Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Alvis Leonides, 1957

 The nine cylinder radial Leonides was prototyped in 1936, its 718 cu. inches producing 450 hp. Although development work continued slowly during the war, the engine was brought out again, developed to 520 hp and put into production in 1947. Production continued till 1966, the last British production aircraft piston engine.

Select Steel

Not one of the better looking wrenches I've seen but when the forging is proudly proclaimed to have been done in the USA, I have to take a second look even if its a cheap looking thing.  When the price tag was removed, I found the Select Steel wording hidden underneath. To me it still looked like a cheap department store wrench but apparently the Select Steel branding was used by Indestro.

As always, Alloy artifacts to the rescue.


Monday, August 2, 2021

Nose job

My guess is they're from Cessnas of some sort, I realize they're not identical. Someone will know... 


We used to make things in this country # 328 Wheel wrench

Kind of a minor Monday Mystery I guess... Marked only with the number J132 and stamped Made in Canada, this looks like a wheel wrench supplied by an unknown automobile manufacturer. Pressed steel construction always seems shoddy, but it is actually quite good quality. The end of the handle has a sharp edge for prying hub caps loose.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Another 6 wheels experiment

July 1980 Road & Track

 Another 6 wheel experiment from the seventies, this time by Roy Lane, who converted the March 771 race car into a 4 wheel drive hill climb race car. He had fitted the two axle gearbox from the aborted March 761 F1 project. Apparently it worked well in wet conditions but in the dry broke gears and had traction and handling issues. The 4wd system also took a lot of horsepower. It was thought that a differential was needed between the rear axles to allow them to operate independently. The car was soon converted back to 4 wheels. Car history here.

Sidecar Sunday

Cycle, September 1972


Air Fleet


“What Is Air Fleet?” book by N. Anoschenko. Cover design by I. Meisner. Published in 1923.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Stone thimble


Kingston Ontario is located in a limestone area, and during the remodelling of an 1860s downtown house, this stove pipe thimble carved from limestone was found in the backyard, still in good shape. Apparently they do turn up occasionally and generally all have the same proportion and appearance.  The thought is that they were the work of a single stonecarver whose identity is long lost but once again, no information on them!

Friday, July 30, 2021


 Another almost-good tool idea from the 70s. Like so many of these clever gadgets, the biggest issue is the space it takes up. Bolts and nuts out in the open aren't the issue, it's the ones that you can't quite get a grip on, this tool might occasionally be useful but would probably mostly stay in the drawer...  Here's one on ebay

Heritage Strokes for different folks



Thursday, July 29, 2021

Slightly premature

April, 1982 Road & Track

The company had already been placed in receivership in February and filed for bankruptcy in October of that year.

Alfa Romeo 412

A good swoopy car, but take off the body and the complete lack of driver safety provisions becomes apparent. No structure at all in that area, but I guess as there were no seat belts, the driver wasn't expected to be hanging around in the event of an accident.
 These Tipo 412 sports cars were built in 1938, after the rules for GP reduced engine size to 3 litres. Rather than discarding the 4.1 and 4.5 liter V-12 engines, the company built sports cars around them. They were raced a few times but development stopped with the onset of the war. The cars survived and continued to be raced successfully into the early 1950s. Lots more discussion here.
It's not certain how many were built. It's rumoured there could have been as many as 4, but most Alfa historians agree that there were just 2. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Norton Honda special

 And .... another Norton special - this one has an 812 cc four cylinder Honda SOHC 750-4 in a stretched and widened Commando frame. Did he include the Isolastic engine mounts, I wonder. Not sure how long ago it was built, but it's still ridden by the maker, Andy Davidson of Victoria, B.C. Photo was taken on Saltspring Island British Columbia this summer. Thanks, Bevin!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Rex McCandless, race car builder

Thoroughbred and Classic Cars, April 86

 Rex McCandless, while consulting to Norton and designing the famous Featherbed frame, was busy on another project, this time on four wheels. It appeared at its first race in late 1951, pictured here with Laurie McGladery driving. Powered by a 500cc Manx Norton engine mounted in the nose, the box section spine frame also provided a mount for the countershaft with brake drums and transmission which then powered both front and rear wheels using chain drive. The machine was nearly unbeatable in the races it ran in Ireland. The car was fitted later with a more substantial body, pictured here. Below the Featherbed frame.

Fighting crime with radio?

And a revolver apparently...

Monday, July 26, 2021

Maxwell #3 wrench

 Maxwell Motors started building cars in 1904 and grew quickly. Their toolkits used stamped steel tools like this one and apparently after 1921 these wrenches were only identified by numbers, 1, 2 , 3, 4. More here. Oddly, they are plentiful on ebay. 

 The company was acquired by Walter P. Chrysler and when the Chrysler Corporation was formed in 1925, Maxwell was shut down. 

Grand Prix de l'ACF 1935

If I was to have only one racing poster from the 30s, I think this is it.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Haying all done...

Sky is overcast, but the hay is all harvested. Park the wagons for another year...

Sidecar Sunday

Thanks, Jon!


Friday, July 23, 2021

Balloons on display...

 Early flight dilemma, lighter than air or heavier? Various balloons on display at the First International Fair of Air Navigation held in 1909. The show was held at the Grand Palais in Paris.

10th Anniversary Trans Am

 And of course,  the signature Thunder Chicken on the hood....

Cast Iron file handle

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Indian Motorcycle, "The twin's the thing"


Penens Corp. ratchet

Tools by Pennen rarely show up in our area, but here's an old ratchet that I don't think fits into the Alloy Artifacts proto tool page. I can't quite make out the number in the middle, possibly MFG1661 USA? 

Previous post on a Penen wrench here


Wednesday, July 21, 2021



 I've made a couple of previous posts on the Phänomen and have combined them into this one. For some reason, these things creep me out. I can picture them as the only vehicles appearing in a steampunk horror movie, a genre I think that really needs developing... Picture a Victorian version of the Bladerunner set as a starting point.

Phänomen (Phenomenon in English) was the name of the company, the ungainly vehicle pictured above was the van version of the Phänomobile. A 6.5 hp engine mounted on the fork powered the front wheel and steered with the wheel. These vehicles were made in Germany from 1905 right through to 1927, when production shifted to more conventional trucks.  Below a high ranking German officer is given a tour of a ruined Belgian town in what must be another example of the strange vehicle. None of the occupants seem happy, perhaps it was all that was left in the motor pool. 

Wyandotte Toys ambulance

I wanted to buy this beautiful thing. Unfortunately so did someone else, who didn't waste time mulling it over.


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Pirelli colors

 Pirelli jumps on the 924 bandwagon.
How does one make a catchy ad for "round black things underneath a car"?

Air craft in formation

US Navy dirigibles in the early 1940s... 
"Tighter formation, guys, closer together!"

Monday, July 19, 2021

Bikes in the 'hood...

I thought this was a nicely done Virago custom, utilizing the ubiquitous "NOS" or is that repro by now? Benelli Mojave tank. I got home before I realized it isn't a 1100 Virago, but rather something else, the scale is thrown off by the tank, engine doesn't look like a 535, the 250 is chain drive... what is it?


William Superrench

A reader sent in pictures of this 31" long box wrench, one end is 2 3/4" and the other is 3". It might just be a standard Williams wrench at the large end of the scale but he is looking for any info because as he says, "It just struck me as odd that all the ones online are smaller, have flat or oval shafts or have offset heads.  This one has a 1" round shaft, no offset and the size was unique to me". 
Information appreciated!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Boring awkwardly placed holes with a brace and bit

Another interesting old drilling accessory, looks like it could bore a hole at up to a 45° angle.