Monday, June 28, 2010
1968 Oldsmoblie 98 Convertible
1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2
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1946 Oldsmobile Series 76 club sedan
1950 Oldsmobile 98 Futuramic four-door sedan
1955 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday 2-door hardtop
1962 Oldsmobile Convertible
Oldsmobile 1959 Super 88
1957 Oldsmobile Convertible
Posted by Palmer at 11:28 PM
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Classic cars by definition from the Classic Car Club of America are cars that were built from 1919 to 1948. They focus on these first cars ever built. Cars that don't fall in this range are called antique cars, although some people like to interchange the terminology. These cars were typically the creme de la creme, or cream of the crop cars. They were expensive when they first came out, and were made in very limited quantities. Some cars may not fit that bill, but they also can be the first to use a specific development of technology. For example, a car that first used power brakes can be considered a classic car. These are the true classics that people think of. An example that many people may have heard of would be a Rolls Royce. There are many other definitions to classic cars, as it is truly up to the person deciding if it is a classic or not. There are modern classics that are usually at least 15 to 25 years old. For insurance purposes, states give their own definition. For example, Pennsylvania law says that the car must be at least 15 years old and also conform to the original specifications that the manufacturer stated. It truly varies with whoever you speak with. Due to this confusion, the more information you can get regarding classic cars the better. The CarsDirect website is a great source of articles on general classic car information, as well as specific information on certain makes and models.
Classic car value is a very delicate subject. If you are the owner of a car that is in less than mint condition, it is very possible to improve its value, however you should be very careful. While proper restoration is a very difficult and time consuming process, decreasing the value of a classic car is very easy and is often done without the owner even realizing it.
Numbers Matching Cars
The most valuable classic cars are those that are not only in flawless condition, but more importantly are equipped with all of their original factory parts. Numbers matching refers to a car in which all major parts including the engine, transmission, and rear axle, and in some cases even the alternator, carburetor, distributor, water pump and cylinder heads all match the original parts numbers listed for the car. Should you need to replace or repair any of the major parts of your classic car, trying to replace them with parts from the same type of car, year and model will help preserve as much value as possible.
New Parts versus New Old Stock
While the difference between newly manufactured parts may be hard to notice simply looking at them, their impact on a classic car’s value can be enormous. While newer, more recent parts may function more efficiently as well as boast superior durability, using them on a classic car can be catastrophic to its value. In order to maximize the value of your classic car, try and use new old stock parts, or parts that were manufactured during the same time period as the car yet have never been used. If you are unable to locate them for the parts you need, you may want to consider looking for a parts car, or a car of the same year and model as yours that is in poor condition. While these cars may be nearly worthless themselves, the parts you may be able to salvage from them can help improve the value of yours by a great deal.
One of the best ways to improve the value of your classic car is by restoring the body. Repairing dents, and other forms of body damage as well as rejuvenating tired paint with a fresh coat of any of the factory colors of paint the car was available in originally can lead to large increases in value.
Keep Detailed Maintenance Records
Not only do well kept, detailed records help prove the great condition of your classic car as well as the work put into restoration, they can explain any parts that don’t have matching parts numbers, as well as give a window into the life and potential future of your car. People like to know the histories of the cars they buy, and having a detailed record might be enough to coax a few more dollars from a potential buyer.
While customization can make a car more suited to your tastes, it can be devastating to the value of a classic car. For maximum value, always try and keep your car as close to original specifications as possible, using as many original parts as possible.
Posted by Palmer at 7:15 AM
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The Pontiac Bonneville Special was a purpose-built, concept car that was unveiled at the General Motors Motorama in 1954 and was the first two-seater sports car that Pontiac had ever produced. Designed by renowned designer Harley J. Earl and hand built by Hommer LaGassey and Paul Gilland, the Special was an experimental car, a two door, grand touring sport coupé that incorporated innovative breakthrough styling like an all-plexi canopy with gull-wing panels on a sleek fiberglass body. Two Special prototypes, one painted metallic bronze and one emerald green, were built with the intention of unveiling them simultaneously at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York and the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1954.
As of 2006, both cars still exist, belonging to Joseph Bortz of Highland Park, IL.
The design of the Special drew its visual impetus from America’s fascination with aeronautic and rocket design in the 1950s, employing a wind-tunnel inspired profile and high-tech bright work throughout the body, hood and grill. Glass covered recessed headlights, like those on the 1953 Corvette, two rows of louvers on the fenders and twin "silver-streaks" on the hood that lead to functional air scoops were it’s most distinguishing features. The rear end styling was its most over-the-top visual cue. Featured between two rather bold fender fins were ultramodern twin exhaust chrome-ports, similar to today’s Porsches, and a custom spare tire enclosure with space-age wheel disc that gave the car a jet-powered appearance.
Interior styling in the Special was state of the art for its time, and indeed would pass muster against today's computer-designed automobiles. The dashboard was a sleek, wing like design that incorporated a clean horizontal layout of working instruments that gave the interior a futuristic cockpit look. Even underneath the dash, the gauges were sealed in by a contoured metal facia with brushed finish, assuring by Earl that no detail would go unnoticed. Between unique, parabolic shaped, leather bucket seats lay a matching metal, center console with functionally modest gear shift handle, twin vent-control levers, and ignition key slot. Centered over the three spoke, Corvette-style steering wheel was a single, large speedometer that read a top speed of 120 mph. Passengers gained entry through conventional, lower doors and gull-wing panels, incorporated into the monocoque-style canopy, that swung upward.
Under the hood lay the "Special"-8, a bored out, high output 268 in³ engine that was painted bright red and detailed in chrome. This was a unique configuration for the "eight", installed in the only two Specials ever made. Called the Silver Streak in de-tuned production cars, it was Pontiac's most powerful engine to date in the early 1950s. Similar in appearance only, this was a high compression variant that was modified with a long-duration cam and aspirated naturally through four Carter YH side-draft, single barrel carburetors, the same used in the 1953 Corvette, under open-mesh breathers. Total output was the highest ever for the "eight", rated at 230 bhp, though some estimated it at over 300 bhp. Like the Special, only two of these remarkable variants were ever made. Gearing was controlled through a 4-speed Hydramatic automatic transmission.
Note: Pontiac’s new V8 was being considered for use in the Special but was instead held back by GM marketing. They directed that the straight-8 be used, to keep the "vee" a secret from consumers for one more year until its debut the following year.
Carry-overs from the Special that actually made it into production models
The name "Bonneville" was rumoured to have come from GM designer Harley Earl visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It was in fact the first car at GM to have been named after it, and would become Pontiac's top end performance platform for 47 years.
The silver-streaks would appear again as a pair on the 1955 and '56 Chieftains and Star Chiefs, not to mention Pontiac's concept car for 1956, the Club de Mer.
The twin scoops: Designed to channel cool air into the driver's compartment, they resurfaced again on both the 1967 Firebird and 1968 GTO.
The louvers: Emblazoned horizontally on the fenders behind the front wheel wells, they would appear again as vertical slits on the 1957 Star Chief Bonneville and 1965 [[Pontiac 2+2|2+2]].
The tail fins: A bold feature on the Special, they would be copied on the 1955 and '56 Pontiac.
The instruments: The 1958 Bonneville - '58 being the first full year for the Bonny - had a sleek instrument panel that looked a lot like the one in the Special.
The wheels: The finned wheel covers on the Special became a design cue for Pontiac's famous 8-lug, aluminium rims that were introduced in 1960.
The colour: It was undoubtedly being remembered when designing Pontiac's modern two-seater, the Solstice, which was also painted metallic bronze.
According to Special owner Joseph Bortz, the air in the tires, with the exception of a few top-ups, is the same air from 1954.
On January 24, 2006, one of the two Specials sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for US $2.6 million.
Posted by Palmer at 1:23 AM
The Pontiac Club de Mer was a purpose-built, concept car that was unveiled at the General Motors Motorama in 1956 to celebrate GM's commitment to futuristic design. The brainchild of GM designer Paul Gillian, the de Mer was a two door sport roadster that incorporated innovative breakthrough styling like a sleek, low-profile body encasing a large powerplant, a design trend used widely in LSR (land speed record) trials at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah during the 1950s. One Club de Mer prototype was constructed and unveiled, along with another ¼-scale model, in Miami, Florida. As per GM's "kill order", it was scrapped in 1958. Only the 1/4-scale model exists today, owned by noted car collector Ron Pratt who purchased it at the 2007 Barrett Jackson Classic Car Auction for $75,000
The design of the de Mer drew its visual impetus from contemporary aircraft construction of its day, employing a stainless steel monocoque, individual wind screens similar to those on the 1955 Lincoln Futura (later TV's Batmobile), aerodynamically fashioned facia that flowed down from the hood skin to cover most of the grill, concealed headlights, and a single rear-deck dorsal fin. Also featured were twin "silver-streaks" that flowed into low-profile hood scoops, a carry-over from Pontiac's Bonneville Special two years prior. The overall styling of the body was a smooth, non-undulating profile, similar to an American supersonic jet fighter, with virtually no protrusions or recesses of any kind save for the out-vents on the leading edge of both doors, and the fin. The vehicle had no bumpers, a common feature on most concepts, and the door handles were quite small. On a human scale, its most alarming feature was that it had a very low profile at just under 39 inches.
The interior styling in the de mer had a barebones functionality to it, more in keeping with its speed trial “airs” than the flashier production vehicles available in showrooms at the time. Instruments were low key, with triangularly configured gauges mounted well behind a three spoke, GT-style steering wheel, around the steering column. The speedometer was positioned on top, and a smaller gauge on either side, each enclosed in its own pod. The interior was finished in red, while passengers gained entry through conventional doors.
Under the hood lay Pontiac’s brand new wonder engine, the 287 OHV V-8 which was unveiled the year prior. Called the Strato Streak, it was GM's most powerful engine by 1955 and ushered in Pontiac’s high-performance image with the Bonneville, Grand Prix and GTO. This high-output power plant was modified with a high-lift cam and fitted with two four-barrel carburetors to coax power up to a mighty 300 bhp. The rear wheels were driven by a rear mounted transaxle, used later in Pontiac's new compact, the 1961 Tempest, on a DiDion Type rigid rear axle with independent suspension.
"Concept" was not a term used in the 1950s but instead "experimental car".
The individual bubble windscreens were an innovation carried over to the 1956 and 57 Corvette racing car.
The model kit maker Revell made a 1/25 scale Club de Mer that actually came with 1950s-clad driver and passenger.
Posted by Palmer at 1:19 AM
Monday, June 7, 2010
The Pontiac Chieftain was an automobile produced by the Pontiac Motors Division of General Motors from 1949 to 1958. Chieftains were one of the first all new car designs to come to Pontiac in the post World War II years. Previous cars had been 1942 models with minor revisions.
First Generation (1949-1951)
First Generation Production 1949-1951
Engine(s) 239.2 in³ L-head I6
268.2 in³ L-head I8
Wheelbase 3,048 mm (120.0 in)
Length 5,143.5 mm (202.50 in)
Curb weight 1,535.41 to 1,557.18 kg (3,385.0 to 3,433.0 lb)
The first generation Chieftain replaced the Torpedo as Pontiac's top automobile and was similar (if not exact) in dimensions, engines, trim levels and options to the lower level Streamliner. However, the Chieftain was based on the sportier GM A-Body shell instead of the Streamliner's more staid B-Body shell.
The Chieftain was initially introduced with four models: Sedan, Sedan Coupe, Business Coupe and Deluxe Convertible Coupe. In 1950, a Catalina Coupe was added to the range while a station wagon was added in 1951.
First generation Chieftains came with a choice of four engines:
a 239.2 in³ L-head 6-cylinder engine making 90 horsepower (67 kW) at 3400 rpm
a 239.2 in³ L-head 6-cylinder engine making 93 horsepower (69 kW) at 3400 rpm
a 268.2 in³ L-head 8-cylinder making 103 horsepower (77 kW) at 3800 rpm
a 268.2 in³ L-head 8-cylinder making 106 horsepower (79 kW) at 3800 rpm
The horsepower differences between each of the 6- and 8-cylinder engines were due to changes in compression ratios.
Some of the more interesting optional items available for the first generation Chieftain included a radio with seven vacuum tubes, tissue dispenser, under seat heaters, and a Remington Auto-Home shaver.
Second Generation (1952-1954)
For the 1952 model year, Pontiac discontinued the Streamliner leaving the Chieftain as their only offering. The Chieftain moved to the new 122 wheelbase A-body platform. Engine offerings were basically the same except for the 8-cylinder which got a .2 cubic inch enlargement. Horsepower did increase by 10 on the 6-cylinder and by 15 on the 8-cylinder.
The 1953 Chieftains were largely unchanged from 1952.
The Star Chief joined the Pontiac line in 1954, bumping the Chieftain down to entry level status. Both cars were built on the A-body shell but the new Star Chief had an 11-inch (280 mm) extension added to its frame. Also in 1954, 8-cylinder engines increased by about nine horsepower due to carburetor changes. The 6-cylinder engines remained unchanged.
Also in 1954, power brakes and air-conditioning were offered as extra cost options for the first time.
Third Generation (1955-1958)
The 1955 model Chieftains featured completely new chassis, body and engine. The engine was the biggest news as this was Pontiac's first V8. The 287.2 in³ engine made 173 or 180 horsepower (130 kW) at 4400 rpm depending on which version was ordered (again, the difference was due to changes in compression ratios). A 6-cylinder engine was no longer offered.
The biggest change for 1956 was again in the engine. The new for 1955 V8 was drastically enlarged to 316.6 in³. Horsepower made a considerable increase, jumping to 192 and 205 respectively. Otherwise, the 1956 model Chieftains received only minor updates.
New "Star Flight" styling graced the 1957 Chieftains. This new theme included missile shaped side trim, extended rear fenders with V-shaped tips, lower hoods and massive bumpers. A new Super Chief sub-series debuted within the Chieftain line. These were the meant to be the top of the line Chieftain models.
Once again the Pontiac V8 was enlarged. The 1957 model year say the engine increase to 347 in³ with horsepower increasing to 290 for the Chieftain models.
Chieftains went through another major styling change in 1958. All models were give honeycomb grilles, quad head and tail lamps, concave rear fenders, and longer, lower lines. The Super Chief sub-series was promoted to full model status leaving just the standard array of Chieftains as the entry level Pontiac.
As in years past, the V8 engine was enlarged. For 1958 it grew to 370 in³ and made 240 and 270 horsepower (200 kW) depending on version.
The 1958 models were the last Chieftains to be produced. It was replaced with the all-new Catalina in 1959.
Posted by Palmer at 2:35 PM
Intended as a combination between a sports car and a sedan, the 1954 Pontiac Strato Streak was created as a concept car for the 1954 Motorama auto shows. Orginially it was painted a metallic green, however it was later repainted a metallic red and renamed the Strato Streak II.
Distinctive features of the Strato Streak included:
■Center-opening side doors without a B-pillar
■Fiberglass body on a 124-inch wheelbase
■Swivel front seats
The 1954 Pontiac Strato Streak concept was a 4-door “hardtop type” car inspired by the Pontiac Catalina. With no center post between the doors, the car could be opened up completely. It had 4-bucket seats and the front set swiveled sideways for easier entry. Controls for safety and convenience accessories were on the drive shaft tunnel.
The Strato Streak was built on Pontiac’s 124-inch Star Chief’s wheelbase and was only 54.7-inches high, 8.7-inches lower than contemporary production models. The interior featured beige leather and a special nylon fabric with gold metallic threads. The Strato Streak’s backlight pillars were as narrow as possible. The wide rear window was supplemented by quadrant shaped sidelights. The rear doors opened into the wind, with special locks to prevent opening unless the car was stopped and in neutral.
It originally had a metallic green finish on its fiberglass body, but was later painted iridescent metallic red and renamed the Strato Streak II.
Posted by Palmer at 2:27 PM
The Nash Rambler was a North American automobile produced by the Nash Motors division of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation from 1950 through 1956.
Nash-Kelvinator's President George W. Mason saw that the company needed to compete more effectively and insisted a new car had to be different from the existing models in the market. The Rambler was designed to be smaller than contemporary cars, yet still accommodate five passengers comfortably. The Nash Rambler established a new segment in the automobile market and is widely acknowledged to be the first modern American compact car.
In developing this new car, Nash had originally planned to call it the Diplomat. This name would have rounded out the Nash family of cars, as for 1950 the 600 line was renamed the Statesman, and the Ambassador remained the flagship line. When it was learned that Dodge had already reserved the Diplomat name for a planned two-door hardtop body style, Nash delved into its own past, and resurrected the Rambler name from an 1897 prototype and its first production model, in 1902. The Rambler was one of the most popular of early American autos. Similarly, the new Nash Rambler was highly respected throughout its 1950-1955 lifespan.
The Nash Rambler was introduced during the 1950 model year. The new model was the company's entry in the lower-price segment dominated by models from Chevrolet, Ford, and Plymouth. The Rambler was designed to be lighter and have smaller dimensions than the other popular cars. A strategy of efficiency, Nash could save on materials in its production while owners would have better fuel economy. The car rode on a 100-inch (2,500 mm) wheelbase, and power came from Nash's proven 173 cu in (2.8 L) L-head (flathead) Straight-6 cylinder engine that produced 82 hp (61 kW).
1951 Nash "Country Club" hardtop
1952 Rambler station wagon
Additional historical context of the Nash Rambler, along with the Nash Healey and Metropolitan was that US citizens were exposed to and had become fond of smaller more efficient compact and sporty European cars during the Second World War theater of operations. Along with the less gaudy styling cues of European design, that input of enjoying more compact cars was also an effect of Kelvinator having a wide market overseas. This influence is seen directly in the Pinin Farina models. AMC would continue to import European design and styling flair for its products without much notice by typical sources of media, such as the Gucci, Pierre Cardin and Oleg Cassini models, as well as noticeable bodyshell features such as the 1974 Matador Coupe's grille arrangement.
The new Rambler was also introduced only as an upmarket two-door convertible - designated the "Landau". The decision to bring the car out in a higher market segment with more standard features was a calculated risk by Mason. Foremost in this strategy was the need to give the new Rambler a positive public image. Mason knew the car would fail if seen by the public as a "cheap little car". He knew what Crosley was just finding out with its line of mini cars, and what the Henry J would teach Kaiser Motors; namely, that Americans would rather buy a nice used car than a new car that is perceived as inferior or substandard.
Other factors incorporated into the Rambler's marketing mix were the limited steel supplies during the Korean War, as well as the strategy for profit maximization from the new Rambler. The desire to earn a high return for the company meant the new Rambler, with its expected low initial production volume, was priced higher than the base models from its intended competition. To further increase the value to buyers, the car was well equipped compared to the competition and included items such as whitewall tires, full wheel covers, electric clock, and even a pushbutton AM radio.
Following the design of the larger "senior" Nash models, the compact Rambler's styling was rounded in form and also had an envelope body with fender skirts that also enclosed the front wheels. This design feature did not impair the car's cornering ability too significantly. Unlike almost all traditional convertibles of the era that used frame-free side windows, the Rambler retained the fixed roof structure above the car's doors and rear-side window frames. This metal structure served as the side guides or rails for the retractable waterproof canvas top. This design allowed Nash to utilize its monocoque (unibody) construction on its new compact. It made the Rambler body very rigid for an open-top car, without the additional bracing required in other convertible models.
In 1951, the Rambler line was enlarged to include a two-door station wagon and a two-door pillarless hardtop - designated the Country Club.
A car tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1951 had a top speed of 80.9 mph (130.2 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 21.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of 25.2 miles per imperial gallon (11.2 L/100 km; 21.0 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car was reported as costing $1,808 in the United States, British sales had not at the time started.
The Rambler received its first restyling in 1953, and came to strongly resemble the "senior" Nash models which had received all-new "Airflyte" styling the year before. A two-door sedan was added in 1953. For 1954 a four-door sedan and a four-door station wagon - designated the "Cross Country" - were added. These four-door body styles used a 108-inch (2,700 mm) wheelbase. For 1955 the traditional enclosed front wheel wells were opened.
On January 14, 1954, Nash and Hudson Motor Car Company merged, and the successor corporation was named American Motors Corporation (AMC). Following the merger, Hudson dealers began receiving Ramblers that were badged as Hudson brand cars. The Hudson Ramblers and Nash Ramblers were identical, save for the brand name and minor brand badging.
For 1956, American Motors created an all-new Rambler, using a 108-inch (2,700 mm) wheelbase and increasing the overall length of the cars. Again, the Rambler was sold under the Nash and Hudson brand names. The new Ramblers came only as four-door models. Along with the usual four-door sedan and station wagon was a new four-door hardtop sedan. Also, Rambler introduced an industry first, a four-door hardtop station wagon. For 1957, the Rambler became a make in its own right, no longer branded as a Nash or Hudson. Also, for 1957, a V8 engine became available in Ramblers for the first time. This was AMC's own 250 cu in (4.1 L) V8 engine introduced the year before in the Nash Ambassador Special and Hudson Hornet Special. In addition, available only in 1957 was a special high-performance four-door hardtop sedan model called the Rambler Rebel. The Rebel came equipped with AMC's new 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8. The engine was also used in the larger Nash Ambassador and Hudson Hornet for that year. Plans had called for a fuel injection option for the Rebel, but hard starting in cold weather forced it to be scuttled at the last minute. The limited-production Rebel (1,500produced) is considered to be a precursor of the muscle cars that became so popular in the 1960s.
In 1958 the Rambler became the sole brand of automobile produced by American Motors Corporation, with the discontinuance of the Nash and Hudson brands. For information on Rambler brand cars, see: Rambler (automobile).
Posted by Palmer at 1:35 PM