America’s first adventure car before there were SUVs
This spot brought back flashbacks for me when I spotted it on a lot/salvage yard because we had one as a kid, a 1950 Bathtub Nash.
In the late 40s and early 50s, the bathtub styling trend was hot and Nash was seen as the leader. But this was much more than just styling. Nash Engineering VP Nils Wahlberg had thing about aerodynamics, along with his designers performed wind tunnel studies with a full-sized plaster model. Almost unheard of in the automotive world and long before coefficient drag was even a factor. They found that their eventual design required significantly less road horsepower to maintain 60 mph than a comparable Buick or Chrysler at the time and came up with the name Airflyte.
But beyond aerodynamics, these cars were ahead of their time by utilizing an early form of unitized construction, with the frame and body shell welded together into a single unit. They also featured an independent front suspension, torque-tube drive, and coil springs at all four corners providing a plush ride. Like its American Motors’ family of cars like the Pacer and Gremlin, the styling was considered cartoonish. Meh, everybody’s a critic.
But inside was bigger than big, even by today’s standards. People who were into the outdoors loved it because of its seats that turned into a reasonably comfortable double bed, living-room comfort for six adult riders, tornadic ventilation, maximum cruising range, capacious ashtrays, a bag-limit-size trunk and screens for the windows on those car-camping nights. Sound familiar?
What are they worth now? Original MSRP according to J.D. Power was $2,223, $27,488.82 in today’s market which would still be a lot of car for the money. The average high retail is $25,600, $12,800 on average, and $6,900 low average. This one is most likely on the high end because it had zero rust, especially being here in Wisconsin.
Thanks for stopping by. Tell your friends and check back next week when I’ll have another car spot along with some history about it. Have a great weekend and Happy New Year.
One of the cool things Mark and I love about going up to Road America is that chances are we are going to discover a really cool vehicle like this week’s spot, a Subaru Sambar.
The Sumbar began production in the 1960s in Japan and was first based on the Subaru 360. Kie class vehicles in Japan are a maximum length of 134 inches, a maximum width of 58 in., and a maximum height of 79 in. The maximum displacement of engines is 660cc. These are essentially vehicles that spend a lot of their time in cities. This cabover truck was the first vehicle manufactured to be compliant in the Kei class in 1961. It’s now in its eighth generation.
In Japan, vehicles are usually cheaper to buy which makes them cheaper for the second-hand market. Because of that, these are brought into the US by the container load for sale at prices ranging from $1,000 to $12,000. These are used for just about everything throughout Asia such as agriculture, fisheries, construction, and even for firefighting. In the US they have found a second life used by hunters and farmers or in this case by race car teams. They offer a unique and more affordable alternative to UTVs. Plus, they’re so damn cute.
Thanks for stopping by, tell your friends, and be sure to check back next week for another one of my car/truck spots along with some of the history behind it. Have a great weekend.
Show of hands. How many of you have seen the movie Ford vs. Ferarri? That’s part of the reason behind the creation of this special edition 2019 Ford GT. As if they’re not special enough, right? This one was built to commemorate the 1968 LeMans race where a Ford GT in Gulf colors won the race. This one I spotted while on vacation in Florida. The owner also owns the previous model Ford GT. Lucky guy.
When he was chosen by Ford to be able to purchase it, yup, you need to apply before you can even buy it, it set him back around $600,000. Now they go for around 1.3 Mil. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Ford makes the owner sign an agreement that they will not sell it for two years after purchase.
This Heritage Edition features the 647 HP twin-turbo V6, 7-speed dual-clutch transaxle, top speed of 216 and will go 0-60 in about three seconds. Imagine that. Going fast and looking cool all at the same time. I’m down with that.
Check back each Friday as I feature a cool car I spotted out and about.
My neck is on a constant swivel when I’m out on the county roads here in Wisconsin. It drives my wife and daughter nuts because sometimes I ignore the road. We were up in Door County which is about two and a half hours north of Milwaukee. Since water surrounds it on three sides, it is a popular vacation spot and destination for visitors who have more a more than average amount of disposable income. Read extra cash to buy cars they really don’t need but look cool.
I remember as a kid my dad taking me down to see the Edsel even though I was probably only four or five years old at the time. I remember sitting on his lap and pushing every one of the buttons on the steering wheel that selected a different transmission. As a kid, I thought they were cool, but as we all know they were not. If you’re not familiar with this story, I’ll give you the short version. Launched by Ford in 1958 and lasted just two years before it was given a painless death. Ford spent gobs of money marketing a vehicle that consumers saw as ugly and not built well. To this day, however, I still think they look cool especially now when it is getting difficult to distinguish vehicles on the road.
That’s what first drew me to this car sitting at what looked like a small auto repair shop but then as I looked closer, I saw it was different. This was the pickup version. Now I know Edsel had a seven-model product line, including four sedans and three station wagons. The sign inside the car said that there were only 100 made. Well after further research, he might have been correct but Edsel never made them. So this is a mashup of a Ford Ranchero, which was produced, and an Edsel.
So this was created by some enthusiast in his garage by taking the front clip off the Edsel and mating it to a Ranchero. They have also been made using a Villager wagon. This one was in pretty good shape from what I could see but hadn’t been on the road in a while.
How rare? A quick search found them, not many but some. What are they worth? Edsel introduced a seven-model product line, including four sedans and three station wagons. I did a quick spin on Hemmings and found ten of them up for sale ranging from $10,950 for 1959 Corsair up to $99,500 for a 1960 Ranger that was essentially a rebadged Ford. There were several in the mid-’20s. I found this Ranchero that had quite a bit of custom work done on it for $16,990. I guess like any other rare car, it’s how bad do you want it.
It’s coming up on a year when I had my motorcycle accident where a moron in a car pulled out in front of me earning me a trip to the ER and my bike to the salvage yard. And yet, I’m still here to tell about it.
My dream bike
My 07 Hayabusa was starting to cost me money and I was looking for it’s replacement. Not wanting to buy one from the local Suzuki dealer who’s service reputation had gotten sketchy, I looked at other brand, one I had lusted after for a very long time, Ducati. What I purchased was the first bike I saw when I entered the dealership, this 2019 959 Panigali. I think it was the color that caught my eye. Totally different than the Busa but even more fun.
Let me hop back to the title of this blog entry for a second before I get into the details of the accident. I have been riding since I was maybe 20 and have taken multiple bike safety classes, even a racing class at Road America.
A good instructor will pound into your brain from the beginning that you don’t have all the metal around you like in a car so an accident will most likely leave a mark. You spidey senses have to be on high alert looking way ahead of traffic so you can anticipate a move by a car before it happens. When driving with my wife, she is constantly amazed on my eyes ahead. The other thing taught at the high performance classes is how to fall off the bike when you’ve been hit. Long story short, never put your hands out ahead of you to break the fall and try to relax. Well that last part is kind of hard.
Note I said in the headline that “most” motorcyclelists are better drivers. I know you’ve probably seen the kids on crotch rockets roar past you at high speed, some doing wheelies at 90 mph. Those we call squids because that’s pretty much what they look like after loosing control. If you haven’t seen this, just do a search for videos on YouTube.
That fatefull day
I needed a part for my lawn tractor so decided to take the bike for a spin. I was going on a road that I have traveled tons of times. I was coming up on a 4-way intersection where traffic going in my direction could turn left. If there are drivers stopped waiting for their opportunity to turn, there is a passing lane on the right. So with traffic stopped I proceeded to pass in the right hand lane. Well that’s when the bonehead who was stopped second in line to turn decided to turn right in front of me. Holly shit, this is going to leave a mark I though traveling at 40 mph.
The piece of shit that pulled out in front of me was a Toyota Tercel 4-wd sr5 wagon turd brown like this one. The Toyota logo got real big in my visor just before impact. I remember the horizon rotating three times before I came to rest on the pavement. The driver of the Turdcell had pulled way over to the right after impact. I remember laying on my back, mostly there, when the passenger got out and asked why I ran into them. Adrenaline was really pumping and I lifted my head up to respond, what the f…. are you talking about, you turned into me. I was hot. Apparently not getting my message, she asked me again and I responded the same. Then I decided to just lay down and let the paramedics and police take care of things. Witnesses confirmed that the car had indeed pulled in front of me and I flew over the car three times.
Before getting loaded onto the ambulance, I heard the driver tell somebody that he had hurt his hand and was looking for a hospital. Still juiced up on adrenelin, my parting shot was to tell him just to follow the ambulance he put me in. It turns out, the he had a suspended liscense and no insurance. Have a nice day.
I was fortunate
I always wear a helmet. I can’t believe that there are people out there that don’t. I most likely would not have been writing this blog entry without wearing one.
I got off easy with some road rash on my hand and a sore back that required therapy. I know, I should have had a broken arm or something. God was watching me that day. I guess it wasn’t my time and I keep asking myself, why am I still here? Well maybe to write this blog entry in the hope that motorists will be more aware of motorcycles, riders take a class, and please wear a helmet. And yup, I got back in the saddle buying a 2020 Panigalli V2 and love it.
After the game this year between the Chiefs and Buccaneers, (go Chiefs) there will be an MVP named. Please not Tom Brady. In the past that player would have been awarded a new car or truck. But not this year since Hyundai has started sponsoring the game, they haven’t given one out. The last winner was Brady in 2015 giving him a total of four. Please not five. Just in case you don’t know, I’m a Packer fan and still smarting from the loss to the Bucs.
When you’re driving to the home of the Moon Pie, you need something that boasts American pride and craftsmanship, and that’s what I got from Chevy for a rare trip to Chattanooga, Tenn.
Up rolled a Cajun Red 2019 Chevrolet Equinox and I promptly packed it down for a roughly 1,600-mile roundtrip to Moon Pie central. The gooey s’mores-like treat was a bonus I hadn’t counted on. My goal was hanging with a couple thousand of my plastic modeling friends for the International Plastic Modelers Society’s national convention in Nooga. Continue reading 2019 Chevolet Equinox AWD Premier→
New Ranger is more refined with improved handling …
Back in the day, about a decade ago, Ford’s Ranger was a compact pickup made primarily, or so it seemed, for teenage boys to range around small towns and suburban areas, with their teenage girlfriends riding shotgun.
Rangers were small, inexpensive wheels, often the first truck a kid owned and maybe, if mom and dad were nice to them, they’d let the parents run to the big box home improvement store to pick up some mulch, fertilizer or a few new bushes on weekends. Or that’s what the parents did with the truck before handing it down to junior. Continue reading 2019 Ford Ranger XLT Supercrew 4×4→
Mitsubishi continues to fly under the radar among the Japanese car makers in the U.S., with just a few models and those don’t change often.
But the Outlander Sport has been one of its success stories, as it spun off from the larger Outlander SUV a few years back. This is a small ute, or crossover, about a foot shorter in length than Outlander.
It’s handsome, easy to maneuver in a parking lot and an automotive bargain. But it’s no benchmark to be sure.
The body is tidy and looks a bit sportier than many mainline small utes. I tested a pretty metallic red almost top-level SEL with AWD. The later is a bit of a misnomer in that you must engage the 4-wheel-drive system while cars and wagons such as Subarus are AWD all the time. Still, that’s easy because there’s a big button on the console. Press it once and you go from 2WD to 4WD.
Price though is what sets it apart. You can easily pay $30-35 grand for a decent AWD crossover or small ute, but the SEL model starts at $26,835, including delivery. Even with its pricey Touring Package, a $2,000 option, the test vehicle checked in at just $29,110. That’s a certifiable bargain.