Category Archives: Cars

General Motors Futurliner Number 10 at the Tulsa Car Show

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The Futurliner was the hit of the car show. The open door to the left leads up stairs to the driver’s seat. There are two passenger seats behind the driver. The open door to the left leads to the engine compartment.

Something new came to Tulsa the other day. Or more accurately something old came to Tulsa looking like nothing I had ever seen. GM Futurliner Number 10 made a round downtown and then headed to the 2018 Tulsa Car Show where it was the main attraction. I had never heard of them but apparently they were popular in the day. General Motors made twelve Futurliners for the World’s Fair in 1939 and afterwards sent them across the country along with 32 support vehicles putting on a show at each stop called “Parade of Progress” trumpeting modern science and technology. Each vehicle was self contained with stage and lights and had their own segment of the exhibition. Number 10 was originally devoted to “Opportunity for Youth.”

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Another view. Up top you can see the built in floodlights to illuminate the stage.

The show was very popular but was halted during World War II and then started up again after the war and ended in 1955. A victim of a technology called television.

These things are huge, 11’6″ tall and 30 feet long and a wheelbase of 8 feet. They weigh 30,000 pounds. They were powered originally by a four cylinder engine and then later a six cylinder that had only 145 hp. The top speed was 50 mph. Number 10 is owned by the National Auto and Truck Museum in Auburn, Indiana. A representative of the museum said that it can be driven around town but for moves from town to town they load it up on a trailer.

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Here is the stage on the right hand side.

The design of the vehicle is beautiful, streamline art deco with shiny panels and bright red and a white top. I love the tires. Big old fat white walls. The hub cap had an atomic symbol on it. It sure recalls a bygone age of unbridled optimism in the future.  The vehicle is Art Deco on Steroids and is just so beautiful.

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Big fat white walls and the cool hubcap with the atomic symbol on it.

The Futurliners have a Tulsa connection. Oral Roberts, Tulsa’s own prosperity gospel preacher bought one and renamed it the “Cathedral Cruiser” and used it to barnstorm the United States, Mexico and South America.

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Sitting in the driver’s seat. I don’t think it had power steering.

Of the twelve original Futurliners only about eight or nine still exist and of those only a few have been restored like this one.

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What a view from the driver’s seat. I think it would be scary as heck to drive. You would never be wondering what it is happening up ahead.

I had never heard of Futurliners until I saw something posted online about this one parked downtown Thursday afternoon. I could have kicked myself because it was parked right across the street from where I work and I didn’t see it. I got a good look today at the car show and even got to sit in the drivers seat for a minute or so.

What the Heck are Dagmars? Road Trip to a Car Auction

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Last week my friend Richard invited me and his other friend Wayne to the Leake Car Auction in Oklahoma City. We met at Richard’s office here in Tulsa and rode down the turnpike to the State Fairgrounds to a big huge barn of a building where the auction was held.

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Richard and Wayne are car guys. They know a lot about almost every kind of car. Me, I like cars also but I can’t quote chapter and verse on them. I love the older “swoopy” style cars and the more fins and different colors, the better.

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I know I hurt peoples feelings but I think most cars today look like Toyotas. Having said that I think modern day cars are lots better mechanically than the older cars.

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Growing up we had cheap cars for me and my siblings to drive. Cheap was good but I was never quite sure if the car was going to start for the return trip. This was back in the days before cell phones and such. We had tow ropes in all cars and jumper cables and used them a lot.

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So I love the old classic cars but let me keep my Kia Soul.

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The other thing I love about old cars is a reminder of car culture.

1982 Toyota FJ240 Open Top

When I was a kid, car culture was king. Everybody I knew got their learners permit on the day they were eligible, and then a few months later you got your drivers license on your birthday. Nowadays, kids are a lot more casual about it.

1960 Studebaker Lark Police Car

I used to grab the car magazines, “Car and Driver“, “Road and Track” and devour the reviews and memorize the statistics. Horsepower, torque, 0 to 60 times, displacement, brake types,, everything.

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People identified with the cars, or at least the cars they wanted. Me, I drove a Renault Dauphine, top speed of about 48 mph. The car I wanted was a Chrysler Hemi Challenger. I watched the movie Vanishing Point, over and over. The final scene where he crashes his Challenger into bulldozers is the greatest scene in movie history.

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So here I am, 47 years later, dreaming of Hemi Challengers.

47 Ford Super Deluxe Woody Wagon

Anywho, there were lots of car guys way back when. They worked on their cars, many of them took shop classes and learned how to modify their cars. Car culture is on the decline. Most of the attendees at the car shows and auctions I go to are about my age or older. I think it is kind of sad.

47 Ford Super Deluxe Woody Wagon

Of course nowdays it is hard to work on your car. Everything is computer controlled.

1931 Packard

So still I love looking at the old cars. They are beautiful.

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Many of them are elegant.

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I love the old IHS Scouts. Very rugged. The people I knew who owned them had to work on them constantly. Finding parts was a challenge.

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I love this old Plymouth.

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Richard pointed out to me that the hood ornament was a stylized sailing ship. Very art deco I would say.

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One of the few Camaros we saw.

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I loved the paint job. Wayne used to teach car painting at a local school. He showed me some of the things to look for in a paint job and the difference between slapdash and good.

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Here is an old Henry J. Richard told me that it is pretty close to the Renault Dauphine that I used to drive.

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Love the chrome, the shape, and the color and the covered wheel wells and the white wall tires.

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Love the color.

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So you may be wondering, what the heck are Dagmars. They are a car part named after an early 1950’s television actress named Dagmar. That is right, just one name.

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Here is a closeup of a Dagmar. And a bonus selfie of me taking the photo.

Here is her photo. So, do you get why they call those bumper things, Dagmars? Let me know.

Anyway we three had a great time. Richard did all the driving and treated us to lunch.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Tulsa Auto Show 2016 Edition

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Saturday I ventured out to the Tulsa State Fairgrounds to the annual Tulsa Auto Show to see what is going on. I found a Porsche Carrera is one thing. 

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And an Audi A8. Earlier in the week my cab driver, Mohammed,  said look at that Audi! I said, is that Audi special? And he said, yes, it is their flagship car and is very expensive. I told my friend Mohammed that I thought the car looked like a Toyota and he just laughed.  So I had to check it out. I didn’t write down what this cost but i think it was over $100,000. It has a twin turbocharged twelve cylinder engine and generates over 700 horsepower.  That is all great and everything but it stil looks like a white Toyota to me._DSC0554

This is the car where all the guys were hanging out. Most cars you can wait until people clear out but they don’t clear out on this one. Women tried to get close to it but they kept slipping on all the testosterone on the floor. It is the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. It has a supercharged 6.2L V8 and is regarded as the most powerful family sedan on earth.

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This is what was causing all the gasping and such.

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The nice sales lady in the miniskirt told me that the $70,000 price includes the custom Hellcat badge. I asked her how much for just the badge. I thought it would look good on my Kia Soul. She moved on to somebody else.

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The Mustang GT is nice also. I don’t have the stats. Lots of car guys I know hate the Mustangs. I don’t quite understand why. I have to say though that at first glance the Mustang and the Charger look like Toyotas to me. Not that I have anything against Toyotas.

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I like the older model Ford Thunderbirds. Nobody is going to mistake this for a Toyota.

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And here is something I had never seen before. A Chevrolet Corvair pickup truck. Imagine a rear engine pickup. Imagine a gate on the side of the bed. That is a unique vehicle.

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I always liked how the Corvairs looked but they sure got a bad rep when Ralph Nader’s book Unsafe at any Speed came out. The rear engine cars tended to spin out and cause accidents and the steering column, all one piece would impale the drivers. The car seems to have a loyal following. I don’t want one!!

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The flat six cylinder engine with turbocharger sure is compact. The spare tire went into the engine compartment. Too bad they did not get a chance to address the problems with the car.

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I am seeing fewer and fewer British Sports Cars as time goes by. I think this is an Austin Healy but I am not sure. These and the MG’s and a few others are the true sports cars in my book. The Jaguars and such are glorified Fords in my opinion. Except for the Porsche Carrera. It is still cool.

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Speaking of, here is an older model from the late 50’s When I was a kid the only people who had Porsches were like airline captains, lawyers, and doctors. I had an Uncle who had one. He was an officer in the Navy and single and I think he had a Porsche. Then he got married and had kids. Adios Porsche. I was involved in a federal trial back in the late 80’s in Oklahoma City.  His offices were out of downtown. On trial days I met him at his office and we road his Porsche to the courthouse downtown. He hardly ever got out of second gear. Plus he just parked where he wanted to downtown and nobody ever said a thing.

I’ll have to write a post about the trial. I wasn’t on trial, my employer was. I think I am waiting for the judge to die though before I say anything online. Buy me a beer or two though and I’ll tell you the whole story.

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Here is the star of the show, in my eyes. It is a 1966 Auburn Cord Duesenberg Auburn 866 Speedster. Only a few hundred were made in the factory at the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow. I love it. I don’t think that I have ever seen one before. It is one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen.

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This is the vehicle I coveted the most though. A Nissan Frontier pickup. I miss my Toyota Tacoma that I traded in for my Kia Soul. The Tacoma has bloated to almost full size. The Frontier is still kind of small. No new cars for the Bates family though until the price of oil comes some more, A LOT more. Plus I’ll get mine used, thank you very much.

So, do you like to go to car shows?

Rat Rods! at the Starbird Car Show

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I went to the Daryl Starbird Car Show here in Tulsa a couple weeks ago and I learned something new. I’ve learned the term “Rat Rod.”

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Rat Rods are like hot rods only with no chrome, rough or nor paint, and just generally look kind of homemade.

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Wikipedia talks about Rat Rods being a reaction to the pretty show hot rod show cars of today that are meant to be shown and not driven.

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Rat Rods are often associated with Rockabilly or Greaser culture. They are supposed to be a throwback to the hot rods of the 1930’s to 1960’s. I love them. They have that Mad Max home built slopped together look about them. The safety people among us are going nuts I’m sure. Exposed exhaust pipes, drive belts, and fans. Whoops there goes your fingers, please don’t bleed on the cars sir.

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Apparently conventional hot rodders loathe the rat rods. I just love controversy like this. Reaction and counter reaction, yin and yang. I’ll be looking into this more.

What about you? Have you ever heard of rat rods before?

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

 

Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Heather and I went to the Tulsa Car Show on Friday. I’m just freshly turned 60 and hey guess what, I got in for half price!!  I have to tell you that I have mixed feelings about that. Of course the worse thing was that the lady taking the money didn’t ask for ID or anything. Same thing happened when I turned 21 and went out to bars with my friends. Not a one asked me for my ID except at a strip bar and then the guy didn’t want to let me in anyway. I talked him into letting me in so that I could see the snaggletoothed strippers. And really it is not so much that I wanted to see the strippers as I didn’t want to be outside on my birthday while my friends checked out the snaggletoothed strippers.  Oops, I’m digressing and offending at the same time. Hey folks, that was 39 years ago!!! Get over yourselves. Anyway, back at the car show.

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Anyway there were lots of cars there. Most of them look like Toyotas. Sorry if hurt your feelings but there it is.

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They had one car there though that was special. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. It has a supercharged engine with 707 horsepower.

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For people of a certain age, like those who turned 60 +/- recently and are reluctantly enjoying senior citizen discounts, the Dodge Hemi Challenger has a special place in our hearts exemplified by one of the strangest and wonderful movies of 1971 starring not an actor but a car, the Doge Hemi Challenger, which back then generated a measly 426 horsepower. Of course the naked girl on a motorcycle generated some interest also with me, especially back then.

I can’t tell you how many times I watched that movie. I like cars but I don’t generally covet cars. The cars that I own have tended to be practical and economical. The Hellcat is an exception.  I hope that the people who buy them really enjoy them.

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What about you? Have you ever wanted a muscle car?

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat – Overview from driveSRT on Vimeo.

 

Black and White Wednesday – 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 Replica Roadster

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Sorry about bring up another car, but here it is as seen at the Leake Car Auction here in Tulsa this past weekend. I thought it beautiful. Look at the sleek swooping lines and all the headlights and horns. It is best to just get out of the way when this bad boy shows up. I don’t know about the value of replicas but the real things regularly go for over $10 million!! You could buy over 600 of the cars I drive ( a Kia Soul)  for that, brand new!! Not some nearly 80 year old heap.

Black and White Wednesday

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Ruby Tuesday – 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

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Logan and I went to the Leake Car Auction here in Tulsa to look at some cars. I’m kind of drawn to the red ones for some reason. I was also drawn more to the 1950’s and earlier cars than I was to the newer ones. I guess I’ll never grow out of it. If you look really hard at the corner of the chrome bumper you can see me, maybe.

Ruby Tuesday

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Back to the Future at the Celebrity Car Museum in Branson

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Here in Branson we went to see Heather’s friend Raine who works at the Celebrity Car Museum. Raines is not only a car guy, he is quite an artist. He painted the Back to the Future themed mural above and almost all of the other art work in the museum. He is a busy man and generously took time to show us everything in the museum.

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One of the special cars they have is a 1981 Delorean DMC-12, one of six used in the Back to the Future trilogy of films. As Raine put it, Heather is sitting where Michael J. Fox sat.

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Personally, I think Heather looks better than Michael J. Fox ever did on his best day.

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Of course, we had to try the time travel part of the car to see if it still worked.

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So here is Logan present day. And then we dialed in four years ago, pushed the button and ….

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Ooops, who shrunk the kid!!

Have you ever sat where Michael J. Fox sat?

Have you ever traveled through time? I want to hear about it.