Thursday, July 31, 2008

Austin Seven's are Everywhere

The Austin Seven is one of the most popular (or at least most-produced) mincars. The version manufactured from 1922 through 1939 was often referred to as "The Car for the Millions" -- the first affordable car, allowing families to move up from motorcycles to an automobile.

I recently ran into an example outside of Dublin, parked in front of Johnnie Fox's Pub. It is in very rough condition, and I'll bet it hasn't been on the road in years -- but you can see the promise it held for the many people who drove them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Russians are coming (by land, sea and air)

Aleksandr Begak took two years to come up with his Aerocar. It wil drive, fly and float like a boat. His next project is another dream drive that we read about in the pages of mechanics magazines 50 years ago.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From Russia With Wheels (land and sea)

Here is an interesting vehicle from Russia. It was possibly built in the 60's and now hidden away in storage. The vehicle is some kind of aquatic car, looking somewhat like a personal submarine. The engine seems to be a single cylinder motorcycle motor. The interior is rather nautical too. For a number of detailed pictures here is the link to this interesting site.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Das Awkscht Fescht (Car Show in Macungie, Pennsylvania -- August 1-3, 2008)

Billed as one of the country's largest antique and classic car shows, "das Awkscht Fescht" (Pennsylvania Dutch for "The August Festival") should draw over 1,400 antique and classic cars from 33 automobile clubs.

This year should be interesting. The Crosley Club has thrown down the gauntlet. They are challenging the Nash Metropolitan Club to see which club can show up with more cars. Historically the Mets have fielded about 15 cars at the event. This is the Crosley Club's first year at Das Awkscht Fescht, but they are hoping to get as many as 20 cars to the show. (Wishful thinking? -- Perhaps...but we'd like to see them pull it off.)

So...all you Crosley and Metropolitan fans should dust off the cars and bring them to the show. And the rest of us will have lots of great cars to see.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Volkswagen 1-litre car

Volkswagen 1-litre car – Condensed high-tech perfection
120 km/h prototype consumes just 0.99 litre of diesel per 100 kmcd value of 0.159, extreme lightweight construction and maximum safety standards

At the 42nd Annual Meeting of Stockholders of Volkswagen AG in Hamburg, the most economical car in the world is presented: the 1-litre car. The prototype, which until now has been kept closely under wraps, and which may people never believed could be built, was driven under its own power from Wolfsburg to the Annual Meeting in Hamburg. Before the Annual Meeting, the current Chairman of the Board of Management, Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, drove this research vehicle to Hamburg from the company's headquarters at an average fuel consumption of 0.89 litres per 100 kilometres. This has once against impressively demonstrated Volkswagen's position at the cutting edge of modern technology.
The objective of developing a roadworthy vehicle that consumes just 1.0 litre of fuel per 100 kilometres could not be achieved through compromise. All existing technical solutions were examined, and in close cooperation with numerous suppliers, replaced by better, and principally lighter versions. The result is a vehicle that looks more like a sports car than a typical research vehicle.
The conceptual necessity for a small frontal area led to an unusually narrow and very flat body form being chosen. The body was developed in a wind tunnel, is 3.47 metres long, but just 1.25 metres wide and just over a metre in height, and is made completely of carbon fibre composites. To save weight, it is of course not painted. The carbon-fibre-reinforced outer skin is tensioned over a spaceframe that is not made of aluminium, but rather of magnesium, which is even lighter.
The 1-litre car is powered by a one-cylinder diesel engine, centrally positioned in front of the rear axle and combined with an automated direct shift gearbox. The crankcase and cylinder head of the 0.3-litre engine are of an aluminium monobloc construction. The naturally aspirated, direct-injection diesel engine employs advanced high-pressure unit injection technology to generate 6.3 kW (8.5 bhp) at 4,000 rpm. This gives the vehicle, which weights just 290 kg, an astonishingly lively temperament.
Fuel consumption is a mere 0.99 litre per 100 kilometres. With a 6.5-litre tank, this gives a range of some 650 kilometres without refuelling.
Due to the restriction of space, it was not possible to adapt an existing gearbox. For this reason, a compact, automated 6-speed gearbox is employed, which is controlled from a turn switch in the cockpit.
Running gear made of lightweight alloy, tyres that offer optimised rolling resistance and 16-inch wheels made of extremely lightweight composite material perfectly complement the economical drive system.
The interior is sportingly simple in design, yet offers enough space for two people, who can comfortably get in after folding back the turret-like gullwing door. An extremely lightweight construction has also been employed for the seats. The seat frames are made of magnesium, and firm, yet comfortable fabric covers are used instead of a classic upholstery.
Despite the lightweight construction of all components, safety has been a major element in all phases of the development of the 1-litre car. For example, the concept vehicle's safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, ESP electronic stability program and a driver's airbag. Deformation elements at the front end and the spaceframe construction provide impact and roll-over protection comparable to that of a GT racing car.
The sports-car-like design demonstrates that Volkswagen's 1-litre car is not a spartan research vehicle, but a high-tech special vehicle. It starts with the special seating arrangement. The driver and passenger sit centrally as if in a monoposto, but in tandem. The mid-engine is installed transversely in front of the rear axle. With its complex design (double wishbones at front, DeDion suspension at rear) and combined with the low centre of gravity and low overall vehicle weight, the lightweight running gear results in very agile handling.
The project team have impressively succeeded in combining driving pleasure with a level of fuel consumption never seen before.
The 1-litre car also incorporates numerous details of a practical and convenient nature. For example, there is an easily accessible stowage compartment with a capacity of 80 litres under a separate flap in the rear; a reversing camera that helps when manoeuvring; automatic locking/unlocking of the gullwing door and a starter button in the cockpit that together allow keyless operation.
The concept of the 1-litre car - four wheels, low height, with two seats in tandem - gives an idea for a possible new family of vehicles, which could cover new requirements ranging from the ultra-economical vehicle, through the low-lost everyday touring vehicle for young people to the high-performance sports supercar.
(MINUTIA Note: The car is described as a 1-litre car because it was designed to travel 100 kilometers using one liter of fuel. If you read closely, you will note that the engine is described as 0.3 litres -- a true microcar in all senses of the word.)
Thanks to Sam Hemkes, Microcar & Minicar Club Membership Coordinator, for bringing this to our attention.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Microcars in Boonton, New Jersey (August 9, 2008)

The following is a note sent in by Rob Maselko -- giving us a "heads-up" on an upcoming car show in New Jersey. Microcars are welcome, and made a good showing at last year's show:

Last year a group of us attended the Boonton, New Jersey "Main Street" car show, and were surprised to find ourselves in the middle of an excellent show. Starting at 4PM, they close off Main Street to normal traffic, and open it for show cars. In case you haven't been there, downtown Boonton is full of wonderful quaint old shops and a variety of restaurants. Most of the buildings date back to the turn of the last century or before. The setting is perfect for viewing old cars, and the variety and quality that show up is impressive.

The 6 microcars in attendance last year were a big hit. The show organizers gave us prime parking, front and center, across from the judges' reviewing stand. Attendees get coupons for the local restaurants, so after taking-in cars for a while, you can enjoy a fine meal before the awards are announced.

I'm planning to show the Trojan 200 bubblecar there for the first time in 8 years (this gives me a deadline to repair it by), and I'm hoping you will join me! See attached flyer for details and registration information.

On One Cylinder,

Friday, July 25, 2008

Gould's 13th annual micro mini car meet

Well, we made it to another great time at the Gould's in Newton, MA. We enjoyed several rallies through tree lined streets followed by a mountain climb with the spectacular view of perfect day. The event is spread over the weekend and included a show at the Larz Museum where we gave rides to spectators and a jaunt to the ice cream parlor where we kind of take over the parking lot into the evening. I enjoy driving the cars throughout the weekend verses the usual park your can in a lawn chair type show. Each year we bring different cars. This year it was my son's 1979 Trabant Combi and my 1966 Trabant sedan. It's held in early July each year just to celebrate the affection for our little contraptions and we hope to see you there next year.
Mike Annen

Harley car (Old School Custom Car)

Built on a 1934 Harley Davidson 45 Servi-Car chasis, it also has the Harley drivetrain with original kick start. Parts were scavenged from 14 cars for the body. It resides in the National Motorcycle Museum located at 200 East Main Street, Anamosa Iowa. The museum features many displays that microcar people would enjoy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Does a Crosley Tractor Count as a Minicar?

It seems that Crosley's have been turned into almost anything. The company turned out sedans, wagons, pickups, SUVs (yes -- the first SUVs were Crosley's), sports cars, and utility vehicles (that would be the Crosley FarmOroad). But for some people that wasn't enough -- they felt the need to turn their Crosley's into race cars...and even tractors.

This is a little homebuilt Crosley-powered tractor. It is shorter and narrower than a stock Crosley, and it sports a gear reduction that gives it some real pulling-power.

And it seems that this example followed me home. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally Update - A Berkeley SE 328 Completes the Rally

Hi All, just returned yesterday after my successfull completion of the Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally. I must say that I was astounded that my 1957 SE 328 made It! However, like Ray Bell's B95 we also suffered a drive shaft failure in Ljubjana and consequently lost a return leg (290 points) back to Bolzano! Up untill then we were 2nd and 3rd in our class, (authentic 300-500 cc) but as no other car in this category dropped a leg it was impossible for us to catch up on points. I felt extremely guilty as the drive shaft end I used was actually Ray Bell's. Mine went prior to his so he kindly lent me the spare only to find his car going down with the same problem the next day! He had one sent from England by overnight courier by M R Smith to get his car back in the event! Out of the nine Berkeley's taken over for the Rally only two had to be retired due to mechanical/electrical failure, these were a B95 (big end failure) and an SE 492 (electrical problems). We were all pleased, and slightly astounded that we were more successfull than the original 1958 Berkeley entrants. Indeed when our little SE328 arrived into the square in Ljubjana the rally organiser, Malcolm McKay greeted us with the phrase "congratulations, you've just beaten Pat Moss and Anne Wisdom", as their original SE328 failed on the exact mountain pass crossing from Italy into what was then Czechoslovakia! On the cars that took part, it is interesting to note that the two SE492's that prior to the rally had undergone total ground up restoration required considerably less maintainence than the "running" examples, of which three, an SE 328, a B95 and a T60 all lost one leg of the rally due to repairs needed from mechanical failure! Bearing in mind that these cars all had been thoroughly "gone through" in the weeks preceeding! From my own point of view I must place my own success at completing the rally on my German navigator Thomas Luck, without his assistance in finding people with repair shops and local people willing to help us out with tools and sunderies neccesary to complete repairs we would NOT have been on the finishing list! Some may say that this was an unfair advantage, but Thomas was, and did help out other members as well! The other consolation was that Thomas and I were awarded the trophy for the best "original car and occupants", as we had agreed prior to entry to keep in the spirit of 1958 as much as possible with regard to clothing and accessories! Regards Bill Toyer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That was then - This is now (Bike Trike Car)

Yesterday we featured a BSA motorcycle attached to an Isetta. Today we have the modern equivalent. For the low - low sum of $95 you can have the plans to build your own "Sportcycle". Half car, half bike and all fun. Pick your own power, from a hot Kawasaki, wait a minute, I'm talking to microcar people here. Let's choose something with about 125cc, that's more our speed.
For full info -

Monday, July 21, 2008

All in the family (Modified microcars)

Two sons, their father and grandfather all were bitten by the car bug. This BSA/Isetta was something the father came up with. His father built an array of small cars including the prop car in the above photo. The sons stick to rebuilds of a series of Morris autos. Take a look at some interesting cars -

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Through the Mountains in a Berkeley -- More Reports from the Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally

Another update from the Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally

Saturday Munich.

We are out of the Alps with relatively flat driving to do. Yesterday we all enjoyed a sunny climb through tunnels hairpins and steady first and second gear slogs up the Pennes pass to 2200 m. At the top we lined up 5 Berkeleys with drivers for a team photo. Ray's B 105 was fitted with a new outer driveshaft sent from the UK by DHL and with the help of a fork lift truck shop was all running within 36 hours. Last night we were entertained by BMW in their fantastic new museum today we visit two German car museums one specialising in micros. The rally has approx 56 micros in it and all but 6 are still running after approx 16000 miles.

Ray Bell - Editor of the Berkeley Enthusiasts Club Newsletter

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A beautiful day in the neighborhood (NEV Cars)

A Neighborhood Electric Vehicle or NEV is a low powered mode of transportation for around the retirement community, the campus, or other places where it's a slow go. The average speed is 25-35mph with a range of 30-50 miles. I admit the styling of these little electrics has
changed over the years, but the performance is stuck in the 1950's.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Rally Reports: From the Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally

Ray Bell, editor of the Berkeley Enthusiasts Club Newsletter, took time from the Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally to post this update on the Berkeley Yahoo Site.
Thursday morning (17 July, 2008) :
"Well, last night we arrived in Brescia to a fantastic civic reception in the fabulous historic central square, and enjoyed a heady mix of food wine and car talk. I say we, but unfortunately my B105 is still in Bolzano, waiting for a new stub axle to arrive. (Mike Rounsville Smith in England has found one and it is being shipped out by DHL.)

"The first car to arrive at Brescia was of course a BERKELEY! - Graham Higgs SE492 hardtop, which has run faultlessly all the way. So far, my car and the B95 driven by Jamie Pfeifer have been the only Berkeley casualties, but I'm pretty confident that mine will be back on its wheels tonight. Sadly Jamie's car is back on a trailer heading for England with a badly failed big end on its Royal Enfield engine.

"Yesterday the big challenge of the rally, the Stelvio Pass, was closed due to landslip caused by a heavy storm earlier in the week but some intrepid souls took the back route via Switzerland and managed to get to the top. Todays route will be revised slightly, as there was meant to be a return visit. Instead we will have a bit longer to idle around at the Mille Miglia museum.

"The total rally distance so far is somewhere around 1400 miles - many of us take two years to cover this mileage and some unusual faults have shown up! Enough material to fill several newsletters. A final thought - there are still four Excelsior 492 triples still running strong, and showing the way ahead to a field of pretty tough cars. These engines can be built to run the distance, with the help of needle bearings and electronic ignition. Maybe we need to reassess our views on the supposedly fragile triple!

"Off for breakfast now. More later if I can get online again."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

King Midget: Pint-Sized Royalty

Looking through old magazines can be very addictive. After searching for the Almquist article, I stumbled across a piece on King Midgets from the December 1953 issue of Sports Cars and Hot Rods (by the editors of Mechanix Illustrated).

"The King Midget is described by its makers, Midget Motors Supply, of Athens, Ohio as "a car that a schoolboy can afford to own and drive." An all-steel two-passenger roadster weighing all of 550 lbs., it is powered by a single-cylinder four-cycle marine-type engine that develops 8 1/2 hp at 3,600 rpm. The two-speed transmission is, believe it or not, fully automatic -- no clutch pedal is provided -- and the car will run easily and comfortably at speeds up to 40 or 50 mph. Now this may not seem like breathtaking performance, but when you consider that this is intended as a second car, mainly for fun, and that it costs less than $600 and gets 65 miles on a gallon of gas, you begin to realize that the Midget is a might handy little buggy to have around.

"With independent suspension on all four wheels, good brakes, and light, quick steering, the King Midget will handle and corner like a baby sports car. And it is comfortable enough to be used on long trips. One owner, who lives in Ohio, plans a trip to South America in his Midget. This in itself constitutes a wonderful compliment to a car with a 72" wheelbase and an overall length of just eight feet. Long live the King!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Almquist - Sports Cars in Fiberglass

A couple of recent postings on the Hemmings Blog featured Almquist cars -- one with a Crosley engine and another with a big V-8 for power.

I seemed to recall an article on Almquists in an old magazine, so I went hunting in the attic until I came down with the Trend Book 178: Sportscar Specials. I can't find a date on the magazine, but there is an ad on the back cover for some 1959 Annuals, so it must be 1959 or 1960.
Here is the "lowdown" on the Almquist:
"Almquist Engineering, of Milford, Pennsylvania, manufactures four fiberglass shells designed to fit practically any type of chassis, as true bolt-on kits. The Almquist Company lists 34 American and 21 foreign cars and chassis which will accept their body shells. In addition, they provide detailed instructions, showing not only how to mount their shells to the listed models, but also plans for mounting them to some of the more outlandish American wheelbases!

"The "Sabre" I and II are identical in appearance, but different in size, the first having a wheelbase of from 72 to 82 inches, and overall length of 124 inches. The "Sabre" II uses a wheelbase of from 82 to 92 inches, and overall length of 134 inches. Tread for both models is from 45 to 52 inches, width of 56 inches, cowl height of 24 inches, and can be mounted for road clearance from 6 to 8 1/2 inches.

"The "Speedster" models I and II are three-seaters, and vary in frontal appearance and wheelbase. The first model has swept-back fenders, with the headlights carried in special cast-in mountings in the grille. It has a wheelbase length of from 94 to 106 inches and overall length of 156 inches. Model II carries the seal beams in fender flairings, uses a wheelbase of from 106 to 116 inches, and sports an overall length of 166 inches. Both have a tread of from 52 to 60 inches, width of 68 1/2 inches, cowl height of from 27 to 30 inches, and road clearance of from 6 to 9 inches.

"Apparently, a heap of planning and designing has gone into the design of the Almquist bodies. Designing bolt-on shells for any single stock chassis is difficult enough, let alone making shells for practically anything the builder might come up with. Moving the lights from the grille of the Sabre to the fenders is done with simple fiberglass adaptors which are easily fused into the fender-line with resin -- completely changing the appearance and character of the car. All sorts of accessories are available from fiberglass hardtops to fancy grilles, and prices are reasonable. The "Sabre" shells are priced at $295, and the "Speedster" at $495, FOB the factory, plus a $19 crating charge. In addition, they have an easy payment plan set at $98 down and $17.47 a month payments for the "Sabre", and $165 down and $29.27 a month for the "Speedster" . . . shades of Henry Ford!"

For more information on these, and other fiberglass cars, check out Fiberglass Sports Cars.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rally Report: Editor of the Berkeley Enthusiasts Club Newsletter Writes from the Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally

Sunday morning (13 July, 2008) :

Nine Berkeleys entered (Over 50 cars total )and 9 still running after 2 full 12 hour driving days and 650 miles, for some who drove from the UK -over 800. The rally has included two kart track driving tests and taking electronic photos of checkpoints on the way to prove you have driven the route and have map reading skills. In fact the co-drivers have nearly one hours homework each night to plöt the route for the next day -- this is no holiday, especially when you are on short sleep! All have had minor problems but today is the first real test -into the Alps, starting from the BMW Museum Munich. The weather has been cool - great for the engines but wet, so wet bums has been a common driver complaint! Unfortunately the Messerschmitt Tigers are beating the Berkeley REteam at present! But we are hoping that our team shirts, caps, overalls and LBL -Berkeley coffee mugs will win something!! The scenery despite the weather has been great through Belgium and Germany. Spa Francorchamps circuit lived up to its reputation - it was raining.

(Ray and Nigel Halliday -- England, are piloting a 1959 Berkeley B105 in the Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Remembering Hans Glas (Automobile Pioneer)

We honor Hans Glas on the 40th year since his passing. Mr. Glas produced one of the most popular cars in our in our field, the Goggomobil. Above we have a picture of him with his grandson, also named Hans, but called Goggo as a nickname. Hans' son Andreas named their first venture into motorscooters the Goggo Roller and when they started to build cars, the name Goggomobil was chosen. For more of the Hans Glas story go to -

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Indian Dispatch Tow

Dealerships and garages used the Dispatch Tow to deliver cars. Prior to its delivery, the Dispatch Tow was secured to a vehicle's rear bumper with its integral front-mounted tow-bar. The vehicle was then driven to the customer with the three-wheeler in tow. Upon arrival, the Dispatch Tow was unhooked and ridden back to the dealer or garage. This enabled the establishment to send only one person to drop off a vehicle. It also granted an owner the luxury of not having to personally retrieve a car.
1941 Indian Dispatch Tow from the collection of the Gilbert Family (exhibited at the Petersen Automotive Museum).
Dispatch Tow brochure from CycleTownUSA collection.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Mustering of Freeways

When I saw these three Freeways parked in Northern Michigan a couple of years ago, the first thing that came to mind was...what do you call a collection of Freeways?

A herd of Freeways

A flock of Freeways

A band of Freeways

A swarm of Freeways

A mob of Freeways

So I did a quick Google search and decided that "mustering" seemed most appropriate. (Apparently it is "correct" to refer to a group of storks as a "mustering of storks".) I guess that's better than the terms for a group of crows (a murder of crows) or, my personal favorite, the term for a group of ferrets -- "a business of ferrets".

At any rate...I snapped this photo of three Freeways in a parking lot on US Highway 31, near the intersection of 31 and M-137, north of Interlochen, Michigan. I have no idea why the cars were there, and I was late for my flight out of Traverse City, so I had no time to ask questions.

Any answers?

Friday, July 11, 2008

King Tut's microcar? (Electric pyramid car)

Powered by invisible forces called electricity, this little pyramid is quite unusual. Built by Greg Zanis and sons, it features a full wraparound bumper, four engines and four wheel drive. This micro can reach 45mph and a range of 80 miles is it's limit. Greg calls it the "Dream Car". It's great to see imagination at work and on the road.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gould's 13th Microcar & Minicar Classic

We hope you are on your way to Gould's 13th Annual Microcar & Minicar Classic. It is the Northeast's premier microcar assembly -- and this year's meet should be the best ever.
Last year's event drew over 70 cars, and more than 1000 spectators were on the grounds of the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation to see the cars.
Details on the event are available on "The Bubbledrome."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Drive your Microcar to Work - This Friday!

While the guys at Classic Motorsports have declared the second Friday of each month as "Drive your classic to work day," we wanted to take it one step farther. The Microcar & Minicar Club has declared the second Friday as "Drive your Microcar to work day." (And we are flexible on the definition of what a microcar [or minicar] is. If you consider it a do we. And remember, we also like to include anything on three wheels.

The Classic Motorsports folks are basking in the sun down in Florida, and view the "season" as year-round -- those of us up north need to get in as many driving days as we can while the weather cooperates. So get out there, and send in your pictures and experiences.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Up Up and Away (Helicopter Car)

Every decade since the 1930's we've seen articles about flying cars,
but few have gotten off the ground. About the closest they came was
the Aerocar, a low production flying car built in the 1950's. Now with
new technology we might finally get that commuter car of the future.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Club of the month - Crosley Automobile Club

Powel Crosley put his name on many products over the years and many were very innovative, his car was no exception. The Crosley was "A Fine Car" and the Crosley Automobile Club Inc. is a fine club. Their club magazine is always an interesting read. For all you Crosley buffs out there, don't miss the CAC Nationals this week July 10 - 12 , 2008. For all your Crosley information check out their club website -

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Even New Yorkers Can't Resist A Minicar

We've all seen it -- proof that New Yorkers exist as a world unto themselves. All kinds of people move to New York, from all kinds of places. But there is something about the city environment that changes these people. They arrive, looking at everything, craning their necks to see the tops of the buildings, and marveling at the crowds and unusual people. But after a while, they acquire that New York "I've seen it all" attitude. You could walk throught he city with a Llama on a leash, and few people would notice (at least few people would admit to it).

As a test, StreetsNY Channel (YouTube), parked a Fiat 500 on a New York street, stepped back, and watched the reactions:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Resting and Rusting - Fiat 500's By The Side Of The Road

This photo was taken in April 2005 -- showing a pair of Fiat 500's on the side of the road just east of Philadelphia. (Audubon, NJ -- on the corner of Highway 38 and Chapel Ave.)

The red car looks to be in pretty good shape, while the blue one has suffered. Rips in the roof have exposed the interior to the elements (the black trash can liner is a poor substitute for the original top), and someone has been playing on the hood, caving it in.

A drive-by in October 2007 revealed that the blue car is absent from the pair. No clue whether is was retrieved for restoration, or sent to the scrap yard.

If you have any "Resting & Rusting" minicar photos, we'd like to see them.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

When thinking of symbols of freedom, most wouldn't think of the Trabant. The end of the cold war is a big deal and the Trabi represents it well. A symbol of freedom for a large number ex-DDR citizens, many of whom live with us here. Land of the free. Remember fallout shelters and weekly air raid alarms and duck-n-cover?
Happy 4th everyone.

Made in the USA

It's easy to think that all the microcars and minicars came to us from Europe or Japan. (Isetta - German/Italian, Heinkel - German, Messerschmitt - German, Fiat 500 - Italian, Subaru 360 - Japanese, Honda 600 - Japanese, Bond - English, Berkeley - English)

You get the idea...

But, let's not forget all the minicars that were made right here in the USA.

King Midget
American Austin/Bantam
Buckboard (various manufacturers)
Crofton Bug
HMV Freeway

And we are confident that this is only the tip of the iceberg. It's the Forth of July -- let's celebrate the mini and microcars made in the USA. Send in the names of the ones we left off the list.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

You Can Never Have Too Many Crosley Engines

Dan Strohl of Hemmings just caught the Crosley engine bug. It is a rare disorder that is characterized by an unreasonable craving for small, single-overhead-cam, four-cylinder engines. And in severe cases, an insatiable desire to possess a COpper BRAzed verson of these little engines.
Dan relieved the symptoms of his engine bug (at least temporarily), by walking home with four Crosley engines a couple of weeks ago -- a stash he uncovered in Stamford, Vermont.
The engine pictured above is actually a Fageol 44 -- one of several "post-Crosley" versions of the original engine. The Fageol was manufactured as a boat motor. (A complete Crosley engine family tree can be found on the Crosley Automobile Club website.)
I can understand Dan's obsession, because I too have the Crosley engine bug. I've got three of the little buggers -- and I don't even have three cars to put them in. I know I can get over this condition. All I need is...another Crosley engine.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Berkeleys (and other British cars) Meet on Cleveland's East Side - August 2, 2008

British Car Day XXII will take place on the grounds of Ursuline College -- on Cleveland's East Side.

For Berkeley-ophiles, this meet has become the closest thing to a National for the marquee. It's a not-to-be-missed event. And for others, Brits at Ursuline is the place to be, to see all manner of British Cars -- from MGs to Jags, from Triumphs to Bentleys. Over 250 cars are expected at this year's event, and judging will cover cars from 35 classes.

Details on the event can be found at Brits at Ursuline.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Fascination" The Free Energy Car

The Fascination was a "Car of the Future" in the 70's. It was created by Paul Lewis,
the designer of the streamlined Airomobile in the 1930's. The first models were powered
by conventional engines, the plans were then changed to use the revolutionary Grey EMA
powerplant. That is when the trouble started. The Grey engine was touted as the modern
invention that could change the world. When public tests were done and newspaper articles
were published about a new magnetic engine that needs no fuel, charges itself, creates no
pollution and could change the world's economic power base, the government stepped in.
The inventor Edwin Grey was harrassed and the authorities seized his engine. Reporters
were threatened with arrest if they persued the story.
Got to go now, the authorities are here.