Suzuki Samurai 1936 GMC Mashup…Actually Works Pretty Well

Tim Odell July 2, 2015 For Sale

GMC Samurai mashupAlas, the poor Samurai. Like its namesake, Suzuki’s SUVlet was right only for a specific time and place. The mid-80s USA was neither. Nevertheless, it’s a great little platform on which to build a compact trail rig. Rarely do people complain about the boxy 80s Japanese aesthetic, but our seller here saw fit to rebody one with a 1936 GMC front clip and custom made dump bed.

Looking past the purple paint, 1992tastic wheels, “Mongrol” (SIC) decals and lack of a roof, this thing’s actually pretty awesome. The swoopy front fenders swallow 33″ tires and the rear mini-bed can haul landscaping materials, hay bales or (as the seller suggests) hogs. Pardon my City Boy ignorance, but that’s what a “hog hauler” does, right? It’s not some country euphemism? I won’t even speculate as to whether said hogs are alive or not…

Remember, it’s roughly the size of today’s side-by-side UTV type vehicles, but still street legal. Titled as a ’36 GMC, it’s exempt from pretty much everything in states that care about such things. Before hitting the street, it’ll need a host of clean-up activities to deal with squishy brakes, wiring and “some rust”.

The seller’s only asking $1975 for it, which really isn’t too greedy depending on the nature of the rust (and a billion other details). Auction ends Monday!

1936 GMC-Samurai Mashup – eBay Motors


Gearturbine / Retrodynamic Engine thing as Art and Object Lesson

Tim Odell June 30, 2015 All Things Hoon


After the jump is a bizarre tip/pitch/skreed about a prototype multi-stage turbine thing, but to be honest it reads like some kind of engineering-themed nonsense verse with phrases like ” DextroRPM VS LevoInFlow + Ying Yang Thrust Way Type – Non Waste Looses”. For a bigger dose of either WUT or WAT just click through.

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The Cheap(ish) Muscle Car Lives!

Tim Odell June 25, 2015 For Sale

1965 Ford LTD Muscle car for saleFour hundred twenty eight cubic inches of displacement and four gears manually selected by a floor shifter, accompanied by clean steel wheels and a mostly-straight, casually-painted body. Asking between $5,800 and 6,0000.

I’d elaborate, but I spent most of the time I should’ve been writing this or another post picking up a five-lug eight-inch rear axle for the Ranchero and figuring out what size tires to run. Instead, just substitute in the standard clichés: perfect as-is, would buy if it was closer, if you don’t like it we can’t be friends, etc.

Given that I’ll be running 3.55:1 gears in the rear axle, what wheel/tire combo ensures the best use of second and third gears? I’m still using the Vexer calculator we linked to five years ago. 205/50 R15s make a lot of sense in terms of lightness, fender fit and cheapness, but that puts us a just a little higher in the revs than I’d like for the latter portion of big straights. The other option would be 215/45 R17 (I keep hearing 16″s are on the way out), but then everything’s more. Expensive, heavy, big…more. Success with a crappy straight six and three speed requires less.

Oh, and the auction’s already over.  No one wanted to pay just under six grand for this thing which, to me, is a tragic commentary on us all.

Auction’s over, maybe the seller will re-list?



I want to, but Can’t Hate this VW “Cobra” Kit

Tim Odell June 16, 2015 For Sale

1969 vw cobra kit car for sale (2)I hate Cobra kits. If you can’t afford a real one, buy a LS-swapped Caterham or Miata, as they’re the modern equivalent (and will out-perform the original). Most VW kits make me itch just from looking at them, though examples very of their time garner appreciation. I “WTF”ed out loud (WTFOLed?) when I scrolled to see its derpy face poking from my eBay search.

1969 vw cobra kit car for sale

Wrapping around to the 3/4 view, the proportions are so swoopy and cartoonish, it’s almost not trying to be a Cobra. On its own, it has a pretty jaunty look. Alas the “VWKOBRA” license plate hints at the unfortunate copying attempt. It has the vibe of a project in need of the “last 10%” finishing: tuning, hooking up gauges, touching up paint, etc. That really means the “last 50%”, but it’s a VW so that’s still only eight moving parts. For my time and money, I’d tweak the aesthetic towards a more off-road look with a couple extra lights on a small prerunner bar up front, then some grabbier old-school offroad tires out back.

Speaking of money, the seller’s asking $3700, which actually doesn’t seem to crazy for this vehicle in this condition. While rare doesn’t necessarily equal valuable, I’ve never seen a VW “Cobra” kit before, so at least you’ll never be the second one at a car show. Be sure to park in the Shelby row, by the way.

1969 Volkswagen Cobra Kit Car for sale – eBay Motors

Calculating Head CCs, Compression Ratio and Risk Tolerance

Tim Odell June 11, 2015 Project Cars

measure cc head

Engineering’s a funny thing: there’s no such thing as “Best”, only “Best for a Purpose”. We’ll take The Ranchero’s cylinder head as a case study: I’ve got a good 200ci block bored .030″ over and a mystery head. I need to determine how much to mill off that head to ensure straightness and the proper compression ratio.

I wanted to do a whole tech write up on this process, but to be honest it’d just be recreating this diagram and repeating much of this Classic Inlines article about static Vs dynamic compression ratios. To summarize the first: there are many things that contribute to the ratio of displaced volume and leftover space at top-dead center. The second: gnarly cams effectively drop your compression ratio.

head level

In my case, it’s a pretty common theme you’ll see: early-to-mid-’60s motors tend to have lousy cylinder heads with small ports and valves. Later 60s-70s-80s motors have better flow, but also larger combustion chambers. If you drop a later model head on an early motor, you’re likely to end up with a pathetically low compression ratio in the 7s-to-low-8s:1 range, so you’ve got to mill it down.

In my case, I measured the existing chamber volume using kitchen oil and a freebie drugstore syringe, then created my own Google docs sheet to do the math for how much milling gives how much leftover space.

With that in mind, what compression ratio would you target to eek a few more ponies out of a gutless motor without creating something that’ll detonate to oblivion on lap two?


Custom Chevy-Powered Countach Replica is Nowhere Near as Bad as You’d Expect

Tim Odell May 14, 2015 All Things Hoon

lamborghini replica for saleMy “poster car” growing up was the Countach. While it was well past its prime by the late ’80s/early ’90s, my preteen brain couldn’t see past the proportions, cylinder count and wing to believe it was anything other than the ultimate mega everything.

With that in mind, I empathize with those who decide to make one themselves. Obviously, there’s a spectrum from bad Fiero kits up to Ken Imhoff’s “Basement Lamborghini”. Barring Avogadro’s Number of details, this seems to be somewhere in the middle: complete custom tube chassis, twin-turbo Chevy small block power, but still a ZF 5-speed between the rear wheels. This one’s got the proportions right, and has a number of actual Lambo parts incorportated, but is definitely a collection of fiberglass copy-panels. That said, if you’ve ever looked at a Countach up-close for more than 30 seconds, you’ll notice the build quality’s not much past a high-end kit car…so maybe side-by-side with a weathered Countach it wouldn’t show too badly. It did actually run in 1997, but has been stored since.

Anyway, this is an estate-sale situation where it seems the builder’s gone on to the great auto shop in the sky. His brother’s selling everything as-is, where-is in Southfield, Michigan. The reserve’s met at a mere $4550 as I type this, which is probably close to the part-out value of everything included.

1980 Lamborghini Countach replica for sale – eBay Motors

This Beater Marauder Convertible is Hotrodding at its Finest

1961 mercury marauder for saleThis 1961 Mercury Marauder has all the necessary equipment: A tri-power 390ci V8, four-speed transmission, nice seats, intact floors and power brakes. Intact sheet metal, a roof and hood? These things only serve to confine.

From context it seems the seller yanked it out of a barn somewhere then paid attention to getting the floors and mechanical bits sorted, swiped the interior out of what looks like an 80s Mercedes (that MB-Tex lasts forever) and called it a day. He drives it daily. For some reason I imagine the seller played by Woody Harrelson with a just bit of a Florida Man vibe.

1961 mercury marauder tri power1961 mercury marauder interior1961 mercury marauder interior 21961 mercury marauder rear end

Which, honestly, is exactly what I’d do all day every day if I could: start with cars a week away from The Crusher and bring the back to some form of functionality. Let someone else worry about getting the quarter panels patched perfectly or finding the factory-correct hose clamps.

The auction ends today and as I type this it’s sitting at $4000 with 16 bids, which…ok, honestly that’s a bit steep. I’m curious where it ends up.

1961 Mercury Marauder for sale – eBay Motors

Black and Tan 1958 Mercury Wagon: I must have you

Tim Odell May 12, 2015 For Sale

1958 mercury wagon for sale
Ford did some weird things with Mercury engines in the late 50s. This wagon has a four-barrel 383ci V8, but thankfully not the ubiquitous Chevy stroker. Nope, this particular 383 is from the MEL family with a claimed 300-330hp and 400-something lb-ft of torque. Those figures are impressive, it’s been said those early power numbers came more from the marketing department than the R&D group. Still, in proper tune that lump has the low-end grunt to haul this beast around just fine. Beyond the drivetrain and the sweet paintjob, this one’s got a squeaky clean interior and enough power convenience features (brakes, steering) to cruise in comfort…provided it’s not too warm out.

Personally, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of slapping any of the recent crop of TBI carb-replacement EFI systems on an ancient, thirsty motor just to see what happens. Back that up by a C6 with an overdrive unit, and you’ve got a remarkably versatile cruiser/hauler. I was about to go into a “you don’t surf” rant about classic wagons always having a board on the roof, but this guy actually uses it to go to the beach, so I’ll leave off for now.

Anyway, it’s $7500 on SF Bay Craigslist. Please buy it so I can stop thinking about it.



Project Car SOTU: ’62 Ranchero, ’64 Falcon, ’69 Wagoneer and ’59 Project House Hell

falcon sonoma judgingTime flies. Re-reading last year’s post, so many of the “really need to get to…” items remain as such. At least my kitchen is done.

The ’64 Falcon just plods along, but with a growing number of minor nags. The Wagoneer pisses me off on a regular basis, but makes for good videos. The kitchen remodel’s done, so wanting for another huge drain of money and time I bought an utter POS ’62 Ranchero to race in LeMons.

Onward for details…

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Showdown: Non-Wretched Jeep FC Vs Detroit-Diesel Swapped International

Tim Odell May 7, 2015 For Sale, Showdown

1957 jeep fc150 for sale1960 international travelall for sale

It’s been forever since our last showdown, but when I had these two tabs open adjacent to each other (and a primordial version of my Falcon next to them), it was clearly time to dust off the category.

In one corner, a ’57 Jeep FC in rare mid-grade condition. Typically we find these in end-stage terminal corrosion or as $20k restoration queens. This one’s generally intact, running and driving, with a $6300 asking price. The flathead four cylinder and insanely low gearing aren’t going to win any races on paved ground but with some vintage mud tires and a locker or two, it’ll out-climb anything this side of a mountain goat. And it’ll do so with that bed full of cut firewood.

Representing the “Ugh, it’s not a Jeep, it’s an International” faction, we’ve got this 1960 International Travelall. As if an early Travelall wasn’t unique enough, it’s had a Detroit 4-53 swapped in. Fun fact: those Detroit Diesel engine names are the number of cylinders and the displacement for each. Thus 4-53 = 212ci (3.5l) four cylinder. These are good for somewhere just north of 100hp, meaning this leviathan will also be an exercise in patience. Mechanically, “everything’s in order”, but it’s evident that some paint and body work top the To-Do list. The $5000 asking price feels about $1500 too high, but maybe that’s just me.

international travelall for sale (1)international travelall for sale (2)international travelall for sale (4)

On this truckiest of Truck Thursdays, what would you pick?

Pokey FC or Pokier Travelall?

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