Last Call: Mercer Me! Edition

mercer cobra
The Virgil Exner-designed Mercer Cobra was commissioned by the Copper Development Association and is probably the weirdest Shelby Cobra you are likely to ever see. What other weird editions of great cars can you come up with?
Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day.  It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.
Image: inspirationgrid


        1. You love being right! 😉
          “Pearlescent, frost-blue white was the brand new color painted on the Futura, in Schmidt’s attempts to capture the iridescence of the fish he had viewed in the Caribbean. This brilliant color was created by Ghia who ground and pulverized the scales of thousands of fish to mix into the paint color.”
          Now, that’s bizarre. The Futura was one case where the production Mark II was a design much superior to what they got by letting the stylist have a free hand. Car was extremely popular with the public who loved all that jet plane stuff.

  1. It must have been a metal industry thing to use special versions of exotic cars to showcase their product. The International Lead and Zinc Research Organization purchased the Miura P400 Roadster, a one-off made in the Lamborghini factory by the hands of Nuccio Bertone himself (so I heard, citation needed) and long known as the only factory built convertible Lamborghini.
    In the hands of the ILZRO, “Chassis number 3498 was completely disassembled the moment it arrived in
    New York, all possible parts were changed into zinc-plated,
    chrome-plated, polished or re-manufactured using some metal (like lead!)
    made or distributed by the ILZRO, some of these items included the
    carburettor bodies, the carburettors stacks, engine covers, transmission
    covers, oil pump, filter housings, exhaust system, radiator, interior
    switches, the steering whee, the wheels themselves and both front and
    rear bumpers.

    Yeesh, how much that thing weighed after all that I don’t want to know. I had the privilege of being a docent in the Museum Of Transportation (now Larz Anderson Museum) when they owned it, and it was British Racing Green. We handed it over to J.Geils (yep, that one) who was a trustee of the museum, to get it put in to saleable shape. My own mom once contemplated investing the $50,000 they were asking for it! We had nowhere to keep it, and no funds to pay for the storage anyway.

      1. I’ve been watching that film off and on for 30 years. I’m usually so mentally compromised when I watch it that the next time around it’s like a whole new film!

  2. Is anyone else getting intensedebate notifications suddenly telling you people from the catering industry are following you? I haven’t used it since the switch, so it’s just weird to me.

    1. Not IntenseDebate but Disqus. I thought IntenseDebate went out of business? I saw the second headquarters of Automattic (parent company) the other day and they looked just as empty as the first HQ. (Yep, San Francisco.)
      When I check my notifications, now there’s always some random click-bait at the top of the pop-out. It blocks my view of who last upvoted a comment. At one point it said something like, “Are internet commentators controlling your thoughts?”

      1. That’s why it’s so weird, I also thought IntenseDebate went out of business, but I’ve had several emails about having a new follower, all of which are offering deals on catering supplies. It’s really strange.

      2. Yup, I’m also getting the “Are internet commentators controlling your thoughts?” on Disqus. Kind of annoying.
        So, are they controlling your thoughts yet?

    1. It is almost unbelievable that no lives are lost in such an inferno yet. There are more interesting cars gone, too, and the overall destruction of value is just mindblowing.
      Is there any talk about rebuilding the city? Moving it? Also, the environmental impact in such pristine nature must be devastating. The only good thing coming out of it is less tar sand based destruction, for a little while.

      1. I’m assuming their going to rebuild it.

        They rebuilt Slave Lake a few years ago, which was a similar situation. (It had less worldwide publicity due to the fact that it is/was a smaller community).

        Right now though, most of the city has been spread across the province. A large number have been temporarily moved to the Edmonton Expo Center, which is where I was supposed to be competing in a machining competition next week.

        Alas, that has been cancelled, but I really can’t complain, because at least I have a house to come home to.

        1. Yes, they’re just reporting that rebuilding might take a long time because, even if your house might still be okay, so many services have been wiped out (electricity, water, natural gas) for miles and miles around, those will not be back in a jiffy. Sad all around.

          1. What’s he doing wrong?
            (Honest question from the other side of the watery space ball)

          2. It really has very little to do with the man himself, more to do with long standing political animosity between Eastern and Western Canada, a lot of it the fault of his father in the 70s.
            In this case the people complaining about trudeau are focusing on him not going to the disaster area – which doesn’t bother me since I’ve lived through some really cynical politician photo ops, such as former pm Stephen Harper coming to my town to fly in helicopters and do nothing else during a flood – and being angry that the federal government is matching red Cross donations – which would be in addition to legally mandated disaster support funding. But in Alberta a Trudeau will never win.

          3. Canada hasn’t done anything to deserve that.
            I’m thinking North Korea.

        1. I know there was a Pontiac Phoenix – a college girlfriend had one, maybe an ’83 or ’84. It was a loathsome pile.
          Was there an Olds Phoenix as well?

  3. I work with the previous owner of my 318ti. He was its steward for 14 years and 169K miles.
    Thursday he came by my desk and hands me a stack of snapshots from when he bought the car in August of 2001. It still has the temp tags on it.
    The scans are a little grainy, but check out the shiny paint, no rust, crystal clear head lamps and pristine interior.
    1996 BMW 318ti
    1996 BMW 318ti
    1996 BMW 318ti

    1. I often think about getting one of these machines (either this or a Corrado) as a fun little runabout. What do you think of it?

        1. I honestly don’t mind either way, but I admit the RWD “hot hatch” look of the 318ti is what attracted me to it. Even though it may be more accurately a notchback.

      1. It’s been a lot of fun and it’s mostly a joy to work on. Not much power, but they like to rev and it handles pretty good. Not as nimble feeling as my 2005 Mazda3, but the steering has more feel. I’m actually thinking of trying to get into an E36 M3 after the 318ti. Or a 350Z/G35. Or an old Volvo 240. Or a Saab 900. Or a 3rd or 4th generation Z28. Or a Miata. So many cars I want to try.
        I was able to pick this one up cheap ($500) but, though it’s been mostly well cared for, in the past couple years it wasn’t his daily so some things got put off or ignored. I’ve been sorting through them and have spent a bit over $1,500 in parts since October (control arms, motor mounts, trans mounts, diff mount, oil filter housing gasket, front brakes and strut mounts). It still needs the sunroof and a broken stabilizer frame mount repaired. Still, they have a decent following and I’m pretty sure I came still get more than I nave into it. I see similar ones advertised for $3K+ pretty regularly, though I’m not sure if they are getting that for them.

        1. With the fixes you’ve done and the ever-existing popularity of the blue-and-white badge I think you might come out on top of it moneywise. Also, I’d like to see that third sentence as a non-binding poll…
          Seriously, there’s a lot of cars with a soul out there. I applaud your strategy of trying them thoroughly, one at a time!

          1. Thanks, it’s been fun with this one as my daily. We’ll see how I feel when I pick something that ends up very costly.
            When I actually sell the ti in the next year or two, it’d be a fun Craigslist Crapshoot style poll – scour the Ohio Craigslist sites and pick salguod’s next ride. 😀

          2. Wait, you are in Ohio? I’m not too far away in Pittsburgh. Hm….let me know when you put it up for sale — I may be interested.

    1. The T-Bird is on display at the AACA museum in Hershey Pennsylvania. I thought they had the Lincoln as well.

      1. That whole car looks like it came out of an 8-bit video game. Those tail lights!

    1. That thing is f’n glorious. I’ll even look past the butt ugly t-bird derived snout.

  4. So I’m knee-deep in my first real wrenching adventure (front seals, belts, heat exchanger). Two things came to my mind:
    1. To say “wrenching is my hobby” is like saying “I scrub, brush, and rub as a hobby” – cheeses, oil and dust are persistant…
    2. I need to buy ALL THE TOOLS.

    1. As a hobby, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Thirty years in, I still need to buy all the tools.

      1. I figure that I had to buy a triple-square key for 10mm. Given my location, I had to get it from Würth, who 1. have a shop here and 2. had it in stock. I was able to get a USD20 rebate… if I wouldn’t have bought that, my endeavor would’ve been stuck at 20% complete, not at 60% as it is now. Living in a place not serviced by some parcel services sucks, sometimes.

        1. The upside of living a few miles from a Harbor Freight is that almost any mainstream tool isn’t more than 10 minutes away. The downside is a couple of roll aways full of Harbor Freight tools.
          I have a great appreciation for Scandinavia but on a Sunday afternoon, when I’m staring down a half done clutch in the car I have to drive to work the next morning, I prefer the rampant consumerism of the U.S.

    2. buying tools is always a good thing. if you think a $25 tool will make a job easier, it’s pretty much always a good idea.
      as for wrenching as a hobby, it’s something i’ve struggled with recently. i realize that if my funding were unlimited i’d probably just have someone else do the work. i don’t particularly enjoy spinning the wrenches. but it does feel good to have the job done well, having used good parts, and on a fair budget, and i get in some good This American Life time while i work.

      1. Like most people of a certain experience, I understand the benefit of good tools. It’s just that hopefully, I’ll use the tool only four times in my life: undo the original bolt, tighten the new bolt. Repeat in 20 years. Die, and have the grandchildren curse the PO. That’s USD11 per usage, considering tightening and loosening as one usage each – after the rebate.
        I know, I’m lamenting on a very high level, since I decided that I could afford the tool, but there is remorse – but no repentance!
        I*ve seen that struggle, and have an agreement with Mrs. nanoop: our DD is handled by workshops unless the job is too simple/quick to bother, or I simply decide to do it myself because reasons. Wrenching as a hobby (=cleaning the inside of space frame PS pump brackets) happens exclusively on the project car. There, I do it for pure enjoyment, and whenever the self-assigned monthly budget is empty or I don’t feel like having oily road grime raining into my ears while lying on a cold floor, I take a break.
        It does feel futile to fix things on a car that are recognized as bad engineering (rear hatch pins/sealing) or overly complicated (oil-coolant heat exchanger), but having overcome the struggles is indeed deeply satisfying, as you suggest, in a way a commercial workshop couldn’t offer.
        TL;DR: wrenching when you have to sucks, wrenching when you want to is fine.

        1. totally agree on your tldr. i recently bought a five-mile car off the showroom floor for that exact reason – it was so stressful needing to put time into my two old cars. my second car has become an eternal project, but it’s much more relaxing to work on knowing that i can safely have it down for a few weeks while i fix things, make improvements, etc.

  5. Norwegian police are sorely missing their police-Volvos. They tend to do service until around 600000 hard kilometers have been put upon them. This one died at 405000km already, which makes it worth a news article:×0&quality=75
    The ten numbers under the article depict the most popular police cars in Norway. The Passat won a tender a couple of years ago, but staff are unhappy with it. Its heater can’t compete with the Volvo, and reliability numbers are worse. It’s all costing money…

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