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.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oka USA - Russian Racecars for All!

Has Beaterblog's Iron Curtain week had you looking for a new Russian car in the USA or are you in search of a factory racer at a bargain basement price? If so, the Lada Oka may be your only option. Since 2003, Oka Auto USA has been importing NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) and racing versions of this Soviet subcompact for American environmentalists and racers alike.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: Moskvich 412 - Part 2

I think the expressions on the faces of these passengers cruising through the upper-middle class suburbs of St. Petersburg adequately express the sentiment associated with Moskvich ownership. Although it was the Buick of Soviet Russia, it was still the Buick of Soviet Russia.

Beat on the Street: Death Race Edition

Driving in Moscow is a risky proposition. Traffic rules are sporadically enforced and frequently ignored. Lanes, turn signals, and stop signs are merely suggestions. To ride a motorcycle under these conditions is suicide, so your bike better look the part.

Beater Road Test: Polski Fiat Rally Car

I know this sounds like a plot for a bad '80s movie, but bear with me. You're an American visiting communist Poland and your reporter/tour-guide friend asks what you'd like to see. Naturally you ask about touring a car factory and he promises to make all the arrangements. Just before you arrive your guide tells you not only will you tour the factory, but he's told the commissar you're a big shot American race car driver and they're rolling out the red carpet.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beater Road Test: Wartburg 353W

There's something about your first car you never forget. For some lucky East German kids that car was a two-stroke, three cylinder remnant of the DDR. Friend of BeaterBlog Fabian Hartwich shares his story.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beater Marketplace - Zaporophets 968M in Toronto!

Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, this recently imported Zaporozhets is for sale in relatively nearby Toronto, posted only two hours ago on Kijiji! Conveniently, it comes with a bunch of spares and a first aid kit. The $5,000 Canadian asking price is certainly cheaper than the plane ticket to Russia, bribe money, purchase, and shipping price. You had better move fast before this rare communist beauty gets away. You can bet that with keywords like these, it won't last long.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beat on the Street: Homebrew Kvass Edition

As I survey the post-apocalyptic landscape, I wonder how I could survive without my crazy Russian off-road trailer house.

Before They Were Beaters: Lada Niva

Ushanka? Check.
Silly sweater? Check
Florescent Yellow Niva? Check

It looks like these three guys are ready for some seriously covert ops in their trusty, but unfortunately conspicuous Lada Niva; a vehicle developed for this type of abuse in the Soviet Military. Thankfully, the Soviet-ness of these workhorses and their occupants was not disguised in this French language brochure, dated 1978.

Monday, October 19, 2009

From Russia with Love...

So you're driving down the road minding your business when some moron, no doubt in the employ of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., cuts you off in traffic. Your hand immediately reaches for the center console lid which covers the controls of your arsenal. You flip up the lid, but... instead of finding your choice of machine guns, bumper-rams or a water canon, all you find is a packet of tissues, a few sticks of gum and that John Travolta CD your Significant Other gave you to listen to, oh, maybe five months ago...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

USSR Ministry of Transport - Official People's Crossword

Test your communist car knowledge with the USSR Ministry of Transport's Official People's crossword! Failure to attempt will result in removal of name from Zhiguli waiting list!

Iron Curtain Week Special: Togliatti, USSR circa '73

By looking at this story from the May 1973 issue of National Geographic, it appears that your grand-dad has been proven wrong. Soviet cars were not assembled from random stolen GM parts and stick-welded together by kidnapped toddlers, but made in a facility as modern as any of the Big-Three's at the time.

BeaterBlog Presents Iron Curtain Week

BeaterBlog is commemorating the glorious Russian October revolution in grand soviet fashion. We're turning the whole site red and feeding you five days worth of eastern block automotive information propaganda. Its our first annual Iron Curtain Week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beater Barn Find: 1956 GMC Task Force

Fresh out of the barn is this one-owner 1956 GMC Pick-up. It has lived a hard life as a work truck on a dairy farm but is not yet beyond the capabilities of the automotive handy-person, whether it be for restoration or further farm duty.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sears Imported Car Replacement Parts - 1972/3

Looking for that certain whatzit for your Renault R-10 Gordini? No problem, just grab a ten dollar bill and hop in your local time machine to take delivery of your authorized Sears and Roebuck imported car parts!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Beat on the Street: Brown Blazer Edition

When lurking around the local Ferrari/Maserati dealer on a Sunday afternoon, I hope to find something unusual. The Mercedes-Benz 500E (W124) was a nice surprise. A rust free 1980 Toyota Corolla was a total shock.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Beat on the Street: 1969 Ford Falcon

Although not technically a beater, this 1969 Ford Falcon 2 door would make fast, unique, and potentially reliable daily driver.

What Happened to Plaid?

If one were to walk into any car dealership this day and age, he would be confronted with pamphlets filled with boxes to check. A myriad of bright color combinations, huge wheels, iPod compatibility and various other stylistic offerings that have been added to option sheets in order to make vehicles appeal to a fashion conscious crowd. But out of all of this modern technology and style, one thing is glaringly absent: Plaid.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Beating in Progress: Waterford Open Track Day

Every year, Waterford Hills Road Racing hosts several open track days attracting some of the finest machinery in the metro Detroit area, and some of the more abused.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Before They Were Beaters: Where's The Competition?

It appears that Soviet manufacturer Moskvich, or "Son of Moscow", was clearly the auto marque of choice for the driving enthusiast and subscriber to Popular Motoring Magazine. Although technically never "Popular" in the capitalist world, the Moskvich 412 was obviously quite successful in the 1973 British Production Saloon Car Championship, evidently competing in the "Soviet 4-door Saloon, Wraparound Rear Screen and Square Headlamps, Metallic Brown in Colour" class.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Beater How-To: Carburetor Rebuild Tips

Like oleopneumatic suspension and DIRAVI, carburetors also operate on the principle of luck and magic. Given the complex nature of carburetors and the great variance between different models, it may not be that beneficial to do a step-by-step rebuild procedure, so here are some general carburetor rebuilding tips that will work for a refresh of any model.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Beat on The Street: Advertisement Edition

Where will I ever find rubber for my Renault 16 TracTrar...Wait, Kennedy's Tyre Service, 256km Southeast of Barcaldine, Queensland!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Beating in Progress: 24 Hours of LeMons Lamest Day 2009

My 24 Hours of LeMons team has discovered twitter. Our narcissism knows no bounds. We'll be twittering constantly over the next few days to chronicle our tragedies both minor and catastrophic. Thanks for your support.