Sunday, August 6, 2017

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Pulled off the hat-trick of Planes, Trains and Automobiles Friday and Saturday. I scheduled the last post a couple days in advance, and after writing it up I called Cuzzin Rick to see about us getting over to the Studebaker and New York Central museums in the next couple of weeks. He said let's go Friday, I've got nothing much else shakin' this week, so off we went.

The top three photos are from the Studebaker Museum. Photo 1 is the car Ab Jenkins drove from coast to coast in a little more than 77 hours. If you're familiar with hot rodding or Bonneville speed records, you'll recognize the name of Ab Jenkins.

Photo 2 is a Bendix. It's a one-off special made for the Bendix Company to promote their line of automotive parts. It's a beautiful car. 

Photo 3 is a '55 Commander model, I believe. Love that two-tone paint job and all the chrome. The Commanders and the Hawks were nice looking cars. Long and low with the cool fins but the Larks were butt ugly. Basically just a box with headlights on the front and taillights on the rear. The museum has some prototype cars and sketches of design ideas of new models but they just didn't seem to be heading in the right direction. I forget what year it was but one of the info boards said they sold 400,000 cars and trucks that year and they employed 24,000 people. They were a major player at one time.

Photo 4 is an EMD E-8 on display at the NYC Museum in Elkhart, IN. Those E and F units are my favorites of all the diesel units. My favorite among the steam locomotives would have to be the streamlined 20th Century Limited that used to run over the tracks there. Coincidentally, two of the most famous industrial designers were involved with Studebaker and the NYC - Henry Dreyfuss on the 20th Century Limited and Raymond Loewy with the Studebaker Avanti.

Photos 4&5 are from my flight aboard the B-24 Saturday morning with my brother from a different mother. Just like last year when we did the B-17, the weather was ideal and the flight itself was fantastic. Again, I can't imagine flying combat missions over Europe in one of these things. Brave men they were. This one is the only remaining flight worthy B-24 of the thousands that were produced during the war. Next year we're planning on going for a ride in the B-25. The Collings Foundation also has a P-51 you can go up in. I'll have to pass on that one. A ride in that one would be the same as a nice down payment on a new motorcycle or pay for a flight to Europe.

I posted a photo on my Facebook page about my trip over to South Bend/Elkhart and one of my former students asked if I had ever been to the Auburn-Cord museum as well as a couple of other places. I've been to the Auburn-Cord museum but it was a long time ago. Looks like I'm going to have to take a trip over that way one of these days. Maybe stop by the Bell Aircraft museum in Mentone on the way. So much to see. I'm extremely fortunate to be able to do these things. 

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