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

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!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Eslon 50 ft measuring tape

 Found at a local antique store, this looked like a quality item from Japan, comparable to the Lufkin 50 ft tape beside it... Once again, not much info online...

1971 Kawasaki H1

 1971, what was the ad designer smoking? 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Airco DH2

 The Airco DH2, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, entered service in early 1916, powered by a 100 hp rotary engine and armed with a single machine gun. The first example was put in service in France but was soon shot down, its pilot killed. Unfortunately the Germans recovered the plane and rebuilt it. 
Within a year it had been outclassed and all were replaced by June of 1917. About 450 had been constructed during that time. 

Porsche 1978

 If there is one car that is overrepresented on the internet it would have to be the Porsche 911 and its ilk. Take a moment to appreciate the the unloved front engine 924... the Mazda RX7 had just been introduced..

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Speaking of colours not appearing in nature...

Mercifully blurred for arts sake, this is the Candy Jackal Blue paint scheme for the 1972 GT750. Your other choice was Candy Lavender, we knew it as "pink". I've owned them in both colours, back in the day "pink" was right out... today, it's the one I'd want. Simply for its garishness.


Panther 6


Jan 1979 Road and Track

I always thought the reasons given for the F1 six wheel Tyrrell design might have been a bit exaggerated but it was certainly a novelty. The concept became the inspiration for this 1977 behemoth.

Robert Jankel, a tuner turned fashion designer left the garment trade and got back into the automotive business in 1971 by forming Panther Westwinds, building a Jaguar SS100 lookalike,  (expensive) one-offs and short run automobile specials. 

By 1976 he needed a new model and from the Tyrrell came the layout for this car. The prototype was first shown at the London Motorfair in October 1977, a bit too late as Tyrell had cancelled the 6 wheel program at the end of the 1976 season, so the purported advantages for this layout disappeared. Jankel continued on with his twin turbo-ed Cadillac powered beast but by 1979 the project fizzled out.There were apparently two prototypes made, and they still exist today. 

Panther story here.

Classified ad 1986

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Kremlin with logs

 A Roger Fenton photograph, 1852.

Passenger Whaleback, Christopher Columbus


The whaleback was a boat design by James McDougal, first launched in 1887. The design had a rounded deck that blended in from the sides and ends of the boat, intended to slip through the water more easily. The first were towed barges and the first powered version was built in 1890. The boats were usaually built as bulk grain carriers but in 1893 the Christopher Columbus was built as a passenger carrier for the Columbian Exposition. It was one of the largest passenger vessels on the great Lakes when built, 1500 tons, 360 feet long, 42 feet wide.

 Its regular run was Milwaukee to Chicago and it ran without incident till 1936 when it was scrapped.

Entering the Saint Joseph River at Benton Harbour.
Below, three grain whalebacks in Buffalo harbour.