Friday, December 25, 2009

Beat on the Street - The Ultimate SUV

In what could be the perfect yard full of perfect projects lies this completely stripped mid-70's Wagoneer towing two snowmobiles. What makes the vehicle so incredible is that all of the glass has been removed, save the front windshield - which as we all know provides maximum comfort and visibility for those long mid-winter ice fishing trips. With four of the most aggressive-yet-small mud tires (maybe even ATV or Ag tires), this old SUV is built to plow through snowbanks and mudholes all the same.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from Beaterblog!

Happy Holidays from Beaterblog. May your gifts be as surprising as this Small Block Chevy cylinder head, found on the roof of our North Dakota hunter's lodge.

Beat on the Street - The Forgotten Ford Courier

Up here in my Christmas destination of North Dakota, the 10 months of winter acts as a cryogenic preservation process for cars that have otherwise dissolved in nearly all other areas. Case in point: this second generation Ford Courier pickup. Based on the Mazda B2200, which people actually bought, these trucks were designed to compete with the Dodge Ram 50, Chevrolet LUV, Nissan 720, Toyota Hilux and other small pick-ups in "Mini-Truckin'" segment of the mid-70's.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beaterblog Product Review - Plasti-Kote Rebuilder's Cast Finish

What could possibly be worse than buying a brand new cast iron do-dad for you car only to have it flash rust overnight? Plenty of things, really, but I decided I'd had enough of the surface corrosion so I headed to the hardware store in search of a rattle-can full of some kind of reasonable paint or clearcoat. I came across a cast iron finish paint made by Plasti-Kote for the princely sum of $7.49, which by my books is hellaciously expensive for spray paint, but whatever.

I had shot blasted the master cylinder and steering box from my Javelin earlier in the day and decided to try the paint on them. I was a little worried that it would look really cheesy like the 'aluminum' colored spraypaint that I once used on the bumper of my father's truck as a young'un. Much to my surprise, the paint stuck perfectly to the bare pieces and looked fantastic. We shall see how it holds up to all of the fluids the car is likely to swill the engine bay with.

Overall, it's a bit pricey but so far seems well bought.

Beater Eulogy: Saab

The melt down in Detroit has claimed another victim; Saab. While we greave, let us remember the good times when Saab was a young vibrant company as Swedish as a plate of pickled herring.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beaterblog Car Movie Review: Love The Beast

Love The Beast is somewhat of a documentary detailing the relationship that film star Eric Bana has with his first car, a 1974 Ford XB Falcon Coupe that he still owns. With the help of Dr. Phil McGraw and a more facetious Jeremy Clarkson, the movie dives into the psychological reasons why people get attached to cars in the first place and explores the therapeutic effect of the automobile.

The movie starts out with Eric giving some background information on where he was raised in Tullamarine, a suburb on Melbourne's west side, as well as providing a view of the Australian motoring landscape of the early 80's. Inspired by the 1975 1-2 Falcon finish at Bathurst, the first 1-2 finish in the history of the event, Eric purchased his 1974 Falcon at the age of 15 years old. Since then, he has seen the car through several iterations of period-correct modified form from 70's Weld wheels and stripes, to 80's BBS wheels, and finally present day Targa racer in which he competes in various road rallies, hill climbs, and track events with.

But then he wrecks the hell out of it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: Adult Toys from Dodge

Modern politically correct advertising avoids blatant sexual references to push product. But there was a time when ad agencies and car companies had the balls for a little double entendre and a hint of chauvinism. Throw in some stylish vinyl graphics, tight T-shirts, busty women and you've got an ad campaign that will burn and indelible mark on the brain of every 14 year old that gazes upon it. Does the new ad agency at Detroit's little car company have the style and vision to bring the brand back to its fun loving adult toy roots? Since the trucks are now the stand alone brand Ram, probably not. Now it seems like every truck company is trying to be the toughest and most macho. Perhaps someone should remember you can have fun with trucks too.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Beater Road Test: Fox Box of the South Seas - 1989 Ford EA Falcon S

Ask an Australian what the 'S' means on the back of a so-equipped EA generation Falcon and they will tell you "Silly". This is the kind of respect that this hoon-mobile will get you right off the bat due to a generally bad reputation that started right from the rushed launch. After the cylinder head cracking issues were resolved, some mounting points were moved around in the front suspension, and a few issues related to structural integrity were addressed, the EA Falcon evolved into a fantastic car.

I'll be honest - my EA was an impulsive purchase. I didn't know anything about the mechanical maladies or even the sub-car status from come nose-snubbing owners of earlier and later Falcons. But I'm glad that I was ignorant, otherwise I probably would not have purchased the vehicle and would have ended up with something equal or even shittier for far more money. From my experiences, the EA Falcon is a complete bargain, and here's why:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: AMC Hornet AMX

Don't misunderstand, AMC and the 258 ci straight six have earned a special place here and the Hornet is fine automobile. However this is the most confused advertisement I've ever seen.

So what's going on here. First, they've taken the Hornet to the race track which BB fully endorses. Maybe MIS isn't our first choice to but this is the namesake to the Fabulous Hudson Hornet of stock car fame. So the ad tells us we're at a race track to feel it perform and then veers straight into riding in pampered and proud style. The Hornet has been given the AMX treatment by adding a sporty console, soft-upper door trim, color matched window mullet, and brushed aluminum roof Targa band. Not exactly AMX material.

6 Wheels of Decadence: Panther 6

I've learned from watching TRL and the Tiger Woods scandal coverage that the bigger the wheel, the classier and more powerful the car and owner these days. But in 1977 it didn't matter if you had 13" wheels - so long as there were six.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Beat on the Strasse: 6 Wheel Citroen Camper

Yesterday's 6 wheeler might be a figment of the imagination, but today's is all real and parked only 15Km from Weissach. Weil der Stadt, Germany is not only the home town of Johannes Kepler, its also home to a collector of well used large French cars.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: 6 Wheel Race Cars

Everyone remembers the Tyrrell 6 wheeled F1 car, but where's the Porsche 935 6 wheeler and its rightful place in racing history?

Before racing was all spec series and limited rule sets, racing was dangerous and sometimes innovative. A few daring engineers even braved to ask how many wheels a race car should have. Assuming this is actually a 935 (and not some other test bed) if you put yourself in 1977, perhaps it makes sense. A run of the mill 935 group 5 car might struggle to put nearly 600 hp through 350mm wide 1970's tires. So the only logical option is to add more tires, right? Of course a 935 might have the rear mounted engine between that second axle making it difficult to package a diff. An exhaustive search of the BeaterBlog archive failed to yeild any further information, so for now its left to the imagination. If you suspect this is photoshopped, I encourage you to turn to page 101 of Road and Track's February 1977 issue.

I hope the 8 wheeled race car isn't far away.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Beat on the Street - "B8 WASTR" Fishing Camper

With a license plate like "B8 WASTR", you better have a rig like this. Spotted on Pea Island, one of the undeveloped islands of the Outer Banks accessible by car, this camper is another iteration of the ideal fishing vehicle.

The camper, possibly a sectioned Airstream, appears to be somewhat of an heirloom, most likely handed down from generation to generation of 3/4-ton pickups. To add to the utility, the truck is fully kitted out with a crab trap and live well on what could be considered the front porch, as well as a large cooler and CB antenna on the bow.

For the final evolution of the fishing vehicle, see this Crown Vic.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beat on the Street: Isuzu I-Mark Diesel Road Trip

This Tennessee plated first generation Isuzu I-Mark Diesel, derived from the GM T-body and the basis of the famed Isuzu Impulse, is on its way from the NC coast back to home. And with 58hp on tap and a potential 50mpg, why would you consider driving anything else?

GM 3.8V6 engine swaps are extremely popular with these cars in Australia, where they were sold as the Holden Gemini. The hot formula is the supercharged VT Holden Commodore V6 paired with the T-5 5 speed manual transmission, a fairly straightforward and well-supported engine swap.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beat on the Street - Outer Banks Tow Vehicle Edition

On the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it's not uncommon to see local "Hoi-Toiders" outfitting pretty much any vehicle with a hitch for pulling the boat, but how often do you see a semi-caminoized, bob-tailed, and steer horned ex-'Herrif' car towing a Zodiac? Not all that often.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: Mercury Topaz AWD

When 120 ft.lbs of torque is too much for one axle you need All Wheel Drive. If your Tempo or Topaz is properly equipped, you've got it. Although entirely mediocre, the Tempo AWD and diesel variants are almost interesting enough to care about.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beaterblog Marketplace Feature: '56 Plymouth Savoy

Sitting outside a body shop on Ann Arbor's North Main Street is this 1956 Plymouth Savoy, displayed in a typical Detroit Metro area scene.

The mid-level Mopar is being sold through the body shop after the owner decided the restoration was more than he could afford. In talking to the owner, the price had not been fully decided but it around the $1,000 mark.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: 1981 Cadillac 8-6-4

As opposed to the '81 Diesel
Cadillac that used the 8-6-5-7-2-1-0-1-0 deactivation sequence utilizing the latest in bottom end failure technology, the 8-6-4 system used hydraulic actuators to close off either 2 or 4 of the intake valves and reduce fuel input from the TBI system in low-load situations. Offered only for the '81 model year, this system caused GM so much trouble that it was discontinued for all sedans after the first model year and limousines after '82. Even when all 8 were working in unison, only 140hp was produced out of 6.0 liters.

The remedy for this disaster was the equally dreaded 4100 "High Technology" V8, which offered new space age features like automatic coolant/oil homogenization, permanent cylinder deactivation, and self actuating rotating assembly ventilation.

Beaterblog Garage Failure - The ugly way to fix exhaust leaks

From my humble and embarrassed garage comes this goober welded monstrosity, a successful yet horribly unattractive exhaust leak fix. You see, the junction between my muffler and the inlet pipe was seemingly leaking the entire way around as a direct result of a failed attempt at a powerslide over a pothole on 12 Mile.

After multiple failed attempts at finding cracks and welding over the leak, I decided to plug up the exhaust with shop rags and weld directly into the stream leaking gasses, which obviously blow away all of your argon shielding gas. Simply weld until the hissing stops. Results to the right, please don't judge me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beat on the Street - 1978 Ford P6 LTD

Spotted in the parking lot of the Australian National history museum is this genuine Aussie blue oval big-body. It's odd seeing other nation's interpretations of classic American sedan designs and especially the oddball super-lux editions, but this down under design is spot on in capturing all malaise era design elements. It's got the front end of a '74 Catalina, Eldorado hubcaps, '77 Electra 225 rear quarters, and plenty of '74 Torino in the hips.

Don't like it? Well then watch "Mr. Nice Guy" and see Jackie Chan compressed into the rear seat as a mining truck drives over the top of a P6 LTD. Sacrilege.

Before They Were Beaters: Hurst Cutlass Olds

From Beaterblog
You can keep your Grand National, I want a Hurst Olds. The paint and decals are way cooler and since GM is bringing back the Regal its not has hip anymore. I bet after a case of PBR I'll see it in the same golden glow shown in the ad.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: Turbo Diesel Ram 50

From Beaterblog
When I think of Diesel Dodge Ram, the first thing that comes to mind is always 80 horsepower Mitsubishi four-cylinder. Ok, maybe not every time. Now that Ram is going to be its own brand, perhaps it will return to its heritage of badge engineered imports. Or, maybe not.

Marketplace Feature: 1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega

The Cosworth Vega is probably one of the most under appreciated classics on the market today. Had it been a success, maybe the American sports car market would have evolved differently throughout the 70's and 80's.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: Escort EXP

Ford doesn't have the greatest track record in making exciting small cars in its home market. The formula for an exciting Escort probably didn't need to include the impracticality of two seats or the horrid NVH of the 1.6L CVH engine. What really set the EXP apart was the styling. What were they thinking?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beater Junkyard Find: Iacocca K-car Limo

Of the dozens of Chrysler K-car variants and derivatives my favorite is the Executive Limousine. For me, it was a car of lore that only existed in my father's old brochure collection and car magazines. A product planning odity that seemed to have no market or purpose. Its probably fitting that my first face-to-face contact with the real thing was at Parts Galore junkyard. In some way I pity the executive who had to settle for what is merely a lengthened Reliant K.

Before They Were Beaters: Pontiac Phoenix SJ

Perhaps the most special edition of the GM X-bodies was the Phoenix SJ. H.O. got you 135 horsepower of from an unreliable push-rod six. The ad does a great job of explaining all the unique features of the SJ including 205/70R13 radials, Woo-Hoo!

Beat on the Street - AMC Eagle SX/4

This 'Special Edition' edition of BOTS brings you this 'it's a boy' colored AMC Eagle SX/4. But before we go into too much detail, some clarification needs to be made: Subaru did not make the world's first sport utility wagon. I'm not sure where they got that one.

It's tough to improve upon the already perfect 'almost-a-trar' AMC Eagle, but the special SX/4 option package on the two door liftback made for one of the best 4-wheel-drives ever. This well worn 5-speed, 258, and Selectrac equipped equipped model was spotted on the streets of downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, eagerly awaiting winter's snowdrifts and roads impassible to inferior automobiles.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

BB Presents Special Edition Week

I'd like to believe that all beaters are special but in reality, a few are created just a little more special than others. Sometimes product planners go the extra mile and allow you to own a vehicle a little better than your neighbors'. To celebrate all those marketing gimicks BeaterBlog is bringing you Special Edition Week. Seven days of beaters that have been blessed with unique trim packages, dealer specials, odd variants, or homologation specials.

Project Update - Operation G[hetto]o Kart: Phase II

Although slightly behind schedule, Project G[hetto]o Kart is well on it's way to becoming a functioning low-budget ice racer.

A powerplant has been acquired with the help of our friend in fabrication, Andrew. A 440cc inline twin snowmobile engine will provide the thrust paired with a CVT packaged at the rear of the vehicle. Some basic mocking up shows that it may actually fit! With the added moral boost of working steering, this project may actually be ready for the winter.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Beat on the Streetview - Triumph TR6 in Raleigh

Outside of this local independent coffee shop in Raleigh, NC is a nice looking Triumph TR6. This eccentric and extremely smokey place, Cup-o-Joe's, is home to some of Raleigh's finest coffee and always seems to always having some sort of daily driver classic car parked out front. Usual patrons include a late 60's Wagoneer, an early 60's Suburban, a '71 'Cuda, and a '72 Charger. See it on Google Streetview.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beaterblog Marketplace Feature: Back to the Future Edition

If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you're going to see some serious shit.


Think you are up for the challenge of DeLorean ownership? Well this fairly clean example is for sale on Stadium Boulevard in Ann Arbor, Michigan, only blocks from the Big House. Not surprisingly, the car only has roughly 10,000 miles on it, as it was used mainly for commuting around the Hill Valley metro area and obviously time travel does not directly impact odometer readings. This car has been for sale for quite some time on the roadside, but is now on Craigslist Detroit, listed for $18,200 by a private seller. Drive by Lewis Jewelers in Ann Arbor to take a look.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beater Barn Find: Series I Alfa Romeo Giulia Sedan

Although not technically a barn find, resting in this Ann Arbor, Michigan back yard is what appears to be a very rough first generation Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan. Maybe it's a donor car for a garage project, or maybe it's a restoration project that's always delayed until next Saturday. Either way, this car would look beautiful as a fully restored example, a beater, or a Twin-Spark track rat. For information on location, email your editors.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: Renault 18i

Marriages of American car companies to European rivals have been successful at introducing quirky home-market products to unassuming Americans. The Renault 18i sedan only danced on the American stage for 2 years (1981-82) and was the forerunner to the less than popular Eagle Medallion and Eagle Premier. In some way its fitting that European car companies play on stereotypes to promote there product; German is to engineering as French is to art.

Before They Were Beaters: Awesome Datsun Turbo-ZX

Nissan Datsun has used the "shift" ad campaign before. In the 1982 version, shifting into awesome got you 180 laggy horsepower, big hair, and a laser show in your rear view mirror. Hopefully most new Datsun owners knew better than to choke the shift knob as shown above.

Beaterblog Product Review - Harbor Freight 7 Piece Body and Fender Set

Want to try out your own panel beating but don't feel like dropping a bunch of money on a hammer and dolly set just to see if you like it? Although I'm no body man, but I can say this set is a great starting point for trying to pick up the skill. For my Simca crash course in emergency auto body repair, I found that this set made the task bearable - enjoyable even. Like most items on the shelves of your local Harbor Freight, it's not perfect. But for $29.99 with a lifetime warranty, it doesn't really have to be.

This set nestles cozily inside the ubiquitous and unlabeled injection molded box that all Harbor Freight tools seem to come in, but possesses a slightly higher manufacturing quality than most items you'd normally find inside. Included are 3 double ended hammers of various types and 4 dollies, two of which are also double ended and easy to hold on to. The hammers are solid cast units so you won't have to worry about the pickhammer head coming off the handle and going into your person upon backswing.

I can't say that I know what each of these hammers and dollies are actually for at this point in my bodywork career, but all of the hammers seem to have some use in my project. Whether it was identifying corroded areas with a swift punch, dressing down raised areas, forming contours, or making crisp corners, I seemed to always have the hammer I needed - well, for my skill level anyway. The one thing that this set could use is a shrinking faced hammer, or one with a grid pattern on the face, but these are also cheap and readily available.

From a bodywork newbie's perspective, I'd say that you can't really go wrong with this set to get you started. Click here for the listing on Harbor Freight's site.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beat on the Streetview - Peugeot 404 in St. Kilda

Beat on the Streetview brings you interesting vehicles from around the world courtesy of Google Streetview in regular or 'mystery car' formats. This installment comes from the Melbourne beach suburb of St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia in the form of a beautiful Peugeot 404. Check back for more Beat on the Streetview discoveries, or tip your editors off to cars of both known and unknown origins.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Beater How-To: Aiming Headlights

During the creation of Beaterblog and specifically the How-To section, we came to the conclusion that tutorials should not just include the steps necessary to complete the job, but the stuff-ups along the way as well. Let's be honest - things rarely go off without a hitch and maybe it will even provide more material. In this How-To, I'll explain an easy way to aim headlights but also how I managed to totally mess things up.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beat on the Street: Snuffleupagus Edition

I've seen a lot of strange things on my monthly pilgrimage from the suburbs into the city of Detroit. This Toyota Camry has transcended its boring automotive appliance origins to fill our beings with art.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Beat on The Street - Bedford CF Dually Shaggin' Wagon

What's happenin' baby? You a Taurus too? Well hop in this late 70's period custom Bedford CF panel van spotted outside a hostel in Sydney's red light district. But I wouldn't touch anything if I were you...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beater Blog Gets an Upgrade

Beater Blog is going up a trim level with high class plaid fabric and all new features. Don't miss the Marketplace (on the right hand tool bar) where the Beater Blog staff showcases the best and worst cars seeking a new home.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Beaterblog Product Review: Harbor Freight 105 Piece Tool Kit

There's nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the road because of something completely fixable but you just don't have the right wrench to reattach your generator. Every beater should be equipped with a good but cheap emergency tool kit for both roadside rigging and last minute junkyard exploration. Harbor Freight offers a 105 piece tool kit listed at $64.95, but often can be found on sale for around $45. This satisfies the 'cheap' requirement, but is it comprehensive and reliable enough to be useful?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ZAZ 968M - Safest Car in Mother Russia

What happens when a Zapor hits 110kph? This.

As evidenced by the previous post, there are hillbillies wherever you go. This vodka fueled top speed run by a few comrades ends badly but miraculously, everyone had their liquid helmets fastened securely and managed to escape unscathed. It's not unusual to see this brand of backroad antics in a '79 Malibu, but it's interesting to see that general redneckery transcends language and locale. Click the image to see the full video on YouTube.

Beat on the Street: Peasant Edition

Driving a beater inevitably involves some form of hardship. If you're fortunate it, your strife may just be a lack of air conditioning or some distant rattling noise. If you drive a Zaporozhets, you can expect more excitement pain in your morning commute.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Beat on the Street: Evil Empire Custom Ladas

As long as cars have been mass produced, men have been trying to make their ride stand out from the crowd. But when all you've got is a Lada and the Russian equivalent of JC Whitney the results often underwhelm.

Before They Were Beaters - 1950 Skoda 1102

This couple, shrunken in typical 50's ad style, appears to be bombing along in their new Skoda 1102...well about as bombing as you can be in a 32hp car.