Archive for March, 2011

Bad Drivers: Part 2

Bad truck driver at gas stationx

bad driver in parking garage

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bad driver into hole

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bad driver down staircase

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bad driver car down stairwell

Bad Drivers: Part 1

Lady Driver gets stuck in mud

lady driver gets stuck on railroad tracks

woman driver gets stuck in mud

pretty girl driver gets stuck

woman bad parking job

First auto race on a track in the United States - Smithsonian Collection

On September 7, 1896, an electric car built by the Riker Electric Motor Company wins the first auto race in the United States, at the Narragansett Trotting Park–a mile-long dirt oval at the state fairgrounds that was normally used for horse racing–in Cranston, Rhode Island. Automobile companies sponsored the race to show off their newfangled electric-, steam-, and gas-powered vehicles to an awestruck audience. The carmakers’ gimmick worked: About 60,000 fairgoers attended the event, and many more people read about it in newspapers and magazines.

Seven cars entered the race. Along with the Riker Electric, there were five internal-combustion cars and one other battery-powered machine, this one built by the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company. The race began slowly (“Get a horse!” the spectators shouted as the automobiles wheezed at the starting line), but the Riker soon pulled ahead and won the race easily, finishing its five laps in about 15 minutes. The other electric car came in second, and a gas-powered Duryea took third.

Rhode Island is probably not the first place most people think of when they think of American automobile racing, but car racing in the Ocean State actually has a rich history. That Narragansett race was only the beginning: The Cranston track drew so many spectators that cities all over the state soon built dirt ovals of their own. For its part, the original raceway got so much use that its owners had to close it in 1914 for renovations. When it reopened the next year, it was like nothing any car-racing fan had ever seen. The new track was a paved, banked “Super Speedway” designed for 100-mile races.

On September 18, 1915, 50,000 people came to the first contest at the new park, where they watched the celebrity racer Eddie Rickenbacker coast to victory over a field of famous drivers in spectacular cars. Unfortunately for the Narragansett track’s investors, however, Rhode Islanders’ enthusiasm for car-racing waned as other kinds of mass entertainments grew more popular. The Cranston raceway closed for good in 1923.

History of James Bond Cars

Cars used in James Bond Movies

Famous Movie Cars: Ghostbusters ECTO-1

Ghostbusters is a supernatural comedy multi-media franchise created in 1984. Its inception was for the movie Ghostbusters, released on June 8, 1984 by Columbia Pictures. It centered around a group of eccentric New York City parapsychologists who investigate and capture ghosts for a living.

ECTO-1 from the movie Ghostbusters

The Ectomobile, or Ecto–1 is a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style endloader combination car (ambulance conversion) used in the 1984 film Ghostbusters and other Ghostbusters fiction.

In the original movie, this vehicle was purchased by Ray Stantz for the relatively high price of $4800 (over $9800 in 2009 dollars when scaled up for inflation) in a poor state of repair. In Stantz’ own words, it needed “suspension work and shocks, brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear end…, new rings, mufflers, a little wiring….” It is assumed that Ray continues listing needed repairs after this scene cuts away.

After the necessary reconstruction, it was used to carry the team’s ghost-capturing equipment, as well as transporting the Ghostbusters through New York City. It has a distinctive siren wail. Its features include a special pull-out rack in the rear containing the staff’s proton packs, which facilitates a quick retrieval without the complication of having to reach into the vehicle’s rear. There are also various gadgets mounted on the top, whose function is never revealed in the movies. A cartoon episode featured the “proton cannon”, presumably a more powerful version of a proton pack, mounted on top for use against extra large or even giant sized paranormal entities. The book “Making Ghostbusters” by Don Shay describes a deleted scene where a police officer places a ticket on the Ectomobile only to have it instantly burn to ashes.

1929 Ford Model A Sedan Snow Bird conversion

Ford Model Ts and Model As were ubiquitous reliable strong and inexpensive. Any number of companies conceived specific applications for Fords to adapt them to specialized applications but the Snow Bird is certainly one of the strangest. The concept was originated by Virgil White of West Ossipee New Hampshire. Later taken on by B.P. Arps and Adolf Langenfelds Farm Specialty Manufacturing in Wisconsin a Model A-based Snow Bird built by Arps was part of Admiral Byrds 1931 Antarctic expedition. This 1929 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan with its Arps Snow Bird conversion was originally used by the New York Guard and later by a rural mail carrier.

Finished in Manila Brown accented in Black Yellow wire wheels with Taupe cloth upholstery it drives through caterpillar style treads encompassing the rear tire and two leaf sprung auxiliary bogies on each side. The front wheels have long skis mounted just an inch or so off the ground inside the front wheels. In addition to the Snow Bird package this Model A also has an exhaust manifold heater.

You can by this for about 60k…click HERE to see

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the fictional vintage racing car which features in the book, musical film and stage production of the same name. Writer Ian Fleming took his inspiration for the car from a series of aero-engined racing cars built by Count Louis Zborowski in the early 1920s, christened “Chitty Bang Bang”. Six versions of the car were built for the film and a number of replicas have subsequently been produced. The version built for the stage production holds the record for the most expensive stage prop ever used

For the film version, six cars were created, including a fully functional road going car, GEN 11. This car was designed by the film’s production designer, Ken Adam and cartoonist and sculptor, Frederick Roland Emett, built by Alan Mann Racing in Hertfordshire in 1967, fitted with a Ford 3000 V6 engine and automatic transmission and allocated a genuine UK registration: GEN 11. This car has been in the private ownership of Pierre Picton of Stratford Upon Avon since the early 1970s. Five other car props were built by the studio: a second, smaller road-going version; a transforming car; a hover-car; a flying car; and an engineless version for trailer work. Most had engines added after filming was complete and were used to promote the film throughout the world.

chitty chitty bang bang car with Dick Van Dyke

Hey, Hey, It’s The Monkee Mobile!

The “Monkee Mobile” was a custom Pontiac GTO made special for the 1960’s TV Show “The Monkees”

Custom car from The Monkees TV show

Monkeemobile #1 used on TV Show

The Monkeemobile is a modified Pontiac GTO that was designed and built by designer Dean Jeffries for The Monkees, a pop-rock band and television program. The car features a tilted forward split two-piece windshield, a touring car T-bucket-type convertible top, modified rear quarter panels and front fenders, exaggerated tail lamps, set of four bucket seats with an extra third row bench where the rear deck should have been, and a parachute. The front grille sported the GTO emblem

Custom Pontiac from TV show The Monkees

Monkeemobile #2 used for promotion and car shows

Don Keefe has some great info on The Monkee Mobile that you will find HERE