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.