Thursday, September 30, 2021

Beavers of the world


Morgan Monotrace


This tandem two seat device was made by the French automobile company Morgan Monotrace in the years between 1926-1929. The machine was powered by a horizontal 500 cc 4 stroke single. The stabilizer wheels were raised up as the vehicle started moving. I'd say the obvious development was to make it amphibious.

Jan 1985 The Classic Motor Cycle
  A reader's comment on the Feet Forward post prompted a bit of research and I found this picture in an old Classic Motor Cycle magazine. 

During the early days of motor vehicles, there was a segment of the population that liked the idea of a car-bodied two wheeler. One of these was Mauser, the German armaments company, who produced a device like this from 1924 to 1927 and licensed the technology to the French Morgan Monotrace who continued to develop the idea. This is the French vehicle, apparently pictured in England so they did get around! The company closed in 1930.
I think the looks alone would be enough to curb sales- a boat on wheels, and look at that windshield!- and one wonders how seamless the stabilizer wheel activation might be. The passenger looks a bit sheepish being caught on film.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Colourful 1956 cars, American Motors, Chrysler

 Definitely not " any colour as long as it's black".

Alouette Satellite

Canada got into the space business when the Alouette satellite was launched on a US rocket from the Pacific Missile Range on September 29, 1962. The project had been initiated after an invitation from the newly formed NASA in 1958.  The 320 lb. satellite was a research platform, designed to study and monitor the ionosphere. The launch was perfect and the satellite was put in its orbit and operation without issues. Originally designed to last a year, it did its work for 10. Story here. (and make your own model!)
Also here

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Streetable Manx

From Cycle Magazine Nov 1973; Dean Wixom of Wixom Brothers (fairings and saddlebags) poses with the streetable (barely) Manx Norton built by John Owen of Chula Vista Cal. A generator on a fabricated mount in front of the engine is run by a belt from a pulley outboard of the primary sprocket. Start is still run and bump and the megaphone exhaust has a handlebar lever actuated butterfly valve at the noisy end.

Williams fishing lures

Made by Williams Gold Refining of Fort Erie Ontario. 
The story is that the Williams boys of Goldenville, Nova Scotia joined the Yukon Gold Rush. After an apparently successful venture the boys split up, one started a gold refinery business to supply dentists in Kansas City, the other set up his own branch in Fort Erie, Ontario. 
They were obviously fishermen, entertaining dentist clients at their fishing lodge near Dorset, Ontario, and at some point it was decided to get into the fishing lure business, having the facilities in place to plate the lures with actual gold or silver to get the best possible high reflectivity finish. The company sold the business in 1986, and Williams lures are still be made in Quebec today. The Fort Erie facility shows "Permanently closed" on Google.


Monday, September 27, 2021

Canada, The Foundations of its Future

I found this book in someone's Little Free Library, and drawn by the quality of the binding (and the author's name) I borrowed it. 

 As a Canadian history written in 1941, the content is about what you'd expect, with illustrations by Canadian artists, but it turns out that the book was commissioned by the Montreal-based Seagrams company, one of the largest purveyors of alcoholic beverages and apparently, by the production of this book, a proud Canadian company. The book was apparently available for the asking, even- as the below letter states- into 1966. I just can't imagine a corporation producing a book like this in this day and age.

1911 Pittsburgh Auto Show

 That girl looks like trouble, how can I meet her?

Boston Auto Show, 1929

Twenty-Seventh Annual Boston Auto Show, Boston, MA, held at the Mechanics Hall in Back Bay. Mechanic's Hall. Comments on that article pointed me to musician James Reese Europe, another rabbit hole... 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Sidecar Sunday

Reader Graeme sends in this picture of Len and Harry having fun posing for the camera. Year unknown. Someone has retouched the photo so the badges read Invincible ( I think) but Graeme asks the make of the machine, it's a V twin with carb on the left hand side, by that and details on the fork, I'd guess it's a prewar Harley Davidson outfit.

Dec 1984 Classic Motor Cycle

Electric Corvair

Inspired by the NASA's use of fuel cells in the Gemini spacecraft, GM promoted this fuel cell electric car- the Electrovair- at the 1967 Detroit Auto show. 
Even as this mockup was being shown, plans had changed. Due to the size and weight of the system they had moved the testbed to a GMC Handivan

Tracjacks and aircraft skates

No idea when the Skyhi company shut down, the name is now used for a airline flight subscription service.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

One of my vices is vises; Scout by Wilton

Cleaned up and painted, this would be good quality and a nice looking vice for anyone's shop. The cast-in radius line is a nice styling touch. 
Unfortunately it's rusting outside at Rideau Antiques in Rideau Ferry Ontario.


Model railroading , 1955

1955, interesting time to be a model railroader, steam to diesel transition in the real world, airlines hadn't quite made inroads into railway passenger service. Plastic model kits and zamac castings were making realistic models much easier to achieve, but the oriental brass locomotive industry also hadn't made its presence felt. HO scale was becoming popular, making the possibility of large layouts possible in smaller suburban houses.

The table of contents is pretty much timeless.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Monoshock kit for a 1970s motocrosser

Here is an interesting monoshock swingarm setup found on Facebook Marketplace some time ago.
 I've never seen this setup before, it seems to be a kit, possibly by DG or Profab in the 1970s.  The swingarm looks to be professionally made, as does the spring system and the various mounting brackets. Damping is provided by separate shock absorbers. The system is shown on a Bultaco frame with the spring bracket added to the front downtube and laydown type brackets on the rear tubes for the shock absorbers.

Tomahawk wrench


I was talking to a tool guy at an antique market when he took me aside and showed me this treasure, a make of wrench he had never seen before. I hadn't either. 
When I got it home I looked online and of course the guys at Garage Journal already knew all about them...

Monday, September 20, 2021

L'il Diesel roller skates

Many years ago while we were running our own Industrial Design office, a dentist came in, he said he was an idea man, he had all sorts of great ideas, for instance, how about plastic toy Nascar bodies, to clip over a skateboard, the kids will love 'em. 
Well, he was a decade or five late, someone (probably in the 1950s) thought that diesel locomotive-themed roller skates would make his fortune. Don't think they caught on...


Blower Bentley and Birkin in trouble

 I just found this picture, too late to include with the previous supercharged Bentley post. Quite a snapshot, Sir Henry Birkin was driving the Bentley at Brooklands in a record attempt when it caught fire inside the cockpit. He is standing up to get away from the flames, and is about to jump out of the car at about 60 mph. He was not seriously injured.
 In another record attempts with the car he recorded a 137 mph lap. The size of the car is even more apparent in this shot.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Dowty Aviation of Canada

The company worked on landing gear with Avro and by the time of this1954 ad, was supplying landing gear for the CF100 Avro Canuck and working on the Avro Arrow. In 1954, the Canadian subsidiary generated half of the company's income.

In the usual musical chairs of company ownership this is the subsidiary of the British Dowty company set up in Canada in 1939. In 1995 it became part of a joint venture between French company Messier and Dowty then in 2005 the company was bought by Safron, became part of the Messier/Bugatti/Dowty group in 2011 and finally Safron Landing Systems in 2016.

History here.

Sidecar Sunday

Made in France by SFA, Paris.
  (Société de Fabrication et d' Assemblage)  

Saturday, September 18, 2021

56 Chevrolet on the road

Nice looking car, I'd probably discard the sunvisor, but I'd drive that.