Classic car collections – Ken Lingenfelter

Wow. Talk about, ‘Dream Machines,’ this car collection has been listed as one of the top ten car collections…in the world. I believe Jay Leno’s collection is also on that list.

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The Lingenfelter collection is owned by, Ken Lingenfelter, who is an old friend from back in the…’60s. He’s all grown up and owns and operates a ‘speed shop’ type company called, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, http://www.lingenfelter.com, which has in the past specialized in modifying GM products, like Corvettes and Camaro, but now they have been expanding into some Fords, like Mustangs, as well.

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If you have the ‘need for more speed,’ but don’t want to buy another car, Ken is the guy to call. His speed shop will build muscle into your machine. They can also modify the car body, making dramatic statements, sometimes with spectacular results.

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Ken’s collection is in a very large building in Brighton, Michigan that makes a large new car dealership look small. There are enormous rooms and each over-sized room is jammed with classy cars. I didn’t count, but one person at the hot dog stand told me there were around 200 cars…indoors.

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Each room is filled with primarily one type of car. Like, one room had predominately foreign muscle cars like Bugati’s, Ferraris, Porsches, a Bentley, and one I wasn’t sure about.

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In another room is a lot of classic cars like ’63-’72 Chevelle SS’s, 442’s, Camaro SS’s, and too many to list. Check out the photos. One car was a ’64 or ’65 Pontiac 2+2 convertible, which had 421 inches of modified power. It was very similar to my old ’62 Bonneville convertible, but with more power per inch.

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In yet another room was a beautiful sight. It was packed tightly with wall-to-wall Corvettes. Mainly early ’54-mid-60s, but all the way up to a 2014 ‘vette. Walking into that room, I overheard a guy in the crowd, who was looking at a ’67 Covette with a 427 LS7 engine say, “Smells like America.”

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REEE-OAR!!! In the foreign room, Ken fired up a hot looking Enzo Ferrari and the loud blast from the sweet sound of high-performance power, sent the excited crowd running toward the rumble. By the time I got there, the large crowd was squeezed against the car and Ken was out of the car waving to a loud cheer, and now crushed by admirers and their high-tech questions on super-chargers vs turbo charged and power-tech issues that were way out of my league, but he could answer off–the-cuff.

 

Ken Lingenfelter

Ken Lingenfelter

I’m hoping to see Ken again soon at his very cool new summer-time Saturday morning tradition, ‘Cars & Coffee’ cruise-ins. They start May 3rd and go on every Saturday morning from 8am-10am. It’s at the ‘North Engine build facility’ of Lingenfelter Performance Engineering at 47451 Avante, at Beck Rd. in Wixom, Michigan.

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All makes and models are welcome to this cruise-in, it’s free and according to the printed announcement, the Cars & Coffee is, “a gathering of like-minded enthusiasts. It’s a place to take your ride, share stories and see some amazing cars.”

Of course, I prefer to call them; ‘Dream Machines.’

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Classic car collections – 1

Remember the ‘Cannonball Express?’ The race that Burt Reynolds made famous in his movies, was inspired by Erwin George ‘Cannonball’ Baker. Cannonball Baker, to create publicity for the Templar line of cars, was timed from New York City to Chicago, in 1920, covering 992 miles in 26 hours and 50 minutes (which included stops for fuel and sandwiches without turning off the engine). The race may be over, but the cars still exist; in a collection.

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I am constantly amazed at car collections, big and small. Car collections are a reflection of our history, which is sorely missing from our education today. Ask any college freshman what the constitution guarantees, our Bill of Rights says, or even what Abe Lincoln said in his historic, Gettysburg Address, and you’ll typically get a blank face reaction.

Car collectors I know normally have some kind of a car connection; like owning a car dealership. However, I found a classic car collection from the most odd source; my sister-in-law Chris. Her cousin, Dave Buehler, has a fascinating collection of cars manufactured in Cleveland, but were failures in mass sales; The Templar Motor car company. These are not what I’d call classic cars, but antique cars because they were built in 1917.

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I think the name kind of doomed the brand; Templar, which comes from The Order of the Knights Templar, which was a monastic order formed in Jerusalem in 1119 to protect the holy sepulcher and defend the crusaders. Yeah. We know how that turned out. However, free masons and the Masonic Lodge would be proud.

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These Masons wanted a beautiful, luxury car; their own ‘Dream Machines.’ The cars were very advanced for their early beginnings; like aluminum bodies and an array of nifty innovations like the closed circuit battery ignition system, Jacox steering gear, Perfection springs, Nigrum oilless spring bushings, Schwitzer universal joints and Goodyear tires.

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Apparently a lot of competition in auto manufacturing at the time is what killed the brand. After WWI, a long time ago, a lot of auto manufacturers thought that there would be a post-war boom for cars. Ford won this battle to prove at the time that, ‘less expensive’ was better. Smaller companies that offered excellent quality, but higher prices, went out of business.

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The Templar collection I visited is in an odd corner of Cleveland in a manufacturing building that the original Templars were built. I was shown how the final product had to be delivered by elevator to the main floor. According to everything I’ve read about the history of building cars, Henry Ford would not approve of car elevators.

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I asked Dave, who owns all these cars, what he’s going to do with the collection. He didn’t really know. I thought of the Crawford Automobile Museum, in Cleveland, but apparently they’re not sure what to do either. Anyone out there, especially Masons, know what to do with these antique ‘Dream Machines?’ Let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neighborhood cruise-in nights – expanded

Wow! I got a lot of feedback from all over the country about ‘neighborhood cruise-in’ nights. Not the big cruises, with thousands of classic cars and hot rods, but the local neighborhood cruise-in nights. Apparently there are thousands of cruise-in nights all across America, just like my local one on Mondays at Bearden’s Burgers, in Rocky River, Ohio.

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The other night I was in Erie, Pennsylvania on business. I wanted to catch an MLB baseball game that night, so I went to Quaker Steak & Lube, which is a sports bar with lots of big screen TVs and a few classic cars on display. One was a ‘50s Corvette convertible and another was a dragster. They had a few other classic cars, and I thought it was pretty cool how they had them displayed.

The TVs were all tuned to random ESPN stations with talking heads, but no games. The female bartender didn’t have a clue, which sports events were on TV that night, so I requested a particular Cleveland Indians/Chicago White Sox game. It took a different person a while, but they finally got the game. Then it hit me.

The sports bar obviously likes classic cars. Did they have any ‘cruise nights’ at this restaurant? “Yes,” responded the well-endowed bartender. “We have a Bike and Classic Car ‘cruise night’ every Wednesday night, but only from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

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I thought about it and realized this is local information that only locals would know about. I was correct in my thoughts, there must be thousands of cruise-in nights all across America. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a national listing of neighborhood cruise-in nights so visitors like me would know about them?

Well, that’s a huge undertaking and I sure don’t have the extra time in my already busy life to create one. Where I find out about different cruise-in nights is local/regional ‘cruise-in’ type magazines and websites like my friend, John Shapiro’s Cruisin Times Magazine, which is operated out of Cleveland, http://www.cruisintimes.org, and another great source out of Detroit, Michigan is Dana DeCoster, Publisher and chief floor Sweeper at Cruis’news Publications; http://www.cruisnews.com.

So, I’ve decided to start a listing of all the cruise-in sources like websites/magazines to find cruise-in nights in your area, and I need your help.

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I want to know about every cruise-in listing, website or cruise-in type magazine in America. Please respond and send them to me at my Facebook page, Dream Machines, at;

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dream-Machines/560475744012570

If my instincts are correct, I’ll bet every region in the country has these type of cruise-in type magazines/websites. Send me your local websites and magazines, I will start this list this week and post it on my Facebook wall, or maybe I’ll start a new Facebook page. Keep reading because things have a habit of changing and maybe I can get this list on my blog as well. See ya next week and it’s getting closer to summer… time for Dream Machines to hit the street.

 

 

 

 

Old Car Trivia!

IT’S TIME FOR ‘OLD CAR TRIVIA!’

I love trivia and games like the TV shows, ‘Jeopardy’ and ‘Who wants to be a millionaire.’ But this is about cars and things related. Some questions are easy, some funny, some interesting and some will make you go, ‘Hm-m-m-m-m.’  There are some hard questions and, of course, some impossible to answer unless you are a real car nut with a photographic memory.

Trivia prep:  Ford, who made the first pick-up trucks, shipped them to dealers in crates that  the new owners had to assemble using the crates as the beds of the trucks.  The new owners had to go to the dealers to get them, thus they had to “pick-up” the trucks. And now you know the “rest of that story”.

A friend sent me the ‘Old Car Trivia’ and I thought you might like to play. READY? GO!  (don’t scroll down too fast or you’ll be cheating).

Q: What was the first official White House car?

A 1909 White Steamer

 

A: A 1909 White Steamer, ordered by President Taft. Does that order include a side of fries?

Q: Who opened the first drive-in gas station?

Gulf gas station in Pittsburgh

 

A: Gulf gasoline opened up the first gas station in Pittsburgh in 1913.

Q: What city was the first to use parking meters?

Oklahoma City parking meter

 

A: Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935. Must have been some parking problems? I hate these things.

Q: Where was the first drive-in restaurant?

Royce Hailey's Pig Stand

 

A: Royce Hailey’s Pig Stand opened in Dallas in 1921. Dallas? Really?

Q: True or False?  The 1953 Corvette came in white, red and black?

1953 Corvette

 

A: False.  The 1953 ‘Corvett’s were available in only one color, Polo White.

Q: What was Ford’s answer to the Chevy Corvette, and other legal street racers of the 1960’s?

Carroll Shelby's Mustang GT350

 

A: Carroll Shelby’s Mustang GT350.

Q: What was the first car fitted with an alternator, rather than a direct current dynamo?

The 1960 Plymouth Valiant.

 

A: The 1960 Plymouth Valiant.

Q: What was the first car fitted with a replaceable cartridge oil filter?

1924 Chrysler

 

A: The 1924 Chrysler.

Q: What was the first car to be offered with a “perpetual guarantee”? A ‘Lifetime’ warranty?????

1904 Acme

 

A: The 1904 Acme, from Reading , PA.  Acme closed down in 1911. I heard of 100,000 mile powertrain warranties, but forever for the whole car??? This was doomed from the first day.

Q: What American luxury automaker began by making cages for birds and squirrels?

The George N. Pierce Co.

 

A: The George N. Pierce Co. of Buffalo , who made the famous Pierce Arrow, also made iceboxes. I unfortunately remember iceboxes in the ’50s. We lived in the country and couldn’t afford those new-fangled refrigerators. A guy would come around about once a week selling blocks of ice. We also had a coal furnace. Geez, do I sound old. Crap!

Q: What car first referred to itself as a convertible?

1904 Thomas Flyer,

 

A: The 1904 Thomas Flyer, which had a removable hard top.

Q: What car was the first to have it’s radio antenna embedded in the windshield?

1969 Pontiac Grand Prix

 

A: The 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix. A man’s car. Yeah!

Q: What car used the first successful series-production hydraulic valve lifters?

1930 Cadillac V12

 

A: The 1930 Cadillac 452, the first production V16.

Q: Where was the World’s first three-color traffic lights installed?

First stop light Detroit , Michigan

 

A: Detroit , Michigan in 1919. Two years later they experimented with synchronized lights. Then they experimented with traffic jams on Woodward Avenue, the first American highway and the first paved road in America.

Q: What type of car had the distinction of being GM’s 100 millionth car built in the U.S. ?

1966 Olds Tornado

 

A: March 16, 1966 saw an Olds Tornado roll out of Lansing, Michigan with that honor. Great design for ’66.

Q: Where was the first drive-in movie theater opened, and when?

First drive-in movie Camden, NJ in 1933

 

A: Camden, NJ in 1933. Making out in a car got different too!

Q: What autos were the first to use a standardized production key-start system?

1949 Chrysler

 

A: The 1949 Chryslers.

Q: What did the Olds designation 4-4-2 stand for?

Oldsmobile 442

 

A: 4 barrel carburetor, 4 speed transmission, and dual exhaust. Oh, yeah.

Q: What car was the first to place the horn button in the center of the steering wheel?

1915 Scripps-Booth Model C

 

A: The 1915 Scripps-Booth Model C. The car also was the first with electric door latches. You didn’t know this???

Q: What U.S. production car has the quickest 0-60 mph time?

1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409

 

A: The 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409. Did it in 4.0 seconds. Didn’t look fast, but out on Woodward Avenue in the 1960s they were a formidable drag racer.

Q: What’s the only car to appear simultaneously on the covers of Time and Newsweek?

'66 Mustang

 

A: The Mustang. Great idea at the right time at the right price.

Q: What was the lowest priced mass
produced American car?

1925 Ford Model T Runabout

 

A: The 1925 Ford Model T Runabout. Cost $260, $5 less than 1924. This is a car I can afford! I do remember buying a ’52 Mercury in 1962 for $50. Had rust up to the windows.

Q: What is the fastest internal-combustion American production car?

1998 Dodge Viper GETS-R

 

A: The 1998 Dodge Viper GETS-R, tested by Motor Trend magazine at 192.6 mph.

Q: What automaker’s first logo incorporated the Star of David?

Dodge Brothers emblem

 

A: The Dodge Brothers. Say what? Wow. Did not know this.

Q: Who wrote to Henry Ford and said, “I have drove fords exclusively when I could get away with one.  It has got every other car skinned, and even if my business hasn’t been strictly legal it don’t  hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V-8”?

Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and Clyde)

 

A: Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and Clyde) in 1934. If alive today, would he build hot rods from those cars?

Q: What car was the first production V12, as well as the first production car with aluminum pistons?

1915 Packard Twin-Six

 

A: The 1915 Packard Twin-Six. Used during WWI in Italy, these motors inspired Enzi Ferrari to adopt the V12 himself in 1948.

Q: What was the first car to use power operated seats?

1947 Packard

 

A: They were first used on the 1947 Packard line. Packards were really the classiest car for the longest time (before I was born).

Q: Which of the Chrysler “letter cars” sold the fewest amount?

1963, Chrysler 300 J

 

A: Only 400, 1963, 300J’s were sold (they skipped “I” because it looked like a number 1) My father had a’63 Chrysler Newport convertible with push button automatic transmission.

Q: What car company was originally known as Swallow Sidecars (aka SS)?

Jaguar SS, 1935

A: Jaguar, which was an SS model first in 1935, and ultimately the whole company by 1945. Never would’a guessed this.

Q: What car delivered the first production V12 engine?

1915 Packard's Twin-Six

 

A: The cylinder wars were kicked off in 1915 after Packard’s chief engineer, Col. Jesse Vincent, introduced its Twin-Six.

Q: When were seat belts first fitted to a motor vehicle?

1902 Baker Electric streamliner racer 1902 Baker Electric streamliner racer

 

A: In 1902 on a Baker Electric streamliner racer, which incidentally crashed at 100 mph. on Staten Island ! Staten Island?

Q: In January 1930, Cadillac debuted it’s V16 in a car named for a theatrical version of a 1920’s film seen by Harley Earl while designing the body.  What’s that name?

Madam 'X'

 

A: The “Madam X”, a custom coach designed by Earl and built by Fleetwood (Mac?). The sedan featured a retractable landau top above the rear seat.

Q: Which car company started out German, yet became French after WWI?

1909 Bugati

 

A: Bugati, founded in Molsheim in 1909, became French when Alsace returned to French rule. This was impossible for me.

Q: In what model year did Cadillac introduce the first electric sunroof?

1969 Cadillac

 

A: 1969 Cadillac. Should have known this.

Q: What U.S. production car had the largest 4 cylinder engine?

1907 Thomas

 

A: The 1907 Thomas sported a 571 cu. in. (9.2liter) engine. That’s a big 4 banger!

Q: What car was reportedly designed on the back of a Northwest Airlines airsickness bag and released on April Fool’s Day, 1970?

1970 Gremlin, (AMC)

 

A: 1970 Gremlin, (AMC) I should have known this.

Q: What is the Spirit of Ecstasy?

Rolls  Royce hood ornament

 

A: The official name of the mascot of Rolls Royce.  She is the lady on top of their radiators. Expensive lady.

Q: What was the inspiration for MG’s famed octagon-shaped badge?

MG emblem (Morris Garages)

 

A: The shape of founder Cecil Kimber’s dining table. MG stands for Morris Garages. Huh?

Q: In what year did the “Double-R” Rolls Royce badge change from red to black?

Rolls  Royce badge

A: Come on! This is…easy? 1933 of course.

Well, how did you do? I didn’t do too well. Hope you at least enjoyed it. See ya next week.