Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Seventy-five Years of King Midgets

More than 70 microcars descended on Bowling Green for the 30th annual King Midget Jamboree. This year's meet celebrated the 75th anniversary of Midget Motors of Athens, OH. 

The King Midget, manufactured in Athens, Ohio from 1946-1970, was advertised as the "World's Number One Fun Car" and initially had 7.5-horsepower before later models had 12-horsepower motor. They averaged 50-70 miles per gallon and reached a top speed of 50 mph. At one point, it was the the sixth-highest-selling car in America. 

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Perils of Racing Little Cars

There's nothing more exciting than racing a car that's so close to the track that you can almost reach out and touch it. (But don't do it!) 

H-Modified was a racing class that existed from about 1953 to 1967 or 1968. In its early years (1953-1963) it was for cars with displacement of 500-750ccs. In 1963 or 1964 displacement was increased to include cars up to 850ccs. It was an exciting time for small-bore racing, and it wasn't unusual to see 15-20 cars racing wheel-to-wheel. And it was a starting point for many mechanics and drivers -- cheaper than the bigger racing cars.

In a resurgence of the class (in vintage racing) there are five cars registered to run in this September's Put-in-Bay Road Races. Don't miss it.

Cartoon by Joe Puckett.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Not Too Late...1959 Piaggio Vespa 400

This 1959 Piaggio Vespa 400 went unsold at RM Southeby's Labor Day auction in Auburn. Not sure what the reserve was, or how close bidding came to it -- but the owner chose not to accept the high bid this past weekend.

That's not good news for the consigner...they went to the trouble of getting the car to Auburn and preparing it for the auction...but it could be good news if you're looking for a clean looking Vespa.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Mini Turns 60

The Mini, introduced in 1959, came to be a truly iconic vehicle -- with sales of about 5.3 million of the original two-door Minis.

The Mini introduced a new design that was copied by multiple other manufacturers -- transverse engine, front-wheel drive -- freeing up space for passengers and luggage.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

OSCA -- The Other Italian Car Company

This Tipo S OSCA was delivered to Briggs Cunningham and raced by the Cunningham team in 1959 and 1960. With a 750cc OSCA engine it was a very competitive car in the H-Modified class. (Similar cars won the H-Modified National Championships in 1959 and 1960.)

O.S.C.A. was founded in 1947 by three brothers, Ernesto, Ettore, and Bindo Maserati -- who all left Maserati to start their own company. Not a very catchy name...OSCA stands for Specialized Auto Construction Workshops -- in Italian.

The car was displayed at Pebble Beach in 2018.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Devin Crosley

A popular body -- to turn a sedan or sports car into a unique fiberglass special -- was the Devin. Based in California, Devin made bodies from 1955 to 1964, in 27 sizes to fit most cars.

There is a Devin Crosley on eBay (September 3, 2019). The Devin body is mounted on a 1950 Crosley frame, with a modified 750cc Crosley engine. (Twin Tillotson carburetors and exhaust headers.)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Not as Easy as it Looks

We all have stories about push starting a car. And every time we tell the story, it sounds easier and easier. Turns out it's not always all that easy -- particularly if you've got a high-compression car.

This Effyh f3 car seems like it would be no problem to push start. It's only about 500 lbs., manual transmission, and the engine is only 500ccs. But coordinating everything can be a challenge. (By the way -- they did get it started...eventually.)