neptune you!'

The first individual to pass the finish line, come to a complete stop, exit their car and prepare two cocktails from the trunk Executair traveling bar will claim the Hooptyrides Invitiational Double Triple Inaugural Outlaw Derby Dash Cup.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

David Koresh's Camaro at Auction

How much of David's appeal was charisma and how much was the fact that he owned the only 427 big block Camaro SS in Waco? Who could you say no when he pointed out the custom "David's 427 Go God" engraving on the engine block? Under the parking lot lights at Arby's?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Absolute top dollar was paid for this lot - the princely sum of $50! But, keep in mind, everything to the east of the yellow Proto screwdriver is made by Snap-On. And look at that adorable stubby 1/2" MAC combination wrench. Looks good enough to eat.

With a toothbrush, a metal pick, some degreaser, grease, chrome polish, 0000 steel wool and WD-40, you can erase prior neglect. It is extremely satisfying. The top ratchet still requires attention, while the bottom ratchet is not perfect, well used and sorta perfect. Like a solid reader's copy - the text knows nothing of the cover.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Greatest Do-It-Yourself Article Ever - 500 cubic inch Cadillac Engine into a '80 Chevette!

Recently purchased at a garage sale, probably the best issue of Hot Rod magazine ever published. Fast and Cheap, indeed. Hot Rod magazine is currently editorially adrift, I mean there is an editor, but to what end. They have started to cover the import tuner scene in a perplexing move to broaden their scope beyond the limits of a single magazine. The Hooptyrides racing team is not anti-tuner, not Hot Rod purists but there are already excellent magazines that cover that end of hot rodding.

Though not hand holding step-by-step, the greatest article of all time gave adequate detail for a reasonable car person to assemble an 11 second quarter mile, tire burning smoke machine for under $2000. This is Hot Rod magazine - creative, detailed, technical, inexpensive, fast and pure to the core of hot rodding.

Swap the smaller volume heads from a junkyard 68-70 Cadillac onto a 71-76 engine and you raise the compression to a staggering 12.0:1. A key to engine swapping is finding the space under the hood for massive engines - especially clearance for the steering as in most cars, the steering tends to hug the motor. They selected the Chevette as all the steering stuff is contained under the front fenders. Smart. I have studied junkyard Chevettes and am searching for oddball sedans (like a Hillman Minx or a Studebaker) to see if I can find similar clearances to build my own tire smoker.

This is my second copy of the April 2000 issue of Hot Rod, therefore I am willing to trade it for something interesting. Or, the Chinatown Incubator listens to cash.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Has there ever been a cooler stamp?

Just when you thought there could never be a cooler set of stamps than the Noguchi's, this terrifically weird Buckminster Fuller stamp is released complete with the notorious Dymaxion in the lower right.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Automobile Racing for Aesthetes

Today I replaced the distributor cap and rotor. The points were incorrect, so I used the old points. And the condensor did not arrive. In short, a long way from a tune up. The timing was bouncing all over the place, despite the distributor being snug.

I did not replace the plug wires, so they are two tone - extremely faded blue jeans blue and process blue blue. The distributor cap is a color only an auto parts manufacturer could love. And, of course, the fading black of the wire boots. Altogether, the colors are so complimentary that I changed the contrasting blue coil wire connector to a non-insulated crimp connector (as seen in the lower left). I like the colors so much, I am thinking everything should be these colors, especially the exciting racing livery for the upcoming Mister Jalopy Inaugural Hoopty Invitational Outlaw Cup.

Replacing the insulated connector with a non-insulated connector could be disasterous on race day. I can not see anywhere that the wire could short out, but physics change at high race speeds. Along with everything else that is on the line, now we realize we are racing for aesthetics.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Hoopty Inaugural Outlaw Cup is certain to include lots of straight up wheelie action.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

The O'Keefe and Merritt gas range with the Grillavator adjustable broiler, griddle in the middle and original salt and pepper shakers is almost done. Actually, in a holding pattern as additional components are needed for completion including a door hinge, replacement left side panel, chrome top vent and a simmer cap. Progress at the Hooptyrides garage all but stopped as intense Southern California heat made working on anything metal extremely perilous. Early morning work sessions chipped away at the projects as the intense afternoon heat left no option but to hide inside and weep. Stove should be done pretty soon and available for purchase.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Defender of the Mundane

Mister Jalopy's Hooptyrides celebrates the modest, the worn, the patina'd, the proletariat, the uncommon in the common and admit, freely, that I am a bad collector. No complete sets, rare examples only if that is what is stumbled upon and experts in nothing. Collecting widely, selling occasionally, trading encouraged.

99 Items Aggresively Pursued
  1. Automobiles
  2. Auto accessories
  3. Auto parts
  4. Bookends
  5. Barrister bookcases
  6. Mechanical calculators, computers, comparators, integrators
  7. Old science equipment
  8. Water slide decals
  9. Girlie stuff
  10. Snapshots
  11. Labratory furniture
  12. Netsuke
  13. Tansu
  14. Pulp
  15. Kid's plates
  16. Snap-On tools
  17. Automotive tools
  18. MIG/TIG welder
  19. 78 rpm records
  20. Telefunken/Grundig consoles
  21. Pocket knives
  22. Old skateboards
  23. Examples of natural splendor
  24. Anything related to the New Yorker
  25. Table lamps
  26. Hand made furniture
  27. Wormy American Chestnut
  28. Fancy western wear
  29. Lacoste alligator
  30. Fireking
  31. Rugs
  32. Interesting cans and jars
  33. Hardware - knobs, pulls, handles
  34. Representations of goldfish
  35. Small buildings
  36. Engravings
  37. Paintings
  38. Flashlights
  39. Aluminum
  40. Coin operated machines
  41. Machines that do not require electricity
  42. Machines that operate with tubes
  43. Polaroid cameras
  44. Watches
  45. Old telephones with a crank
  46. Desert things
  47. Toy automobiles
  48. Books about automobiles
  49. Incubators
  50. Items found in a service station
  51. Gauges
  52. License plate frames
  53. Salesman samples
  54. Cookie jars
  55. Illustration
  56. Spooky dolls
  57. Christmas ornaments
  58. Utility vehicles
  59. Japanese gardens
  60. Flower pots
  61. Old fabric
  62. O'Keefe and Merrit gas ranges
  63. Noir
  64. Monterey furniture
  65. Old radios
  66. Old old books
  67. Mexican furniture
  68. Masks
  69. Mirrors
  70. Clocks
  71. Colored drinking glasses
  72. Jelly jar glasses
  73. Ceramic kitchen chickens and roosters
  74. BB guns
  75. Rockets
  76. Science and medical models
  77. Specimens
  78. Farm engineering
  79. Things made of cigar boxes
  80. Needlepoint pillows
  81. Scooters
  82. Toolboxes
  83. Chinese checkers boards
  84. Shadow boxes
  85. Pottery
  86. Cooking equipment
  87. Ephemera
  88. Quartersawn oak
  89. Books
  90. Los Angeles information
  91. Marshall Fields
  92. Japanese hibachis
  93. Tourist woodburning pictures
  94. Games
  95. Silver coins
  96. Diaries, personal letters, scrapbooks, found photos
  97. Old denim
  98. Ghost town information
  99. Bookmobiles

The Amazing Curta Type II Mechanical Calculator

Offered for your consideration, a Curta mechanical calculator Type II (SN#547205) in Fair-Good condition for $400. No case, considerable anodized aluminum wear, some corrision on bottom screws, works perfectly, if a little hesitantly due to needing a tune-up.

I inherited a Curta mechanical calculator from my land surveying maternal grandfather and have been calculating cube roots for years. Recently, I came across this Curta that was coincidently manufactured a mere 6 months from the time of my grandfather's Curta.

There is really so little that I can add to the already voluminous information available. Suffice to say, the Curta is one of the most amazing mechanical machines ever made. My grandfather's Curta is under a glass dome in my cabinet of wonders.

Click the title above for the terrifically informative Curta Calculator website of Rick Furr. Be sure to check out the Flash Curta Calculator emulator. The only thing more amazing is the detailed photo disassembly page - which gave me an upset stomach as disassembling a Curta is a task not for the faint of heart.

Standard 10% Chinatown Incubator donation is already included.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Another item sold (and a little more money for the Chinatown Incubator), Sammy is the proud new owner of the Seeburg DS-160. An arc welder, a diorama builder and Ranchero owner, Sammy is the right guy to own the Seeburg.

Trash the Dewey Decimal System for $999!

Forget the noble beginnings of the bookmobile and public service, you can become the arbiter of taste! Your own media bias! Start trends, declare the hottest and latest by way of careful editing of your stacks.

From cat staples to improvised munitions, plagues to two headed calves, venomous animals to internal combustion engines, pyromania to backwoods stills, aircraft sheetmetal repair to bathtub surgery, pulp nurse romances to jumping chollo cactus, beehive technology to carnivorous plants, death rays to model airplanes. baroque to biscuits.

Imagine! Freeze knowledge to a certain year.

Rewrite history! Select only that which agrees with your crackpot views.

Though a handsome trailer, is it a bookmobile without a engine?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

1967 Bookmobile on ebay! Be still my heart!

Goodness gracious I want this bookmobile. Think, I could have a whole shelf dedicated to books about cannibals! Another shelf dedicated to Polaroid cameras! Dewey decimal, my ass. I'll have an entire section dedicated to old Sears catalogs. If you buy this bookmobile for the Chinatown Incubator, we will rename the Dewey Decimal system whatever you want.

When I was trying to get to more gauges for comparison's sake, I had to wrestle with this Hamilton Beach 3 Malt Mixer. I am tired of this right here and I am up to my armpits in stoves. Therefore, this very cool, very heavy, decent condition, great porcelian, missing a part or two, been opened and monkeyed Maltmixer is available for GONE. But! You need to come get it! Trades accepted! Standard Chinatown Incubator donations apply.

Vintage Stewart Warner Gauge!

The find of finds. I knew it was good when I found it, but I didn't want to look too closely as the excitement would have made it impossible to eat breakfast. It was better than I thought. Click the title above for the excellent page of vital Stewart Warner gauge info.

At first blush, it appears to be a slightly better than average day of garage saling. Big deal, another Robert Benchley book and a third copy of The Bends. Some gauges, a recent Sun Tachometer, a set of marked playing cards... but the Stewart Warner box looks promising even though they are usually filled with nuts and bolts.

Nice! A great Beugler, new in box, pinstriper. With complete instructions and history of the Beugler company. As you can see, it is easy to use as they point out the 9 year old boy putting finishing touches on his own bicycle. A GIRL'S BICYCLE! Poor bastard. I have another Beugler with only one wheel (you can order the others) that I will sell for $15, 10% to the Chinatown Incubator.

A perfectly fine pressure tester but I already have three. Therefore, this one is available for purchase. $10, 10% to the Chinatown Incubator.

At the garage sale, I checked that there was indeed a gauge inside the box, but I didn't verify if it was a D360A or even if it was a Stewart Warner. My pokerface negotiating skills would have been hopelessly compromised as I deliriously outbid myself.

Tucked in an army blanket scrap, the correct new old stock gauge for the box. This is a true transition gauge. The newer 'big block' logo, first year of the new logo, still curved glass face and in an older logo 'wings' box. A dazzling find but not even the best of the weekend.

Not that I don't have plenty of gauges, I have plenty of gauges. And can not see a day when I stop buying gauges. The green faced, round glass ammeter in the front is exquisite.

More gauges. Some extremely cool and desirable like that little temperture gauge in the back has glow in the dark numbers. I believe the coolest gauge set would not be a matched set of Stewart Warners in a pre-made Stewart Warner dash panel, but rather a mishmash of surplus, hot rod and industrial gauges in a homemade panel. Even the mishmash shoudl be anchored by a Stewart Warner 'wings'.

The gauge is beyond reproach. It is the real deal, the gauge to have in the hottest of hot rods. The anti-thesis of the giant import window pillar shift light tachometer is this very practical, homemade, low buck, run what you brung, golden era of hot rodding custom bracket and cup - made of a green bean can!

The best gauge I have ever bought was in that box. A 1953 Stewart-Warner "Wings" Oil Temperature gauge with all associated hardware, sender, extremely cool handmade bracket and green bean can cup.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Those ratty ass pillows really dressed up the backseat. When you start so low, everything is up.

Without a glovebox, the options were wide open. All too often there is a lack of temporal solutions to bigger problems - refine, focus, upgrade. The boardgame dash is not forever, just until everything of higher priority is resolved.


For several years this Polaroid has sat in the frame corner - so long that I nearly stopped seeing it. Now that the 1954 Chevrolet is sold and gone, I can't keep from looking at it. Taken in Yellowstone, with a fumarole in the background, under a Democratic administration, pre Patriot Act, back in the days when you could reject an illegal search, a trip like this could change your views on patriotism. Now, it almost seems impossible.

Roberto's completed etching on the rear passenger window of his Chevy Astro van. Using a tool engraver, he freehanded this delightful work that captures all the grand themes of life.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Free Window Handles!

Recently purchased at a garage sale, Mister Jalopy offers this delightful set of new old stock Cal Custom General Motors woodgrain and chrome window handles complete with original Pep Boys price tag. These will be given away free to the correct car - we only ask that it be the GM product and that a photograph is forwarded to Mister Jalopy of the handles installed. An tangerine metal flake 1964 Buick Rivera? Very possible. A green 1967 Chevrolet Kingswood with fake wood paneling? A very likely winner barring a custom van spoiler entry.

Astute readers noted the lack of center cap on the steering wheel. Everybody likes to have a compass when traveling. Also, no dust.

Doesn't look like much, but every one of those valves has been disassembled, cleaned, re-greased, tuned up, tricked out, reassembled, tested and installed.

Herbie Spotted!

The San Fernando Valley gives and gives. Today, a photo of Herbie. The original Herbie the Love Bug was the first movie I saw twice. Before that, I didn't realize you could see a movie twice. The power of complete all knowingness made it even more enjoyable the second time.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Available to those with strong backs and $40, this old auto parts store counter. Genuine custom Formica decorated with nuts, bolts, lugnuts, cotter pins, wing nuts, lock washers, fender washers and threaded cylinder head studs. This photo is but a small section of the 7 foot long 28 inch wide counter. There is some water damage on either end, so probably better suited for the garage than the dining room. But then, if you cut off the ends, you could still serve lots of people at Thanksgiving. This is the counter only. Clever buyers will fashion some sort of legs - oil drums?

Case in point, Mr. Jackie Stewart looking like he was dressed by a 1971 Sears catalog - precisely how his 5 year old fans were dressed at the time.

Recently, I accidently purchased two of these 1000% cool Corgi Formula 1 Elf Tyrell-Ford World Championship cars made famous by the Flying Scotsman himself, Jackie Stewart. Knee high to a grasshopper, not afraid to wear a tartan hat with a pompom, big sideburns, he was every kid's racing hero, as he was our size and dressed like we would if Halloween was everyday. The Mister Jalopy collection has room for exactly one of these, therefore, the second is available for sale ($25), with, as always, 10% of the proceeds directly benefiting the Chinatown Incubator. Alternatively, accepting immediate trades for John Player Special F1 Corgi of the same era.