Cars & Coffee cruise-in at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering

Every town has them. They gather like birds in the park on a statue. Cruise-ins. Cruise-ins for classic cars and hot rods. Going to your local ‘cruise-in’ to either park your Dream Machine or gawk at them, is a great pastime. You get to see some very cool classic cars and hot rods, as well as meet some interesting people that have similar interests. Just don’t be shy.

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Most cruise-ins I go to usually are on certain nights of the week or maybe a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at a drive-in, diner, dive, restaurant, sports bar, or even a large parking lot. Not this one. It happens every Saturday morning from 8am to 10am at the ‘North Engine build facility’ of Lingenfelter Performance Engineering at 47451 Avante, at Beck Rd. in Wixom, Michigan.

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This was the kickoff event for the summer, except spring hasn’t sprang out of there yet and it was a cold and rainy morning. Despite that, a good crowd showed up with lots of hot iron. I say ‘hot’ because on closer examination under the hood, a lot of these muscle machines were sporting a Lingenfelter Supercharger. Hmmm.

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My daughter, Courtney and I went inside for some coffee. Inside, there were a couple of gorgeous cars displayed that had…Lingenfelter Superchargers. Hmmm. I was anxious to see the main engine building room, but my friend Ken Lingenfelter, the host of the cruise-in, said it was closed today because, “there’s some super secret ‘future’ stuff going on back there now.” Hmmmm.

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My immediate thought went to a ‘Flux Capacitor.’ Then again, that’s from the movie, ‘Back to the Future.’ ‘Dilithiam Crystals?’ No, that’s ‘Star Trek.’ Apparently, they are doing some hanky-panky with superchargers to do what? Increase the warp speed, of course.

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Ken said he goes to a lot of drag strips to test his motors and to show spectators what they can do with cars that come right out of the new car showroom. I asked him if he’ll be at the ‘Blue Suede Cruise at Summit Motorsports Park Dragway in Norwalk, Ohio in July. “Oh, yeah.” I don’t know how he keeps up his schedule of going to racetracks and cruises. Norwalk is by Sandusky, Ohio, home of Cedar Point, where they have the ride, ‘Top Thrill Dragster,’ Courtney’s favorite ride. I want to go too!

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We finally found the black gold: great tasting coffee and a ton of donuts of all shapes and sizes from Tim Hortons. That took the edge off the cold 50 degrees and a light drizzle back outside. More cars and people showed up and the two hours went quickly. If you’re looking to put more muscle into your Dream Machine, be it new or not-so-new, a supercharger will give you more…speed. For your Dream Machine, give Ken a call at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, http://www.lingenfelter.com. Or, on Saturday mornings, stop by and gawk and drool all you want.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.