Marty Roth

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Everything posted by Marty Roth

  1. More "Uncle" Tom McCahill: Cadillac V-8 (Feb, 1931) MI Tests the German Porsche (Jul, 1952) CADILLAC (Oct, 1931) MI Tests The Studillac (Nov, 1953) MI Tests the 1951 Kaiser Special (May, 1950)
  2. More "Uncle" Tom McCahill: Cadillac V-8 (Feb, 1931) MI Tests the German Porsche (Jul, 1952) CADILLAC (Oct, 1931) MI Tests The Studillac (Nov, 1953) MI Tests the 1951 Kaiser Special (May, 1950)
  3. More McCahill: Mechanix Illustrated Issue: Aug, 1954 Posted in: Automotive Tags: auto reviews, Cadillac, Tom McCahill Posted: 10/05/2012 2 Comments On MI Tests The ’54 Cadillac (Aug, 1954) MI Tests the ’54 Cadillac (Aug, 1954) Related posts: Cadillac V-8 (Feb, 1931) MI Tests the German Porsche (Jul, 1952) CADILLAC (Oct, 1931) MI Tests The Studillac (Nov, 1953) MI Tests the 1951 Kaiser Special (May, 1950)
  4. A bit more to brighten your day: Editorial: In Praise of . . . Tom McCahill By Jim Sutherland on July 7, 2009 There are many great reasons to be happy to be a Baby Boomer. We may be getting old but we misspent our youth in some great decades. We had the iconic cars and lots of drive-ins for a custom fit with an increasingly relaxed moral code. We only had AM radio, but it played some of the best music ever heard in a car. But mostly we (or at least I) had Tom McCahill. Tom McCahill was a god to me; the guy who made me glad that I’d learned how to read. Tom appeared in my home every month as a feature writer and test pilot for Mechanix Illustrated. He drove every car like he just stole Don Corleone’s personal ride. Very little was off limits to Uncle Tom. He put test cars through a hellacious torture sessions, proving the engineering mettle of over 600 vehicles, over the course of several decades. And he lived to talk about it. A lot of his test vehicles were only a few decades removed from Model T technology. A Tom McCahill hell-drive put these dinosaurs at the very edge of extinction. Or, in some Uncle Tom tests, over the abyss. One of the funnier McCahill tests involved a 1966 Dodge Coronet 426 Hemi convertible. Uncle Tom coaxed the beast to 144 mph on an oval track. He pinned the car despite a promise to keep his foot out of the test. At the “pedal meets floorboard” pinnacle of his test flight, the Dodge’s fabric roof looked like a pup tent during prime time Katrina. McCahill’s only regret: the roof kept him from achieving even more insane speeds. The man had brass and balls in no particular order. McCahill’s prose sparkled. In fact, he never met a metaphor or simile he didn’t like. The AC Cobra was “hairier than a Borneo gorilla in a raccoon suit.” The 1957 Pontiac’s ride quality was as “smooth as a prom queen’s thighs.” The ’59 Chrysler Imperial was “as loaded as an opium peddler during a tong war.” The ’57 Buicks handled “like a fat matron trying to get out of a slippery bathtub.” His writing style made him famous, but testing cars made him a decent living, and McCahill liked to live large. One of my favorite McCahillisms: “idiot lights.” He used the term for Detroit’s cheap-ass replacement for gauges to show high water temperature and low oil pressure. A lot of them had plenty of both problems, and idiot lights usually came on shortly before the patient died. The zero to sixty sprint was the most famous Tom McCahill automobile test feature. Some of the dogs he tested (not including his beloved Labrador) required an hourglass. We still measure performance by the McCahill meter. Tom wrote during an era of big cars which became even bigger cars. I always liked his measurements for roominess, which included sticking his large hunting dogs or his trusty photographer in the trunk for a photo shoot. His November 1959 MI preview of the 1960 cars illustrated his belief in the big boys, despite the birth of Big Three compacts in that model year. Uncle Tom felt that “America is basically a big car country with big car needs.” His personal favorites included a series of late 50s and early 60s Chrysler Imperials which presumably provided a few acres of room for Uncle Tom and the mutts. Uncle Tom had an obvious affinity for Mopar, particularly in the torsion bar period, where Chrysler’s legendary letter cars moved muscle and mass with surprising agility for the era. As a journalist, McCahill was a force to be reckoned with. After testing the first post-war Oldsmobile (the 1948 Futuramic 98), Uncle Tom said that hitting the gas pedal “was like stepping on a wet sponge.” Olds dealers were livid. History has it that McCahill’s review “inspired” Olds to fit the 88 with the legendary Rocket V-8 . Eventually every Mechanix Illustrated came equipped with an added feature called “Mail for McCahill.” It was an information Q and A hosted by the always quotable Uncle Tom. Every now and then some bozo would poke the lion with a sharp stick with a cheap shot. The net result was always the same: Tom would take the guy apart, immortalizing his antagonist as another idiot run over by a fast moving McCahill one-liner. As a car guy, Tom McCahill will always be my favorite non-related Uncle Tom. Detroit didn’t really love the guy, but they had to listen to him when he complained about handling and performance issues. Why? Because the man preached from a very big pulpit in car world. And we loved the sermons. [Note: TTAC is now the only car site with both father and son writers (Paul and Edward Niedermeyer) and identical twin writers (Jim and Jerry Sutherland). For more of the latter’s work please visit mystarcollectorcar.com.]
  5. Nice, the way the paint, and the chrome/stainless trim on the trailer is intended to follow that of the Buick wagon
  6. Having originals on two of our cars, I can appreciate what goes into these. Quality costs ... Our originals have the "Bubble Leveling Glass" used for aiming. Do you also offer that option?
  7. Maybe the quality of the photograph does not show the tire tread? I see smooth tires on some One & Two Cylinder and larger very early Pre-'10s
  8. A great and beautiful car, obviously well-loved and well-used- could be a fun tour/driver
  9. Do they really have this SUPER ESTATE WAGON listed as a "COMPACT"?
  10. Same trim and options as the one my father ordered new in September, 1956 as the 1957 (Suddenly It's 1960) Plymouth Savoy with "Sportone" trim, 301 ci V-8 and Power-Flyte 2-speed automatic transmission. Ours was a black car with white roof and white on the lower body portion below the trim. Attempting to appear more sporty, Dad had our radio antenna installed at the left rear, alongside the base of the rear windshield, with a nicely raked angle. We managed a speed in excess of 100 mph on a flat straight stretch of Highway 52 between Woodbourne and Ellenville, NY, near the old Tamarack Lodge - that was back during the summer of 1957 when I was playing trumpet in a band at another of the Catskill Mountains (Borscht Belt - Yiddish Alps) resort hotels.
  11. That may well be, but it is a true story
  12. Didn't we see this one a while back? Nice to see both again
  13. Thanks Bob, But this time we could drive either the '15 Hudson, or even the '30 Packard Vroom, Vroom ??
  14. Yes, Factory A/C was an available option for the 1957 Pontiac. I am not certain as to the configuration.
  15. Puberty at about the time the white 1954 Cadillac convertible hit the showroom, A cousin visiting during the late '40s, driving one a yellow Buick, but similar to the 1941 Cadillac convertible, As a young child during WWII, seeing a politician in something comparable to the 1930 Packard Touring, Seeing New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia with (then) General Dwight David Eisenhower in a Ticker Tape Parade, and they were riding in this 1937 Buick Roadmaster Phaeton - LaGuardia's parade car, We can define my years by the cars I love, and no, the red Corvette convertible is NOT a mid-life crisis, just an homage to my continued appreciation of style, speed, and AMERICAN SPIRIT !!!
  16. This is the "CHARLESTON" Edition of the Citroen Deux Chevaux (Two Horse - 2 Taxable Horsepower). Ours was a gray 1964 model 435 cc engine. The pictured model is actually, likely a "Big Block" 602 cc engined version, so technically a 3-CV, although never really called that. These are a magnificent, memorable, basic form or transportation, sometimes considered France's answer to the Model-T Ford, mass produced and affordable, almost impossible to kill.
  17. Add our wishes to all for a safe, and distancing Independence day, 2020
  18. A more complete look at the Mullin Automotive Museum - Oxnard, California At the time, Peter Mullin had maybe 3 or 4 non-French autos on display, but the museum and collection are essentially of French cars. We were invited into the adjacent warehouse which was used mostly for storage of cars not currently on display, as well as for restoration and construction. A automotive artist was building a "buck" to construct a duplicate of the Bugatti Atlantic Coupe, the one which was riveted along a central seam because the extreme lightweight metal used for the body (titanium?) would catch fire if welding was attempted.
  19. An amateur video (4 minutes) taken at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California:
  20. So, what do we think this "gem" may really be worth, and what would it take for a novice old car enthusiast (NO, NOT ME) to get it into decent appearance and serviceable driver-quality condition, with heat and A/C operable?
  21. Sooooooo ... A Hash, and a PackardBaker, by the same FLIPPER? Interesting cars? Value? Run it up the flagpole, but nobody has decided to salute? ... Eye of the beholder ...
  22. This Delahaye, displayed at the Mullin in California has to be among the most beautiful designs ever! Of my own French cars, surely the Renault Dauphine and Peugeot would NOT rank among the top as far as beauty, nor would the Citroen Ami-6 or the cycolac-bodied Mehari. The 1967 DS-21M and ‘67 DS-21 Pallas sedans would Rank very high on my list/lust, along with the 1966 Safari and our matched pair of white 1971 D-21 Station Wagons. The 1964 2-CV was more fun than the proverbial barrel of monkeys - BUT - our Exotic 1972 Citroen SM with its 2.7 Litre quad-overhead camshafts, 5-speed tranny and weber carbs, capable of safe, extreme handling, comfort well beyond reasonable expectation, and road speed documented “beyond” 156 mph (As per State Trooper assigned as my support vehicle Many, many years ago), styled 50 years in the past, and as fresh today as one could imagine - this is as close as I can come to my actual favorite- Yes my absolute favorite, only narrowly Beating one I’ve coveted for fifty years, the Citroen Chapron convertible - the one I should have bought 45 years ago. This is the Delahaye I noted from the Mullin collection, with apologies for the quality of cellphone pictures, truly among the most exquisite automotive designs of all time, and certainly of the 1930s:
  23. Yes, this had previously been here
  24. The harder shift is actually from 2nd to 3rd, at least in my excellent-driving 1954 Cadillac convertible's Hydra-Matic. It seems to have been the same with our prior '52 Caddy, and even back in the day on my Dad's 1951 Pontiac Tin-Woodie wagon (and his '52 Nash, as well). The 1-2 shift, and the 3-4 shift on our '54 are almost imperceptible, and the kickdown 4-3 downshift is also extremely smooth. Sometimes the 2-1 downshift seems abrupt when coming to a stop, but that may have been when we had her idling a bit too fast, and the points and timing were a bit out of adjustment.
  25. John, I wholeheartedly agree with you. The 1970 was, at that time, Cadillac's last full-frame rear wheel drive convertible. Our fully optioned triple-black '70 Caddy convertible was just too hot, despite excellent A/C, to enjoy here in the deep south - especially on black leather seats exposed to the sun, perhaps for hours at a time. We sold it to a local club member rather than change the originality. It was a fantastic cross-country cruiser and a beautiful, no rust ever, extremely low mileage (50,xxx?) example, never anybody's daily driver from new. I was the 3rd owner, and of course it was an unrestored car. We strongly considered replacing it with a late, dear friend's 12.,xxx mile 1976 yellow paint, parchment leather ElDorado convertible, offered by his widow. That was a year and a half ago, just about the time of Dale's first "3 months to live" liver cancer diagnosis, before finding a better oncologist, subsequent surgery and before continuing treatment were shown to be effective - at least for now. Our decision was kind of "know when to hold - know when to fold", that we already had convertibles for essentially every era and type of tour with the exception of the One & Two Cylinder, and potential/likely medical expenses had to be considered (still do!). Thankfully she is responding to her current treatment, and will hopefully continue. Two days ago we marked our 51 wedding anniversary, and next month our only grandchild, an AACA judge, starts grad school having graduated Magna Cum Laude, Dean's List all eight semesters, and President's List with a 4.0 GPA - and has accepted a Graduate Teaching Assistant responsibility. Of course he hopes to eventually inherit a car at some point - but not too soon. Sorry to go off-topic ...