This 1961 F250 is Damn Near Perfect

Tim Odell December 18, 2014 For Sale

1961 Ford F250 4x4 for saleWhat does a truck need? Ample cargo capacity, the ability to take it anywhere and the drivetrain to keep doing so forever complete my list. Looking great is sort of a nice aside. This particular 1961 Ford F250 “High Boy” checks all the boxes: 4×4, granny-low four speed, and heavy-duty solid axles sprung by leaves. The seller claims the engine is a “330”, a non-existent displacement. From the one shot of the engine bay we can see it’s an FE engine, but could be a 352, 360 or 390. It doesn’t really matter which, as all are torque monsters.

The “High Boy” term refers to the tall stance that 4×4 Ford F250s (3/4-tons) had prior to mid-1977. They’ve got what roughly amounts to a four inch lift compared to later or F100/150 half-ton trucks, fitting 35″ tires stock. Though, it seems the term usually just applies to the generation after this truck, so maybe someone more detail-oriented could weigh in.

1961 Ford F250 4x4 interior1961 Ford F250 4x4 for sale

Are there drawbacks? Certainly, but the four-wheel drum brakes on a single-circuit master cylinder, probable manual steering, no crash engineering and a suspension endorsed by the National Academy of Reconstructive Spine Surgeons are merely opportunities for fun weekends spend upgrading.

As I type this, the bidding’s at $1,136 with an unmet reserve. The details decide how many integer multiples of that number it’s actually worth.

1961 Ford F250 4×4 – eBay Motors

Hooniverse Holiday Kids Gift Guide

Tim Odell November 25, 2014 All Things Hoon

The given that we’re headed into Commerce Season, the internet’s awash in “Gift Guides” for any possible sub-group of human. It’d be silly for us to make lists for The Hoon in Your Life, as you already know what you want. However, we think there are a few unique kids gifts we’d be happy to highlight. All too often our kids get various plastic noisemakers or more excuses to worship at the altar of Pixar’s Cars. What follows are a few things we’ve picked up that have been big hits for getting our boys to build, work, play and solve problems the way we do. Hit the jump for a few key suggestions.

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1959 Ranchero: A LeMons Car that Can Haul its Own Parts?

1959 Ford ranchero for sale

2015 might mark my return behind the wheel of a LeMons racer. The hope is to find something that’s pre-smog to allow for street legality without worrying about regular emissions testing. Also, old cars are kinda terrible, so they don’t get too much scrutiny in BS inspection. The actual goal is to find a three-pedal 1960-1965 Ranchero and milk the Mustang parts interchange for all it’s worth. Having a trucklet around might actually prove kinda handy, too.

But then there’s this thing: even older and more terrible than the engineered-to-the-cent Falcon platform: a full-size Ford based 1959 Ford Ranchero. According to the tiny sidebar in the Craigslist ad, it’s got a V8 (would be a 292ci Y-Block if original) and an automatic. It “just needs a carb”, which might mean the current carb is in wretched shape or might mean it’s been sitting in a field with the intake and half the cylinders open to the elements since the Carter administration. There’s (literally!) a truckload of extra parts to sell off to abate the current $1500 asking price, which will in turn free up the bed for a (literal) truckload of bribes. My understanding is that late-50s Fords were early NASCAR/Dirt-oval favorites, which suggests there might still be some old-timey cheats suspension upgrades to be thrown at it. I’m thinking a gardener theme, with everyone running around the paddock with annoyingly loud leaf blowers.

Source: Gold Country Bay Craigslist

Junkyard Generator-to-Alternator Swap for my Falcon
With Bonus Small World Coincidence

Tim Odell November 13, 2014 Wrenching Tips

1970 Ford Fairlane Wagon

Mid-60s compacts from the Big Three are the best and easiest project cars around. Case in point: upgrading my defunct generator to an alternator cost me less than $100 for a combination of junkyard parts, new brackets and a belt. In our typical style, this isn’t a “how to” so much as a walk through the kind of straightforward work that it takes to own an aging car in regular service.

The basic process for my cheap and simple swap: buy brackets from Falconparts.com, remove old stuff, drill out and tap one hole in head to larger size, buy junkyard alternator and regulator, install new parts, splice some wires, drive away. Of course, having to buy a tap and die set, nearly stripping a hole in the timing cover and cracking the corner off the head casting complicated things a bit…

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Finally, an International Harvester You Can Live In!

Tim Odell November 11, 2014 eBay Insanity, For Sale

1967 IH 4x4 ambulanceI wanted to make a quick Travels With Charley reference, relating to one’s occasional desire to pack it all up and hit the road in a slow truck with a box on the back. Unfortunately, I fell down a Wikipedia hole and really haven’t accomplished much. So maybe, without even going beyond viewing the eBay listing, this 1967 International Harvester 4×4 Ambulance has already lead me on a rambling journey of discovery. Having never read Travels, I expected it to be great but the reviews I just poured through make me think it’d sound more like a dated old man rant about “kids these days” than anything.

Still, the idea of having a rig big enough to sleep several and tote all their gear across traction-challenged surfaces holds some attraction. This example’s described as mechanically functional, but in need of cosmetic attention. Specifically, the interior’s begging for a undoing of the previous owner’s efforts and a renovation to match your intended use.

While the four speed and 4×4 system of this old IH are nothing to sneeze at, the I-6 and GIANT BOX shape might make for interesting times in anything but a brisk tailwind. Maybe the I-H faithful would refrain gathering with pitchforks and torches if a later 392 were dropped in instead.

Auction ends Thursday and the reserve’s unmet at just under $1,300. Is this a valuable rare truck or (like a 6×6) a novelty with limited buyer base due it its size?

1967 International Harvester 4×4 Ambulance for sale – eBay Motors

If this were an Action Movie, Someone Would Hotwire this 50 Year Old Landcruiser and Drive to Safety

1964 toyota land cruiser fj45lv wagonToday I lamented to a co-worker that our labs (at my day job) never look like movie science labs. In place of all glass-and-steel rooms, they’re typically the drop-ceiling-and-fluorescent-lights ambiance of every other cubicle farm. Similarly, a decrepit 4×4 like today’s 1964 Toyota Land Cruiser tends to miraculously come to life after a an hour of fiddling. Alternately, there’s something needed (gas, part, oil, etc) that sends one or more people on a mission that results in death, discovery of some new fact or revealing of secrets (“I’m not sure I trust Steve…”), then it starts right up just as the bad guys arrive.

Now, in fairness, if any vehicle could be resurrected in the span of a plot point it’s an F-powered Land Cruiser. This one’s got a three-speed, power nothing and most of the parts needed to make a driver out of it. Leaving the Zombie Apocalypse behind, we applaud the seller on a no-reserve auction and no claims of five or six figure valuations “if you can put in the work”. It’s $750 as I type this, which is still below the part-out value.

First step is to put that “new owner” energy to use and install/mend all the simplest items available, with a fast track towards driving it around the block. Clean out the carb, flush the fluids and feed it off of a gas can if you need to. Long-term, there’s a case to be made for a more modern, but still in the family drivetrain swap (pushing horsepower into the triple digits!). Upgraded brakes might come in handy as well. I’ll do what the seller’s too good to and point out that FJ45 wagons are actually quite valuable, so taking this one from “abandoned side-yard special” to some form of project driver could well be a cash-positive venture (provided you assign $0/hr to your own time).

1964 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ45LV for sale – eBay Motors

Mid-Engined Rat Rod Pickup Gets an A for Concept, C+ for Execution

1935 mid engine rat rod pickup for saleWe try not to be in the business of too much mockery or negativity here at Hooniverse. It’s not that we’ve got no teeth, but that we do Car Stuff (writing, wrenching, racing, driving, etc) for fun. The world’s a serious place with enough serious business going on; we use Car Stuff as a refuge. When we run out of awesome stuff to talk about we can traffic in outrage and cynicism.

That said, there’s room for commentary and critique. The idea of a mid-engine-ed (sigh…) rat rod pickup is an attractive one. Plenty of room and frame rail to mount up a bitchin’ powertrain for the world to see…or maybe better hide it under a toolbox or something like these guys from this year’s Thunderhill LeMons. With so much room, one could drop in a cool I-8, a gnarly industrial/aircraft/marine powerplant or a unique FWD choice like a Cadillac 472/500. Alas, the (sadly, deceased) builder of this car elected for a more obvious choice: Chevy 350/350 combo on a big box-steel frame attached to a Jag IRS.

But maybe we can salvage it to something a dash more creative. First off, we need to fabricate a functional frunk. There’s ample room up front for luggage or kegs. The radiator’s currently in the grille, but were it relocated to the bed a much more aggressive chop could be taken out of the grille/hood area. That, or replace the grill with a solid “shield” of polished or die-rolled metal or something cool. Out back, we need to lower that IRS some (looks like it’s trying to avoid being kicked in the nuts), ditch those fuel tanks (for a single unit up front?) and fab some semblance of a bed. If you wanted to get really “theme-y” with it, you could add an engine stand/hoist and make it look like it’s hauling its own engine as cargo. Put the radiator in there askew to add to the effect. goofiness aside, this thing could probably be made into a decent performer. Also, can you think of any other vehicle with independent rear, but solid-axle front suspension?

Anyway, the current bid’s $4,000 with the auction ending Friday afternoon.

1935 Rat Rod Mid Engine Pickup for sale – eBay Motors

Topless Tuesday: Fiat 124 Spider is the Best $1800 Bad Decision You Can Make

1976 fiat 124 spider for saleOk, look: $1,800 isn’t pocket change, but it is the kind of money you might be able to make available for the right cause. This is the right cause. We’re talking about a gorgeous Italian roadster in functional shape with no major bodywork issues. This is a car you could buy now, enjoy before the weather gets too wintery, spend a few hours sprucing up over winter and sell on the first gorgeous day of spring next year for a tidy profit.

“Oh, it’s Italian! It’s rare! Fix It Again Tony!” Bah! The Fiat twin-cam motor ran from 1966 to 2000, putting it on-par with any of your favorite Detroit-sourced motors. It powered numerous Abarths over the years as well as the epic Lancia Delta Integrale. The Spider itself remained in production from ’66 to ’85 (From ’83-85 Pininfarina took over), meaning parts shouldn’t be all that hard to get. Plus, it’s gorgeous, in an understated ragazza della porta accanto kind of way.

Some argue that the Miata perfected the sporting roadster of years gone by, that any money you want to spend towards a cheap, fun sports car should go to the best Miata it buys. These people aren’t wrong…but they live too comfortably.

Auction ends Thursday morning!

1976 Fiat 124 Spider for sale – eBay Motors

Experience the Lameness of First Wave Hybrids with this Canadian Artifact

Tim Odell October 23, 2014 For Sale

1979 Marathon Electric Hyrbid Prototype

Electric vehicles aren’t coming; they’re here. While Tesla gets all the press, there’s no shortage of EV or PHEVs from major OEMs. I’d put the technology on-par with early 90s cell phones: expensive and limited, but no longer outlandish. However, a couple gas crises, increasingly lame OEM cars and an uptick in under-occupied engineers during the 70s-80s caused small-run EV conversions and series hybrids to bloom like toxic algae. On paper, the potential is there: take something light, drop in a forklift motor and pile of batteries and you’re no longer dependent on Big oil! Man! Alas, every EV prior to GM’s EV1 suuuuuuuucked. Detractors claim the Model S’s battery technology still limits the practicality of the car, but it’s as though they’ve forgotten how lame these things were: sub-sub compact, 50mph top speed and maybe 50 mile range.

That said, we don’t mock the atlatl for being a crappy crossbow, we appreciate its place in history. Same with this early Marathon Electric hybrid prototype. Based on the Briggs and Stratton motor, and diagram in the article from the listing, this appears to be a series-hybrid setup. Somewhat cleverly, the rear of the vehicle is actually a trailer chassis (for holding the battery weight) while the front has some kind of FWD drivetrain of unknown origin. Rest assured, this thing serves no practical purpose that a golf cart or UTV couldn’t best it at, but I’m still a little curious what kind of range and performance it could get with a new set of high-capacity polymer batteries (they’re not included, of course) and a more modern generator. Might also big a cool instructional demo vehicle for a high school or college physics class. Not sure it’s $5,000 worth of cool instructional vehicle, though.

Seriously, though, check out article from The Montreal Gazette from 1980. It’s deliciously anachronistic, but eerily similar to today.

1979 Marathon Electric Hyrbid Prototype – eBay Motors


Malaise Showdown: Cosworth Vega Vs 4-Speed LeMans

1975 cosworth vega for sale1975 cosworth vega for sale

With six divisions and 50% market market share, GM of Old could afford to offer a variety of flavors of “sporty” cars. The “Colonnade” styling of the A-body midsizers, introduced in 1973, embodies so much of the Malaise Era: overwrought and overweight, housing large but disappointing powerplants, a desperate hollow ploy to hang onto what made the 60s great. Meanwhile, on the communist side of town, the Vega represented the new reality of Diminished Expectations: America was going to have to make due with less. Smaller, lighter and more advanced was the future, and the Vega was here to show us the way.

But if you’re reading Hooniverse you already know all that. The Vega was about 3/4 done when launched and the Colonnades are almost lovable if properly overhauled to be more beefy than porcine. Such is the case today. Our Pontiac’s been blessed with a warmed-over 389 from a ’66 GTO, backed by a four-speed Muncie M22. The interior’s decent (as ’74 Pontiacs go) and the paint’s good. I’d do the details differently: wheels and tires that fill the wells, no hood scoop and probably one four-barrel instead of two. However, overall the package looks like a fun machine for parking lot donuts and some decent drag passes. The reserve’s unmet at $3,150, but I’d guess this is a $7-10k car.

“One Vega for the price of two”, the Cosworth Vega is arguably the more Hooniverse car here, in that it’s a crappy platform that might just have some potential courtesy of some choice upgrades. Wait…I just said that about the Colonnade. Ok, anyway, the Cosworth Vega came equipped with a 2.0L motor checking all the right boxes: all-aluminum, DOHC, EFI, stainless header, and a decent-for-the-time 6500RPM redline. Alas, in production trim it only managed to deliver 110 net horsepower.

Our example’s in damn good shape—from 20 feet away. The paint’s original, faded and rusted in only one spot according to the seller. Otherwise the listing’s pictures show the interior and engine bay to be in great original shape. With a $2499 opener and $3600 buy-it-now, this actually looks like a damn good deal for the Best of the Worst.

Malaise Light or Original Flavor?

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