The ads trumpeted: “Suddenly - It’s 1960!” and “1960 — Now, Plymouth is three full years ahead.”
Written by Brian Lohnes on April 14, 2017
John Machaqueiro - Photographer;
Whether we’re talking about an old girlfriend, a big fish, or a car, everyone has the story of something that they thought was in their grasp and then got away. Typically, these stories don’t result in the thing that escaped later being possessed by the person that lost out on it. In the case of John Howard and this 1970 Challenger, it does and boy is this one a doozy. The best part is that both Howard and the Challenger have served to rescue each other at differing points in their respective lives. Better than any fish story, this is a big-block four-speed tale and instead of some tasty fillets on the grill there’s a machine with looks for days and the ability to fry tires for a fortnight.
EdsSwapMeet.com is a website designed and marketed as a place where classic vehicle enthusiasts can shop for project vehicles or parts and services for their projects. We do this by providing a vehicle swap meet structure to the site where vehicle product manufactures, restoration shops and swappers of parts have a permanent space to display their wares. In order to prove our point we decided to practice what we preach, as they say, and acquired our own “Basket Case” project car, a 1970 Dodge Challenger Convertible.
First, before we begin, in observance of Labor Day, let us just say thanks for the jobs that have helped so many who buy classic cars, restore classic cars and create the marketplace to attend a weekend of fun, cars and not one thought about the craziness of the world around us.
Later, the founder of the Auburn automobile, Cord, had purchased the Lycoming and Ansted engine companies, several mid-western industrial corporations, and Checker Cab, as well as holding shipbuilding and aviation interests. Perhaps in order to avoid a scandal over the management of his enterprises, Cord went to England in 1934 where he dropped out of sight. The fortunes of his company were eventually handed over to Harold T. Ames, president of Duesenberg.
Some Kids Were Digging In Their Backyard When They Hit Something. Police Have Never Seen Anything Like This. We all grow up digging around in sand boxes hoping to strike it rich and find some hidden ancient treasures. What we typically find is a rusty, old Matchbox car or a present left behind by a cat. Either way it’s very rare to find something desirable. Well, that’s not quite the case with a young group of boys in California. They were digging in their yard when they found something that would make anyone’s jaw drop and their mouth start drooling. In 1978, these kids were digging around in their yard when they came across something big, something metal, and something very, very valuable. A buried Ferrari!
Introduced in 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II set a new standard for luxury cars. For the first time ever, a Rolls-Royce was powered by an V-8 engine and the chassis and suspension were significantly updated from the original Silver Cloud. Although the new Silver Cloud offered a host of innovations, in the traditional sense, ever-conservative Rolls-Royce still implemented a ladder frame chassis that allowed for one-off, coachbuilt bodywork.
Unexpectedly, the factory did not offer an open version of their standard saloon body, and customers who desired the ultimate in top-down motoring had to commission a coachbuilder to create a custom body on the new Rolls-Royce chassis. Perhaps the most exquisite Silver Cloud II of all was the Mulliner Drop Head Coupe, a delightful open body that incorporated the lines of the saloon, giving the car a strong family resemblance.
Jonathan Winter's car.
Everybody had a First Car: Mine, a 1964 Ford Fairlaine: Hey, don't laugh.
In the good old days we played high school sports, hung out in the hallways of the school between classes thinking we were “cool” watching the young ladies walk by. It was sports, dreams of cute girls, and the anticipation of getting our license to drive to school in our own car. No school bus for us. We were way above that.
1964 Rambler Saved My Life
In 1974 to 1976 I attended the University of Wyoming in lovely Laramie. Being from New Jersey, it was a 1,300 mile trek that usually meant 38 to 42 straight hours behind the steering wheel each way. My roommate who was also from my hometown split shifts driving with me.
Rarely could I say the trips were "non-eventful." I do recall one tale of extreme notoriety. It was January and we were driving back to Laramie to start the spring semester. We were young, stupid and therefore, fearless. My dad had the wisdom to buy oversized snow tires for my 1964 Ramblin Rambler before we left Denville, New Jersey. In addition, he cut cardboard and placed a full sized piece in front of the car’s radiator because he said it’d help keep the engine warm in the cold air. We were fine with all this but really thought he didn’t have to do these extras for us because we were seasoned cross-country travelers. Hmmmm. Really?
Hot Rod, Written by Ryan Brutt on October 27, 2015
Corvette: Beginnings: 1953
Only 300 Corvettes were produced in 1953. This is number 283. The whereabouts of roughly 225 of these cars are known these days. The first two cars appear to have been intentionally destroyed by Chevrolet at the proving grounds.
Surprisingly, at this point in American automotive history the one vehicle that raised very little interest from the public was what we call….the sports car. In fact, in 1952, more than 4 million new cars were registered. Of that number, only approximately 12,000 were classified as a sports car. This is primarily due to the fact that cars had always been deemed modes of transportation for the family. People did engage in racing but the sports car was not largely considered a candidate for this activity given their style had not yet gained substantial recognition by the public.
GM recognized that this was a segment of the automobile industry that had unlimited potential. GM’s VP of styling, Harley Earl, had been given unlimited funding and freedom to explore. The more he listened and read about sports cars, he was of the opinion that he could put such a vehicle together for $1,800, which was close to the cost of such cars by Triumph and MG and near half the price of Jaguar’s $3,345 XK-120.
Both styling and engineering wanted glass covers over the headlights, like many of the European show cars at that time. However, this was illegal in the United States so the fencing mask became an acceptable alternative.
Earl wanted to put a V-8 engine in his new sports car, but only Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile produced them. Most sports cars that preceded this new innovation of car were made in the mold of the 1930s sports cars which had a long hood and short rear deck.
Each of the first 300 cars was essentially handmade both in the molding of its fiberglass panels and the assembly of its mechanicals. The car was available only in Polo White with a black convertible top, red wheels and red interior.
The initial wheel base of the newly designed Chevy frame was set at 102 inches, exactly like the Jaguar. However, this new car had equal weight distribution on the front and rear wheel axles.
The first Corvette’s body assembly took place in Chevrolet’s customer delivery garage in Flint, Michigan. Start-up was slow, grueling and exhausting to the assembly workers. It took work crews three 16 hour days to assemble the first Corvette, which was completed on June 30, 1953.
At first, Chevrolet produced one car every day. Soon thereafter, however, the number rose to three cars a day.
Six months later on December 24, 1953, Corvette production ended at the Flint, Michigan facility. Four days later, December 28, 1953, production resumed in St. Louis, Missouri. This plant was the old millwork building for buggies and early automobiles.
Corvette production was targeted at 300 cars for the first year, 1953.
The end of the assembly line was not always so formal. But completion of each of the early cars was a significant occasion. First year production was set at 300 cars but supply exceeded demand for a car that leaked rain and had primitive side curtains instead of roll-up windows. By year end, 183 had been delivered. These cars may be the second, third, and fourth cars produced.
Initially, the secret name for the production of this car was Project Opel. And the styling department did actually work for GM’s German Subsidiary. A plaster model was made for the 1953 Motorama event. If the public warmed up to the car then production would begin in the summer of 1954.
Standard GM parts from other cars were incorporated into the car wherever possible to keep production costs down; brakes and steering mechanisms were reconfigured to adapt to the car. Chevrolet’s existing six-cylinder engine was approved by upper management but it was reworked to generate more power by adding mechanical lifters, a new aluminum intake manifold for three Carter carburetors, a kind of split exhaust manifold leading to separate exhaust mufflers, and pipes on each side at the rear, and by increasing compression ratio from the stock 7.5:1 up to 8.0:1 to get the engine’s horsepower up from 115 to 150.
The "Blue Flame Special" was Chevrolet's passenger-car six-cylinder engine slightly modified to produce 150 horsepower. General Motors aggressively pushed the Powerglide automatic transmission for the Chevrolet line and no manual three-speed was available nor could one be modified quickly enough for production.
The designers wanted to duplicate the manual transmission of Jaguar and MG but no four-speed existed at the time in America. Besides the two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission was already well matched to the engine.
These costs and time problems leading to the exhibit at Motorama led to the decision to build the car’s body using pre-formed fiberglass. Then in 1954 it would be made of steel. The car’s production target was 10,000 in 1954.
Individual seats were contoured into the interior. There were only two options offered; a heater for $91.40 and the signal-seeking AM Radio at $145.15. However, these were included on each car produced. The radio's antenna was a wire mesh that was embedded into the inside of the fiberglass trunk lid.
The first car appeared at the Motorama exhibit in brilliant white, bearing the name Corvette which was used to honor the trim, fleet naval vessel that performed great heroic escort and patrol duties during World War II.
Chevrolet ultimately rejected at steel body to the car because tooling costs would expand four to five times that of fiberglass.
This is the first of a series of articles about the beloved Chevy Corvette by JP.
In September 2014, the U.S. Marshal’s Department held an auction in Lodi, New Jersey of a collection of muscle cars maintained by super thief David Nicholl, who bilked the government of $33 million dollars several years before. Of that $33 million, Mr. Nicholl purchased and stored nine elite, collectible cars, including a 1971 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda, a 1970 Superbird, a Camaro, a super Nova and several other cars. These nine American classics netted close to $2.5 million in less than an hour of fierce bidding.
Auctions of criminals’ possessions are not rare with the U.S. Marshal’s office. What is a big event though said Marshal Juan Mattos is that these vintage cars were unprecedented for any such Federal auction. "We have sold properties, we have sold cars, we have sold jewelry, we have even sold horses, but never in the history of the U.S. Marshals Service have we ever had this much horsepower being sold in one event," Juan said.
As stated above, the cars were seized from convicted felon David Nicoll, who amassed close to $33 million in a scheme that involved bribing physicians to order unnecessary blood tests and other lab work for their patients from Nicoll's former company, Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services in New Jersey. More than $5 million of the ill-gotten cash was spent on cars including the ones sold today, which the classic car world dubbed "The Blood Money Collection."
Co-auctioneer Harry Byrnes of A.J. Willner Auctions said the unique grouping of such rare muscle cars drew surprising attention explaining, "we got guys coming in from all over the country." Over 150 bidders flocked to the warehouse in Lodi, N.J., and over three dozen more participated online. The highest bidders spared no expense.
This leads us to discuss the remarkable Buzby family story behind this event.
Rich Buzby paid $347,500 for the 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda, which was only partially restored at the time of the auction. The primer-painted coupe was displayed with the disassembled parts strewn on the warehouse floor around it. He said the fact that the car was in pieces didn't take away from its value. "It's one of 48 ever made, there is a lot less than that that still exist, and in 1971 in the 'Cuda world it's the top of the market," Buzby added, "we see it as an investment."
Notice the word “we” in Mr. Buzby’s explanation. Mr. Buzby and his wife comprise the “we.” She was involved in the auction from day one. Her husband is no car collecting cowboy who simply runs with the family checkbook and buys another car for his prideful stable. Instead, the humble man and his precious wife were partners in this endeavor from day one. And she always has been such a partner prior to any classic car acquisition.
You see, the Buzby’s “fell” into collecting rare cars. It’s an amazing story. You see, it was their middle teenage son who first got their attention focused on classic cars. Lucas, age 17, had his eye on a 1970 Dodge Charger RT 444 as his fantasy car. This would be his first classic car if mom and dad would only approve his buying such a car. They thought it was just a phase in a growing young man’s life. But Lucas put “his money where his dream was.” He put the cash together through hard work and odd jobs to demonstrate to Mom and Dad that this was not a silly chapter in his young life. When he showed them the cash, and told them he found the car down south in the Carolinas, they bought in and said, “He’s put the cash together, let’s go look at the car.”
It was on this trip that Little Egg Harbor Police Chief, Rich Buzby thought this car thing is kind of neat! They got to the car, bought it and then loaded it up on the trailer for the trip home to New Jersey. Then they decided to make a short detour on the way home. They stopped off at Richard Petty’s museum in Ashboro, North Carolina (which has now moved to Randleman, North Carolina).
A serious dosage of “fate” was attached to this trip. The Buzby’s actually met Mr. Petty! And to top things off, he took a liking to the boys. After a cordial ten minute hand shake hello, Mr. Petty decided to turn the Buzby’s chance meeting into a personal tour of the museum. In all, it was a four hour personal tour by “the man” himself. He educated and charmed them into understanding the wonderful world of classic cars. In fact, Mr. Petty signed Lucas’ new Dodge Charger with his name and his famous car #43. Despite having an ill wife that was on his mind, he never let on to this during the whole tour. He proved himself to be a super great guy to everyone.
This experience affected the entire Buzby family. Rich’s other son then reminded his Dad of his love for the 1972 Gran Torino with a sport roof. This led to the acquisition of a second Buzby classic car in a most peculiar way. While on vacation in Virginia to view the history of the civil war, they spotted a Gran Torino across the “battlefield” on a hill far away. They set out to find it and were successful. Liam had saved some money but Mom and Dad were just as enthralled with the car. They spotted Liam the balance of the cash to buy this 1972 Gran Torino Sport 351 Cobra Jet V8 car with the sport roof for $16,000. And then papa Buzby, Rich, felt the tug and gave his heart to these awesome old cars. To be specific, it was Petty’s 1970 Superbird that knocked his socks off. The whole experience was the genesis of an entire family sharing in the love for classic cars.
Later, Rich Buzby and his wife joined his sons in collecting classic cars. The boys got the ball rolling and then he and his wife began to appreciate the investment quality these purchases represent for their future, as their 401k so to speak. More important though, it’s the power of mutual love for something that has worked to knit this family together in a more meaningful way than soccer games and music lessons could have ever done for them.
The whole family now attends car shows as one group. They sit together behind their car at the show and they commiserate with the public at large. Everyone adds their thoughts to the conversations. They talk together, laugh together and spend Dad’s money together for food, drinks, and parts for their cars at home.
So, back to the auction, Mr. Buzby bought the car but it was only AFTER his wife collaborated about the bid. In fact, it was she who concluded that this car was meant for their 401k portfolio. Rich agreed, pulled the trigger with the auctioneer and the last man bidding backed down to relinquish his desire for the Barracuda to Mr. Buzby…and wife.
The car is now in Richmond, Virginia being restored by the best of the best, Frank Badalson and Charles Morris in Farmsville, Virginia, who has done NASCAR engine work for Penske and Earnhardt.
Along with the ‘Cuda, a 1970 Boss Mustang went for $265,000, a 1969 Yenko Camaro drew $315,000, and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird fetched $575,000. (The sale of the Superbird happened just before the Cuda auction took place. Rich thinks this may have diminished the passion of many people for the Cuda. Remember, the Superbird was a completed vehicle and the Cuda still needed a lot of work. Rich has the contacts and resources to see this car brought back to classic perfection.)
The money from these auctions goes to a victims’ compensation fund. Nicoll’s sentencing date was to be in December of 2014 but has yet to take place. Technically, he was expected to spend the next 15 to 20 years in prison. However, those sentenced to date have gotten up to five years. As evidenced by this auction, David Nicoll, so far, has honored his agreement to forfeit $50 million to the government as restitution.
By JP with the help of Fox News archives.
Michael Prince could hardly contain his excitement. He’d heard stories of his father’s ’59 fuel-injected Corvette all his life, and now he was the winning bidder for the car, walled up inside a barn for 44 years. As Prince stated, “I had to chain saw trees that were 16 inches in diameter.” Then, once inside the barn, Prince had to tear down wooden walls the owner had placed around the ’59 Vette to keep lookie-loos away from his treasure.
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But, the story gets even stranger. For most of his life Michael Prince actually knew the owner, Carroll Johnson. “There was a period of time of about three years, from 2004 to 2007, when I saw him almost every work day.” The two worked for Prince’s uncle. Many times, Prince would ask if he could take a look at it or if he’d be willing to sell it.
Johnson wouldn’t say no. Instead, he would “just walk away.” Growing up, Michael heard stories from his father about the Snowcrest White, fuel-injected/four-speed Vette. Right after buying the Vette, his father “promptly removed the hubcaps and chromed the wheels and added chrome center caps to complement the wide whites.”
The interior was stock, but obviously tarnished by time. © Provided by Hotrod The interior was stock, but obviously tarnished by time.
“He told me about running the car on Mulholland Dr. I’ve got pictures of the car with drag racing trophies sitting on the hood and the decklid.” The ’59 was a winner at the dragstrip, but wasn’t as dominant when the ’60 Corvette fuelies came out. So, Michael said his father explained how he and his brother simply went to the Chevy dealer and bought the improved ’60 model fuel-injection unit. Suddenly, he was competitive again and back on top.
The ’59 was a piece of family history from long ago and far away that intrigued Michael, who was born in 1967. His father had “a barrage of cars: a ’57 Chevy, a ’58 Chevy, a ’65 GTO. Dad was from a little town called Campobello, which is just north of Spartanburg, S.C. He moved back there, from California, in the early 1960s and took the Vette with him.”
Soon, the ’59 Vette was well known around the area. Harold kept the car pretty much stock. In 1963, Pontiac introduced the Grand Prix and Harold “had to have one.” He traded in his ’59 Vette. One of Harold’s childhood friends, Carroll Johnson, hustled down to the dealership to purchase the ’59 Vette. Johnson replaced the fuel-injection unit with a four-barrel carburetor and painted the Vette blue. He traded the chromed wheels for a set of aluminum mags.
The ’59 Vette was walled up inside an inner structure inside a barn. © Provided by Hotrod The ’59 Vette was walled up inside an inner structure inside a barn.
Johnson drove the car for 5-6 years in the area and took it with him on a move to Atlanta. There, the car suffered front-end damage. When Johnson returned to Campobello in 1969, many potential buyers kept stopping by trying to buy the Vette. So, Johnson pulled the car into a barn on his parent’s farm and eventually virtually entombed the classic Vette to keep prospective buyers away.
Michael Prince told us, “Everybody knew this fellow had bought it from the dealership after my dad had traded it in, and boarded it up inside a barn. It was not unknown, but it was certainly unseen.” When his parents died, Carroll Johnson and his brother moved into the old home place on the farm. His brother died earlier and Carroll died in 2013, leaving 21 cars and all his possessions, including the Vette. He had no family and no will. His cousin liquidated the estate.
The cars and estate attracted a lot of attention. Michael Prince wanted the Vette and teamed up with his brother David and uncle to bid on a lot of 12 vehicles that included the ’59 Vette. Corvette enthusiasts in the area did not know the ’59 was a fuelie. Bidders could “take a peek” at the old Vette through a door in the barn, but they could not actually get into the space to touch the car and really check it out.
Michael’s dad died three years earlier. He had “wished to get it back,” and had asked Carroll about buying it. However, Carroll was a buyer and never a seller and Michael said Johnson “wouldn’t talk to him [his Dad] either, about the car.” It was with high anticipation that Harold’s son, Michael, cut down the trees to clear a path and then tore down the walls to reveal the Vette he’d dreamed of all his life.
“Neighbors and people who had heard about the car for all their lives came out to see. I think that they were almost as excited as I was to see that the car actually did exist.” Michael was surprised by how much the Vette had degraded, from “the years sitting in a dirt floor barn as the home to squirrels, ’coons, and field mice.” I wondered about the fuel-injection unit. Yes, Michael found the fuel-injection unit in an adjacent room in the same barn, where he also found the tach-drive distributor.
The engine was originally fuel injected, swapped out years ago for a four-barrel carburetor. © Provided by Hotrod The engine was originally fuel injected, swapped out years ago for a four-barrel carburetor.
Another surprise was the original engine was not in the car. Michael and his uncle Jerry hunted through multiple barns on the 60 acres for the 283. He could not find the engine until later when his uncle talked to “this old fellow named Cooter,” who was close friends with Carroll. Cooter led them to the matching-numbers engine in another barn on the property. The ’59 has both tops, a Wonderbar radio, and came from the factory in St. Louis with the 290-horse fuel-injected 283. “I’m pretty sure it has Positraction, too,” Michael said.
He plans a complete restoration, but just got the car. One more mystery remains. As of this writing the next thing he plans to do is get the trunk open. Legend has it that Johnson rounded up N.O.S. parts to fix the front end and those components are supposedly in the trunk.
Any car person who loves the roaring '20s era knows what you mean when you refer to the "3 P's." It is an acronym for the most popular of the high end cars of the late '20s - Packard, Pierce-Arrow and Peerless. But would you be surprised to know that Peerless is the most rare of the 3? Having been in production for only 30 years, today there are less than 350 Peerless automobiles known to exist. Would you also be surprised to hear that Peerless even outsold Packard in 1920? Yes, it is a fact. But interestingly, Peerless is the only company of the "3 P's" that did not go out of business. The Board of Directors of Peerless made the business decision in 1931 to cease manufacturing automobiles and change their manufacturing plant into a brewery for Carling Black Label Beer. They made one car as their swan song, a 1932 V16 aluminum bodied Peerless currently housed in the Crawford Museum in Ohio. With the end of Prohibition, and the advent of the Great Depression, sadly this was a smart business decision after all. Fine automobiles struggled to survive the challenges of the Depression and WWII.
This 1929 Peerless Sedan was a virtual "barn find" when Brando and Joanne Pistorius found it in Valparaiso, Indiana. This car was bought in a collection of five by the owner who had parked them in his barn for the past 25 years. Prior to that, they had been well kept in Pound, Virginia, as part of the Dexter Dotson Collection for over 30 years. After Mr. Dotson passed away in 1991, his widow put the collection up for sale. It was only after the buyers closed their deal for these five Peerless' did they come to realize that they were actually cousins to the Dotson's!
This 1929 Peerless Sedan is a Model Six-81, one of eight known to exist, and the only one with unique steel "artillery" wheels. While Mr. Dotson gave it a complete restoration over 30 years ago, current owner Brando Pistorius recently completed a partial restoration that came out just beautiful. The mohair interior was intact and in good condition, but the paint and chrome needed to be completely redone. Brando also made certain that the mechanical and electrical condition of the car would be in excellent running condition. The Pistorius are known for their touring and do not shirk from driving their beauties. They once drove their 1930 Packard from Tampa, Florida, to Montreal, Canada (over 4,000 miles in 23 days).
This 1929 Peerless is a 4-door Sedan with a Continental 6-cylinder engine, 66hp, 248.3 cubic inches, 116" wheel base. A roomy 5-passenger car with footrest in the back, handrail that holds a Peerless embroidered blanket, 3 new pull down shades for privacy and a mounted bud vase. The rear mounted spare wheel and 5 new whitewall tires complete the look of real distinction and class for this historic vehicle.
There is now a new material on the market that practically reinvents the world of sandblasting. The material is crushed glass media. Crushed glass media is the very best for blasting and cleaning sheet metal body panels for automotive restoration. It will not warp 20 GA sheet metal and will etch the surface making it perfect for body filler or primer and paint. Blasting at 90 psi on metal and 70 psi on fiberglass works best when using 40-70 grit size.
Crushed glass media is produced from ground-up bottles containing 1% free silica non-reactive and inert. It can be used near and around water. It is also cleaner, safer and faster than sandblasting and other media. Although safer than otehr media, you must always use proper sandblasting protection. Being manufactured from old bottles, it is also eco-friendly since those bottles are not going to a landfill.
Crushed glass is CARB approved for outdoor blasting until Title 17. It is also approved by US Military under MIL-A22262B for blast cleaning.
Everyone loves a car show, a car swap, a car anything, as long as it has something “good” to look at. We at Ed's Project Car Swap Meet have been at Turkey Run at Daytona, Florida, Pomona in California and Carlisle in Pennsylvania, to name a few huge events. We have seen tens of thousands of people go through their gates, yet it doesn’t mean they’re the only shows that get it done.
Recently, as I live in New Jersey I saw an obscure sign on the side of the road. It said “King of the Hill” car show on May 16, 2015 at Canfield School in lovely Mine Hill, New Jersey. I thought to myself, is this worth going to? Can they put on a show that compares to the big boys?
On Saturday, I got up, got ready and told my wife we’re going to Mine Hill to check out this car show today. It’s overcast but not raining; let’s give it a try. As we approached the school, we saw cars parked along the roadway. That was a good sign. We parked and approached the school parking lot. I looked from a distance and said to Sharon, “Hold on, I’ve got to get my camera.”
Was it any good? In short, my camera batteries wore out before I could complete photographing the wonderful cars that people brought to share with public that just love cars. The car owners were your typical approachable, and more than willing to discuss their gem car parked right next to them.
I began taking photographs and interviewing some of the car owners. Each had one thing in common; “I’ve been attracted to custom, vintage and classic cars since I was a kid.” Most were old enough to say twenty years is a kind estimate of the time that they have had this passion.
Especially warm was Mike from Moonlight Bike Detailing in Newton, New Jersey who was sitting with his beautiful friend, right next to his showroom quality 1982 Collector’s Edition Corvette with a 350 engine, 50k miles, scrubbed clean, displayed well and ready to rock the moment the urge struck. This car was a magnet. One look and you had to stop by and dream. (But, by the way, he shared his own little secret; as much as he loves Corvettes, anyone with a cherry condition 1971 Road Runner can peal him away from his Vette. Mike’s at 973-876-5134.)
You love trucks? Oh man, Joe had his 2005 Dodge “Rumble Bee” looking like, go ahead, take me for a spin, you’ll never get out again. The engine belonged on a B-52 bomber. It’s a 6.1 liter, 394 cubic inch board stroked balanced and something else that only a motorhead could truly understand. The vehicle has rear wheel drive, black in color 610 horse power at the fly wheels. Did I get it right Joe? He has been a car man since his dad introduced him to them as a little boy in Wharton, New Jersey, 33 years ago.
Then I ran into the 1966 Nova. Dick, from Dover New Jersey, has been a GM man for 20 plus years, tries them all, and has had this sweet baby since last year.
Next I could not resist the 1951 Ford, 2 door custom with a 302 Lincoln engine in it. Andy of Rockaway sat proudly by his car admitting that he’s been loving these things for more than 25 years.
A 1948 Ford Pick-up F-1, from Syracuse New York, with a chevy 350 engine caught my eye.
This show of sixty plus had so many head turners that my camera batteries let me down.
Jim from Rockaway New Jersey had a 1940 Chevy Special Deluxe that he bought 10 years ago. It more than caught your eye. You had to run to it. The flames painted on the front were just like the decals I put on my model cars as a boy. I ran to that car. It was a live version of one of my childhood fantasy cars. The flames were custom done by a pro and the new paint job never touched them. Over the years he’s had four collectible cars but this one will be hard to part with….unless you want to buy it. It’s a drive me car; don’t just park me. Jim said it’s the Sunday drive car that turns heads and gets all the friendly approving waves. To date, it’s got 20k of his miles driven on it. Jim, this is a car you insure for a lot of money because someone besides you wants to drive that bad boy real bad. Yee haw, now that’s a ride!
Finally, I saw this blue 1957 blue Bel-Air station wagon that was the same today as it was almost 50 years ago. Chris of Randolph got the car from the original owner, his wife’s father. The car has never left the family and it was brand new when her dad got it. It was super sweet to experience. My own childhood bounced right back to the front of my brain. I remember this car well.
And there was so much more to talk about. Please follow all the pages of pictures as you will see why this was such an enjoyable few hours in May. If you live near Dover, New Jersey, put this annual spring event on your calendar. It’s a juried show. The food is excellent and the Mine Hill ambulance auxiliary puts it together every year. It’s a slow paced, kick around, relax, enjoy, chat, laugh and go home content kind of experience. Put it on your calendar, you’ll be so happy you did. - See more at: http://edsprojectcarswapmeet.com/forum/past-events/180-king-of-the-hill-car-show-new-jersey-review#sthash.YjyGHXbt.dpuf
At some time in each of our lives we have a memory or experience which stands out as the moment when we first fell in love with cars. With me, JP, it was when I was five years old in 1959, going to kindergarten. I was standing at the school bus stop at the Carvel Ice Cream building on Route 10 in lovely New Jersey. I would watch the traffic go by, commuters on their way to work, and I saw it. What was that?? My older brother, Ed, who knew everything because he was 7 years old, told me, “That’s a Corvette!” I said, “Wow! I love that car!”
When a five year old falls in love with a car, what does he do??? Naturally, he starts to count them. I would never lose track. I always remembered the number of the last car I counted. I would add the new car to my memory. I’d say, “Hey, Ed, there’s another Vette, number 105…..” I did that until I broke him down. He finally begged me to stop nudging him and then telling him about the latest car number when it got to over one hundred. He got it, I was in love.
In 1973, my 21 year old neighbor stunned us kids (I was 17 then, and still in love), he drove a black ‘64 Corvette, fastback, four speed with a 427 engine with wide rear tires. I waited patiently until he said to me, “Hey, JP, want to go for a ride in the Vette???” Without hesitation I was in the passenger seat. I said, “Where to?” He said, “We’ll go down to the quarter mile straight road that runs next to the Erie Lackawanna train tracks in Denville.” I screamed in delight.
We got to the end of the straight-a-way and I remember Jimmy revving that baby up, popping the clutch and I was in glory. We hit second gear, boom, my head snapped back, third gear, again my head snapped back, and when we got into fourth gear he had to shut it down. Whew! Talk about, “Take your breath away!” I squealed with JOY!!
The wonderful noise of that engine, the banging of the gears and the smell of the tires is a memory that is still just as fresh today as it was then.
I never bought a Corvette. However, I’ve made plastic models of them as a kid. That counts, right? All this excitement led me to buy my own “Corvette.” A bit downgraded but still a lot of fun. Since it takes money to buy a Corvette, I went with the next best thing? I bought two MGBs, a 1964 and 1967, when I was 19. They were fun to rebuild, thanks to my Chilton manual.
But I never bought a Vette. Now I just roam the car shows and say, “How do they get into those things.” Yup, 60 years old and I can’t imagine riding that low to the ground now. Oh well. They’re still worth counting, number 25,201…. Each car show I go to brings back these cherished memories. Thanks to all those Corvette guys. I love ya. Keep’em runnin' and gunnin'.
Written by Tim Bernsau on May 19, 2015 Contributors: Eric Geisert, Dennis Varni's Fastback '51 Studebaker Woodie
Gray Baskerville accurately described Dennis Varni as "a hot rodder's hot rodder." Since buying a '31 Model A as a teenager in the late '50s, Dennis doesn't seem to have slowed down … ever. He has amassed a phenomenal stable of collector cars, trucks, vintage race cars, and motorcycles of practically every type, including the '29 Model A roadster built by Boyd Coddington that was named America's Most Beautiful Roadster in 1992. He has participated in motorsports all over the world, including numerous trips to Mexico to race in the famous La Carrera Panamericana, to South Africa for the South African Rally Championship, and to the Bonneville Salt Flats, right here in the U.S., where he drove his Falconer L6-powered "Speed Nymph" streamliner just shy of 350 mph.
Dennis has more checks on his hot rodding bucket list than just about anybody we know. So did you really expect his latest street rod to be something ordinary?
Any 1951 Studebaker woodie custom could be considered out of the ordinary (how many can you think of?), but Dennis, builder Curt Hill, and the people who had previously helped create this custom woodie, have taken the '51 to an extraordinary level.
This car was under construction when Dennis made the winning bid for it at the auction of the late Joe MacPherson's prized collection. The unfinished project had been started by Doug Carr of Woodn' Carr. It had already been transformed from a sedan to a fastback (based on Thom Taylor's design sketches) and was already a woodie. The top was chopped 2-1/2 inches, and the rear fenders were stretched 18 inches and treated to custom taillight lenses and bezels. The '37 Ford headlights were installed by Steve Davis, who had done some of the early fabrication on the car.
Dennis contacted Curt Hill at Hill's Rod & Custom in Pleasant Hill, California, about turning the just-started project into a finished car. A few changes were made, including replacing the wood. The new combination of lighter curly maple and darker African mahogany, built by Julian Cigarroa, covers a steel frame, and the wood was shaped to fit the metal structure. The idea is borrowed from the '47 Ford Sportsman, which used a steel skeleton to support the outer wood. The rear features a tailgate/liftgate combination. The wood is protected with clear lacquer. The rest of the car is finished with British racing green, which Dennis chose to highlight the colors in the maple and mahogany. Final bodywork and paint is the handiwork of Brandon Penserini at Altissimo Custom Paint & Restoration in Napa. Custom wheels, measuring 15x8, were built by Larry Westervelt. Four '56 Studebaker horn buttons serve as center caps. The sidewalls on the 255/60R15 radial tires were buffed for a smooth show-car appearance.
Hill's Rod & Custom replaced the original Studebaker frame and suspension with a new chassis from Art Morrison Enterprises, featuring an AME IFS setup in front and Currie 9-inch with 3.73:1 gears in the rear. JRi coilover shocks are mounted at all corners, with C4 Corvette disc brakes at each wheel.
Such an unusual car deserved an equally unique engine. For a while, Dennis considered dropping in a Cadillac engine to create his own version of the Studillac, the Cadillac-powered Stude coupes custom-built in the mid '50s. Then he remembered the one-of-a-kind induction system he'd found at a swap meet decades ago. The mechanical fuel injection system, with wild-looking air bodies, was a prototype created by Propulsion Development Laboratories in the '50s. Everybody had seen it on the cover of Hot Rod magazine in 1959 and nobody had seen it since. The setup is finally in service, feeding a Ford 427 FE engine. Dan Brewer in Torrance, California, did the assembly on the engine and converted the PDL mechanical injection to work with a Hilborn electronic system hidden under the manifold. Edelbrock cylinder heads are topped with Edsel valve covers to replicate the look engine on Hot Rod's cover. The new combination produced 410 hp on the dyno. An adapter fits the Ford to a GM 700-R4 transmission. This is one of the rarest, most unusual engines you'll find in a hot rod, but Dennis is almost nonchalant about it. "Nobody puts Edsels in Studebakers," is what he said.
The interior was entrusted to Sid Chavers in Santa Clara, California. Chavers built custom bucket seats and covered them in tan leather with gray-toned fur inserts. No need to replace the '51 Studebaker dash, so Redline Gauge Works restored the appearance of the factory gauges and updated the internals. A reproduction '54 Stude steering wheel came from Shrock Brothers, which specializes in repro Studebaker parts. Lucky 7 Customs gave the wheel and column their wood grain paint. The perfect accessory to the interior is the set of vintage alligator-grain luggage in the rear deck area, which Dennis found in an antique store in Washington.
The end result is a genuinely unique custom that would probably hover around the top of most people's lists of great Studebakers, great woodies, and great customs.
Who are we? What are we? Will you run to us or away from us? These are important questions and they are the key to our readers understanding why we are, possibly, the new wave of community for car lovers from all points around this huge and wonderful world.
Simply put, we’re a couple of car loving maniacs who want you to enjoy every aspect of car collecting, car selling, and car building from one convenient spot on the internet. And, we want to entertain you! This is more than a website. We are becoming the conduit for every type and kind of car lover to share their car, buy a car, locate expert services and products from shopping at one site. It’s all going to be here; one stop shopping!
In addition, we have so many interesting areas to explore during your visit. All you to have to do is simply sit back and spend an evening reading about old cars, custom cars, muscle cars, your car, vintage cars, their makers, their buyers and about those experts who want you to contact them to work with you toward getting your car either spruced up, repaired, sold and/or help you buy the right car.
As we tool this endeavor together, this humungous undertaking, you will share in the excitement of seeing people come together to share their love for every type of car at one website. We will do this by making this the easiest website you have ever used. We will also do this by making it so easy for you to understand how to post your thoughts (for free), your pictures and stories (for free), your articles about cars (for free), your products and your professional car services at very reasonable rates.
Each section has a “drop down” that will help you refine your searches of the website to very specific cars, products, articles of interest and service providers from all parts of America. In addition, you will know you are reaching the car world. That’s right, the car WORLD. Our Google reports tell us we are reaching people in Germany, Israel, England, Scandinavia and other countries; that’s up to 12% of our views are from distant lands. Ed's Project Car Swap Meet website is creating a community of car lovers that will serve one another and entertain car lovers alike from all parts of the world.
And you can be a part of it by simply logging in and supplying your thoughts, your pictures, and your articles about automobiles for free, your advertisements for car sales, parts and professional services at a reasonable cost.
(And by the way, don’t be embarrassed, despite our making this so simple, I personally still need to call the customer help line, i.e., Ed, to get things done. You too, can make such calls to Ed's Project Car Swap Meet.)
Simply give us a call for a guiding voice or we’ll create your user information, then set up your car for sale ad, or help you create a listing for your business (that will tie into your current website, if that’s all you want) for a reasonable fee. And yes, we do have PayPal or you can give us you confidential credit card info or simply send us your check.
We are the easiest website to use. If you’re reading this, you know this is the truth.
Create an account so you can participate with our website. Don’t just be an unknown who comes and goes. We like that, don’t get us wrong, but we want YOU to post things with us (in good taste, of course). We are a family and we want family friendly fun to abound from these pages. Husbands, your wives will be able to join you as you show her your post of the two of you at the car show. Kids, show us that dream car you saw at that show. Sellers, design (with our help, if needed) a post of your car, your auto parts or your car building or repairing services to people from all around America. You’ll find our costs much more to your liking especially when your volume of sales goes way up. We are not one of those sell sites that takes a portion of the set up and then the sale price. We ask for a one time inexpensive advertising fee. Cheers and good luck to you.
As Americans who love this country, we are so glad there are still things innocent, pure and wholesome to do in this great country. There is baseball, football and car shows and car owning. Join is in keeping car owning one of our great joys.
God bless America and thank you to every veteran who gave to keep this country great! Enjoy your time here on EdsProjectCarSwapMeet.com.
We love ya,
Fast Eddie and JP