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Others who shaped our early years


vermontboy
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It was great to see the Ralph Stein thread brought back. There were so many others I remember saving up for to buy in the 50's and 60's - even into the young adulthood in the 70's.

 

Some I remember off the top of my head ...

 

Early -  Floyd Clymer books - both the small softcovers and the later hardcover books. The Fawcett and Trend book series in the early 50's full of great sepia tone pictures of early cars. Tom McCahill - the man who probably influenced more actual car purchases back in the 50's and 60's than any other writer. Who could forget his comment on the -1955 Chrysler 300  - "As solid as Grant's Tomb, and 130 times as fast" ..

 

Later - the late 50's and early 70's Car and Driver editorials by wordsmiths Brock Yates, Jean Shepherd, Warren Weith and so many others... and the plethora of coffee table books soon deeply discounted as while the pictures were great there was no useful verbiage.

 

That's my short list - how about sharing yours ...

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When I was about 12 an acquaintance of my father gave me a stack of early Hot Rod magazines . Most of the run between 1954 and 1958. Read and re- read many times.  And stacks of Pop Mechanics, Pop Science. My father and I used to take a load to the city dump every 6 months or so. It seemed on almost every trip there would be a few shelf's full from someone cleaning out their basement. Generally 1940's and 1950's issue. I would gather up 15 or 20 of the best condition ones to add to my collection.

 

Greg in Canada 

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Vermontboy, I suppose the thing that got me started in my "car life" was getting to go to work with my Dad so many times.  He worked at some Studebaker dealerships and I was absolutely fascinated with everything about the places !  I became sort of a "helper" to a couple of the guys when they knew it was something I wouldn't get hurt doing, and I loved every minute of it all.  I had surgeries almost every summer from the 5th grade through 12th for polio problems, so I got to go to work with him quite a bit.  I always asked for magazines or model cars for all normal kid events like birthdays and Christmas, and haven't let up yet, ha !  Best life ever for a poor kid from East Tennessee is my take on those years.  I ended up with so many books, magazines, dealer folders, and newspapers about automotive stuff that I helped re-stock a flooded book store in Nashville, TN. when we started selling things and down-sizing to move here to Hawaii......  then what do I do ?   Started over, ha ! ( been bringing home hundreds of books and magazines from a really good, but older than me, friend that is now down-sizing )   "Car" people are the best, and my car-people-wife thinks so too.

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I had a neighbor, Margaret , who work in Manhattan around Columbus Circle. That area , during  that time,   was automobile row.in NYC. Every now and then, she would   go to the dealerships, and pick up brochures for me. I was just a kid back then.  She was very special to do that.

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Surprised and gratified someone else remembers the Ballantine marque books from the early seventies. They were only made for a year or so then they went into a WW2 series which must have been much more popular because it ran for years.

 

I bought some of the Ballantines when they were new, as many as I could afford anyway. Now they are $10 or $20 apiece.

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In the mid-sixties it was Car & Driver magazine. David E. Davis and Brock Yates. 

 

Each month I'd pedal my bike to the Chula Vista (CA) library and read the latest about sports cars and European cool stuff: Austin-Healey, Alfa Romeo, Triumph, Jensen. For a youngster growing up in a family with a 1954 Ford, 1966 Rambler and 1967 Ford Falcon, this was an entirely new universe.

 

One issue they took a Pontiac GTO, compared it to a real Ferrari GTO, and declared the Pontiac the winner. 

 

I believed every word they wrote; later lived to regret it when I bought used Fiat.

 

Interesting tidbits about David E. Davis:

  • He is the co-author of the Chevy slogan Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie & Chevrolet.  
  • At the Chevrolet advertising agency Campbell-Ewald, he worked the Corvette and Corvair accounts. His partner was Elmore Leonard.

Brock Yates was famous for (amongst other things) organizing the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash.  Dan Gurney won the inaugural event in a Ferrari Daytona. When asked about safety concerns, Dan responded that, "At no time did we ever exceed 175 miles per hour."

 

 

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Edited by RansomEli (see edit history)
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26 minutes ago, RansomEli said:

 Brock Yates was famous for (amongst other things) organizing the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash.  Dan Gurney won the inaugural event in a Ferrari Daytona. When asked about safety concerns, Dan responded that, "At no time did we ever exceed 175 miles per hour."

 

 

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That February 1962 issue with the swimsuit model on the Spidget was one i read over and over,

not only for the graphics, 

but Art Buchwald had an amazing presence, wit, and writing style.

It was that issue which compounded my already intense interest in the Citroen DS series,

later owning well over half a dozen D-Series, as well as several other Citroen series (SM, AMI-6, 2-CV, Mehari, etc),

seventeen in all over the years,

and the occasional Renault Dauphine, 4-CV, and a really exciting Gordini.

 

I also visited the famed Red Ball garage where the "Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash originated - not very far from my one-time office on the 4th floor of the Time & Life Building at 50th St & Ave. of the Americas (formerly 6th Ave) in mid-town Manhattan.

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I subscribed to Old Cars Newspaper from the beginning and enjoyed Austin Clark's columns as well as Tim Howley's  "Somewhere West of Larame".  Walter MacIvain "The Veteran Motorist",   "Saga of The Old West", by Bruce Fagan an Henry Austin Clark's "One for The Road".   All of which I still have in the 6 issue run of "The Best of Old Cars" 1971 thru 1986.  It's a great collection every time I read them. 

I wish they had kept doing those "Best of Old Cars" volumes.1024764159_15ModelT.thumb.jpg.8ea2db19d83950c8e3ab907d208bdfa2.jpg

 

Edited by Paul Dobbin
spilling errors (see edit history)
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13 minutes ago, md murray said:

 -Think I was about 13 and was fortunate enough to have gotten my hands on an old Playboy Magazine that had one of the first road test reviews for the 427 Cobra. -Quickly became a prized possession of mine...you know...for the articles.

  I bet you would have been in trouble if your mother caught you looking a muscle car pictures.

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15 hours ago, John Byrd said:

Surely everybody over 50 has a Mimi pic or two ! 

I was thinking about one in her overalls.  I had never seen a picture other than with overalls before this one.

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I remember reading Tom Macahils roadtest of first a/c cobra w260 v8. 140mph! I was in love. I also remember him rolling over testing a Renault! He impressed me that a car had to corner well &not just go fast. My other favorite was Gus Wilson’s model garage. Part detective part mechanic. I diagnosed my bosses truck at age 16 with help from Gus. Like to think what I learned then helped me through my 40+ years working in the car business

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20 minutes ago, vermontboy said:

Thanks to everyone - so much I had forgotten. Mu own favorite magazine cover to dream about as a kid .......

 

 

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When this Bugatti Type 57SC arrived at Vintage Auto in 1972, and the side door to the Passport truck opened, we all wondered were the hobby was going, $65,000. was a World Record at auction at the time. Glad I got to save the California plate that came with it. Bob 

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Motor Trend came up with  0-60 mph: 5.4 sec, quarter mile: 13.9 sec @ 107 mph with a 1962 Catalina 421. Keep in mind that both the Pontiac 421 and Dodge 413 Wedge were race motors - they were not meant for the street. They would not idle at a steady rpm, they took forever to warm up, loose clearances meant adding oil at every fill up - sooner if you got on it.

Motor Trend tested a stock Ramcharger in 1962  - 0-60 in 5.8 sec; 1/4 mile in 14.4@ 101 - that was with stock 3.91 gears and the factory exhaust capped (see pix below). Uncapping exhause adds 70 HP. Yes, that is 3 inch tubing for headers from the factory. Whole package available for only $374.40 over stock but production was very limited.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, vermontboy said:

Motor Trend came up with  0-60 mph: 5.4 sec, quarter mile: 13.9 sec @ 107 mph with a 1962 Catalina 421. Keep in mind that both the Pontiac 421 and Dodge 413 Wedge were race motors - they were not meant for the street. They would not idle at a steady rpm, they took forever to warm up, loose clearances meant adding oil at every fill up - sooner if you got on it.

Motor Trend tested a stock Ramcharger in 1962  - 0-60 in 5.8 sec; 1/4 mile in 14.4@ 101 - that was with stock 3.91 gears and the factory exhaust capped (see pix below). Uncapping exhause adds 70 HP. Yes, that is 3 inch tubing for headers from the factory. Whole package available for only $374.40 over stock but production was very limited.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0002.jpg

 

 

 

 

Not tuned, no slicks, and a driver that doesn't know how to drive. I saw that article. 1962 421 SD Catalina's ran mid to low 12's at 110-118 mph. The 63 cars dipped into the 11's at over 120mph. I knew one that ran 126mph.

That 65 2+2 car was BobCat prepped by Royal Pontiac. After it was blueprinted it was probably making 430+ hp it was set up as a track car. 

 

   Heck my 1969 LeMans which is built for street and Grand Touring with NO weight transfer like a car set up for drag racing and with a basically stock H-O 455 and 3.23 gears ran a 12.46 @ 113.  BTW, the LeMans weighs 4050. My 62 Catalina weighs 3709. 

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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 You might think this would never happen too, a 64 Pontiac LeMans GTO doing a 0-100 in 11.8 !

 

 BTW the magazine got the heading wrong. There was never a Tempest GTO. Until it became it's own series in 1966. GTO's were always a LeMans with the GTO option. Unlike Olds 442, before they became their own series you could 442 a option on a F-85 or a Cutlass 

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That was another Royal prepped Pontiac. I know the guy that had it prepped the Royal way. The car was a ringer. It had a 421H-O in it. 

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When I was about 12 years old (that was about 1952) I came upon a Motor Trend.  In the magazine was a monthly article called CLASSIC COMMENTS, written by Robert J. Gottlieb from California.  They were about a somewhat newly recognized class of automobiles -- called CLASSIC CARS.  I loved and cherished all of his articals that included black and white pictures of Marmons, Auburns, Duesenbergs, Packards, on and on.  There were articles in Motor Trend featuring junkyards in California full of "Full Classics".  For years I kept cut-outs of articles on 1935-36 Auburn Speedsters, Duesenbergs owned by movie stars, a Packard convertible owned by one of the founders of the Classic Car Club of America, and on and on.  (I also met and often chatted with him at AACA car shows in the 70s and into the 80s".  Mr. Gottlieb wrote a book called "The Classic Car" in about 1955.  By that time I had obtained my first car, the 1939 Buick Special with full leather interior and sidemounted fenders, pictured at the left.  Classic Cars were still being identified, then, in larger numbers than now.  I wrote Mr. Gottlieb to ask if my '39 Buick might be a Classic Car?  As I recall, he did not respond, but in 1956 he wrote a second book called "Classic Cars and Specials" for Trend Books and he responded that a car like mine would be Special Interest but not a Classic.  I think the first book said somewhere that no Buick was ever a Classic.  I'm glad I lived to straighten out that misconception, and was personally active in getting all of those now recognized as "Full Classic" cars.  Later when I co-founded the CHVA club (1928-1948 vehicles), he actually joined.  I called him and chatted with him a bit - I think he was retired.   When I became National President of the Antique Automobile Club of America in 2004, Mr. Gottlieb was the first person I called.  I spoke to his wife and learned he had very recently passed away.  I was then and still am so sorry he did not live to see that same 16-year old "rabble rouser" pre-War Buick lover had finally made something of himself in the hobby.  In his time, I had rushed to the drug store every month for the latest Motor Trend magazine.  But, there came a time when Motor Trend abandoned the old cars in their magazine, and I never looked at the magazine anymore.  Some of my dates above could be slight off from memory, but the are close.

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3 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

When I was about 12 years old (that was about 1952) I came upon a Motor Trend.  In the magazine was a monthly article called CLASSIC COMMENTS, written by Robert J. Gottlieb from California.  They were about a somewhat newly recognized class of automobiles -- called CLASSIC CARS.  I loved and cherished all of his articals that included black and white pictures of Marmons, Auburns, Duesenbergs, Packards, on and on.  There were articles in Motor Trend featuring junkyards in California full of "Full Classics".  For years I kept cut-outs of articles on 1935-36 Auburn Speedsters, Duesenbergs owned by movie stars, a Packard convertible owned by one of the founders of the Classic Car Club of America, and on and on.  (I also met and often chatted with him at AACA car shows in the 70s and into the 80s".  Mr. Gottlieb wrote a book called "The Classic Car" in about 1955.  By that time I had obtained my first car, the 1939 Buick Special with full leather interior and sidemounted fenders, pictured at the left.  Classic Cars were still being identified, then, in larger numbers than now.  I wrote Mr. Gottlieb to ask if my '39 Buick might be a Classic Car?  As I recall, he did not respond, but in 1956 he wrote a second book called "Classic Cars and Specials" for Trend Books and he responded that a car like mine would be Special Interest but not a Classic.  I think the first book said somewhere that no Buick was ever a Classic.  I'm glad I lived to straighten out that misconception, and was personally active in getting all of those now recognized as "Full Classic" cars.  Later when I co-founded the CHVA club (1928-1948 vehicles), he actually joined.  I called him and chatted with him a bit - I think he was retired.   When I became National President of the Antique Automobile Club of America in 2004, Mr. Gottlieb was the first person I called.  I spoke to his wife and learned he had very recently passed away.  I was then and still am so sorry he did not live to see that same 16-year old "rabble rouser" pre-War Buick lover had finally made something of himself in the hobby.  In his time, I had rushed to the drug store every month for the latest Motor Trend magazine.  But, there came a time when Motor Trend abandoned the old cars in their magazine, and I never looked at the magazine anymore.  Some of my dates above could be slight off from memory, but the are close.

 Glad you straightened it out. These are on the CCCA list.

Buick – 1930 Series 60; 1931-1942 Series 90; 1931-1933 and 1936-1939 Series 80; 1940 Series 80 Limited; 1940-41 Buick Roadmaster 70 series

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3 hours ago, Pfeil said:

 Glad you straightened it out. These are on the CCCA list.

Buick – 1930 Series 60; 1931-1942 Series 90; 1931-1933 and 1936-1939 Series 80; 1940 Series 80 Limited; 1940-41 Buick Roadmaster 70 series

You didn't mention the remembrances of Robert J. Gottlieb though.  I think in real life he was a lawyer, and writing the column and books was an avocation of enjoyment.  Thanks for your comment.  I assume you are a member, possibly long term, of the CCCA.  I've been a member three times, once when I had a 1941 Limited 90-series, during the seventies.  After I sold it in 1981 to pay-off my house and get free of all debt, forever, I dropped out.  Then I bought a 1941 Buick Roadmaster 71-C and did extensive historical work to that included the pre-dated Series 80 cars, to present to CCCA, and they accepted the 1931-39 Series 80 but turned the 1941 Series 70 down. In my opinion the 1941 year was the KING of Buicks.  I got angry and quit the club and sold the car (that was a really big mistake----selling that car).  Several years later Doug Seybold called me and asked me to rejoin and join him in the fight again for the 1940-1941 Series 70 Roadmaster.  I did that and this time, with additional help from Terry Boyce, the cars were accepted in August 2017.  So, I bought a 1941 Series 71 sedan and restored it....it was a really nice 59,000 mile car but the exterior needed refreshing.  I felt when I won the fight I should buy what I'd been fighting for.  I'd still like to have another 1941 Limited (I had two at one time in the seventies, but I'm 81 years old in October.  It is time to just take it easy now.

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It wasn't a person who shaped me as far as cars go.......I was born loving old things.

It was this car that was brought up from the basement of the local Ford dealer and moved to the show room floor that cemented my love for THAT car anyway.

I was in my early-mid teens when I first laid eyes on it and it was love at first sight.

TheOne.jpg

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On 9/10/2019 at 1:42 PM, Dave Henderson said:

Some of the great bargain books were the paperback books such as Ballantine's Illustrated History of the Car marque books series from the '70's @ $1, and the Fawcett and Trend Publications of the '50's @ 75 cents! 

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Here are a couple more, by Fawcett and Trend that I previously mentioned.

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Fred Hoch, Magnolia NJ.

 

My Dad worked with Fred at Shavitz Engineering. Fred bought into Shaeffer and Long and as a 10 yr old, my eyes were brimming with Mercer, Apperson Jack Rabbit, Thomas Flyer, Napier, Pierce Silver Arrow, to name a few. The smell of gas, musty mohair and paint all infiltrated my veins.

 

Fred was always accommodating and kind. Even gave Dad a holdover job for 6 months. Other kids enjoyed baseball and I dreamed of great rusty brass cars............. and Fred always had a box of fresh donuts from the bakery! what more could a poor kid ask for?

 

thank you Fred.

 

 

Edited by mercer09 (see edit history)
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Fred's a gem of a gentleman, visited with him just a few days ago....

 

My love of old cars began at a magazine rack in a drug store when I was 13.

 

On the rack was a Hot Rod magazine with a souped up red touring car on the cover. It drew me in, and I started asking my parents if I could buy an old car to fix up.  November 1964 took delivery of a very tired 1931 Chevrolet, which I restored and drove to high school, and after more than 200 collector cars have gone through my hands, still have.

 

No one in my family was interested in old cars, nor did we have any friends that were so inclined.  Just that magazine......

 

Luckily I had very supportive parents.....

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