Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Here

Photo From Here

You need to click on that picture to do it justice. I'm not sure what this rig is, it says Renault in the background, but it's one cool Art-Deco rig. I still maintain I was born about 100 years too late. If I was born  in 1898 like my grandmother was, I'd have been in my late 20's or early thirties when this thing was buzzing around. As it is, when I hit thirty, it was 1980, not an era known for cool vehicles. After the gas crunch and escalating gas prices of the 70's, it was really lousy V6 engines choked down with pollution controls. 

I had a 1978 Pontiac Safari wagon that I bought for next to nothing, which was about what it was worth, for a work car. It was pretty clapped out when I got it but it wasn't like it was past it's glory days. It never had any from the get-go, in spite of what the advertising would have you believe. Who would have designed a station wagon with rear windows that wouldn't roll down? Mine had a Buick V6 in it and like all of the Buick V6 engines, the stock oil pump wasn't up to the task. Plus, you had to pull the alternator out of the way to change a thermostat, and it was the first of the GM's that I had where you had to throw the rear axle away when the wheel bearing went bad because they didn't think enough of the car they were selling to bother with a bearing race on the axle. And as if all that wasn't enough, that's when they were thinking about converting to metric so the easy things to change like the wheel studs were metric but the engine bolts were still fractional sizes. That cool ass Art-Deco rig would've trumped the Safari wagon hands down. 

Anyway, it's a new year and instead of quacking about the lousy cars from the late 70's - early 80's, one needs to remember it was a good time for motorcyclists. In spite of a jump in gas prices, once Honda came out with the 750/4, it was Katy bar the door for the motorcycle arms race. The big Japanese companies were constantly coming up with the new and improved version and they usually were. Kawasaki's answer to the Honda was the KZ/Z1 900/1000. Great bikes that you could flog the living daylights out of. The handling wasn't the greatest but the lessons learned in Superbike racing went a long way towards curing that and just about every year there were improvements made in all aspects of performance.

It's been a little chilly here the last few days but there'll be some movement on my 900 pretty soon. Swingarm tubing should be here today or tomorrow. Exhaust tubing and rod ends have been shipped, so they should be showing up real soon as well. I've still got a couple of other projects I'm working on like I always am, but the bike will happen. 

The new year is here and the Missus made Hoppin' John yesterday. Let's hope it brings a prosperous and healthy year to us all.


Rich Dailey said...

Let's not forget those V6s that were converted to diesel. Sounded like a seizure right off the lot.

late seventies - early eighties were my motorcycle heyday. Rode/raced/wrenched a Kaw Z1/900, an H1 & H2, kz650, Honda 550/4, while dreaming of Ducatis. Enjoy your site very much. Thanks and HNY...Rich

Shop Teacher Bob said...

The one good thing about the diesels was the amount of soundproofing they put in them. As soon as the diesel let loose, you could stuff a small block in one of those big Oldsmobiles and it was quieter than a Cadillac. Besides the fact that the engines were junk, not too many gas stations had a diesel pump back then. If you had to stop at a truck stop for fuel, you had to wait while a semi filled up both saddle tanks with a couple hundred gallons. No wonder they didn't catch on.

Thanks for reading.

Traveling Pirate said...

I believe that, with that picture, you are the first person to stump the internet. I did an image search (you can now upload an image to Google and it will search for it elsewhere on the internet) and although initial reports are that it is a Holland Coachcraft of Glasgow, I'm having trouble finding much information at all. Mengel: 1 Internet: 0

There are similar fun-looking vehicles from the same company (if that is indeed the company) at the websites below. Life would be more enjoyable if our buses looked like this.

Anonymous said...

I always knew that someday Shop Teacher Bob would ultimately stump the Interweb!

Shop Teacher Bob said...

Traveling Pirate: I didn't know about the photo search feature. Like most things internet, probably about 90% of the searches have something to do with naked women, however. As much as I'd like to,I can't take credit for stumping the internet. I lifted the photo from another site. They should receive the credit and the glory.

Shop Teacher Bob said...

kevin2117: As I told the Traveling Pirate, I can't take the credit but I do dabble in arcania. I have run internet searches that drew a blank.

Thanks for the calender, by the way.