Glenn Miller - At Last!

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2/25/09

Crane Cams Shuts thier doors!



February 24, 2009

Crane Cams shuts down, workers laid off

By JIM WITTERS
Senior Business Writer

DAYTONA BEACH — Crane Cams, a 56-year-old auto parts manufacturer, closed its doors this week and laid off its employees, a worker said today.

The news took Volusia County’s top economic development officer by surprise. City, county and state officials were working with Crane Cams and officials from its New Jersey parent, Mikronite Technologies, to keep the company open and in the community.

“We were trying to help them through this transition,” said Rick Michael, Volusia County economic development director. “They were considering a transfer of ownership. We were not expecting any closure.”

An automated voice mail system at Crane’s plant on Fentress Boulevard announced at midday today the company was closed and suggested calling back during business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A call to Mikronite’s New Jersey offices produced similar results. Six cars sat in the parking lot early this afternoon at the local plant, which employed 220 just three years ago.

Inside the lobby, a reception desk sat empty. A call from the lobby phone got an answer from Dennis Burgess, who declined to comment and said no one at the plant could provide information.

In the parking lot, 14-year employee Ronald Dorn was leaving the plant for what he believed was the last time

He said workers were told during the past week that layoffs were likely, but he didn’t expect the plant to close.

Mikronite received approval in 2006 to receive tax rebates from the state and the county amid discussion about moving its New Jersey operations here. But the company ended its contract with the state in 2008 due to nonperformance, Michael said.

“Crane has gone through a series of small layoffs recently,” he said.

Crane Cams and Crane Technologies Group were founded by Harvey J. Crane Jr. in 1953 as Crane Engineering Inc. in Hallandale. The company is well known in high-performance and racing circles for its line of camshafts and engine valve train components.

In 1979, Crane Cams became an employee-owned company. Some operations moved to Daytona Beach in 1981, with the remainder of the operation and employees relocating here in 1985.

Mikronite, an industrial technology firm, bought Crane in 2006.

In March 2007, Mikronite sold its property on Fentress to STAG Capital Partners of Boston, then signed a 10-year lease.

2/24/09

Cadillac Broadmoor Skyview

I am a huge fan of early 50's Cadillac's. They have some of the most sexy lines. These cars were owned by many prestigious people like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. Folks who drove these cars were either bankers, politicians or people of "high" employment seats within the public.

These are big cars and very spacious. They were built during a time when cars were built with beauty, flash, and character. When you looked upon any car from the 40's and 50's, each one was distinctive in their designs. Much different than the cars of today.

I ran into some very interesting pictures of some early Cadillac wagon's. I never knew they were ever conceived. Was I wrong. See below at this beautiful example of a wonderful design. I sure wish I had one right about now. :)



The Hess & Eisenhardt, Cincinnati, Ohio, Built Custom View Master Station Wagons in 1955 and 1956. William 'Bill' Hess, who designed this wagon in conjunction with the Cadillac Motor Car Division of GM, was a graduate of General Motors Institute of Technology; in the fifties, he was considered one of the most advanced stylists in the industry. These luxury station wagons were built on the Series 62 chassis (129-inch wheelbase) using Series 86 Commercial cowl and floor pan. Doors were by Fleetwood. The tail-gate glass was that of the Chevrolet Nomad wagon. Seven were manufactured, each one being different in color and finish from the next; they stood two inches taller than the regular Series 62 Cadillac and each weighed around 5000 pounds. All had chrome window pillars all round and most had imitation wood side-paneling in Fiberglass (except this prototype with its plain metal sides), as well as three rows of seats providing room for eight passengers.


2/23/09

'Homemade' Speed'

I was out and about visiting some friends and picking up parts for my current project when I was shown this cool vintage home made flathead intake. Its made completely out of steel, dual stromberg buick 2 barrel carbs, and custom linkage. The missing center section is a bolt on flange that has provions for the "missing" exhaust ports for better breathing.

2/22/09

The Patrick Coupe - Custom Rear Panel



The rear pan section of the car is completed, its a custom roll pan with extended body lines. It gives the car a mid 50's custom flair. Im very pleased with the outlook of this part of the car, it will definitely be a head turner and a conversation piece when it hits the show circuit.

LOOK OUT!


2/16/09

The 1955 Chevrolet



It only happens once in an engineer’s life time, when a company like Chevrolet hands you a blank sheet of paper and says: “Design us a car from scratch”. That’s the chance Edward Nicholas Cole was given with the 1955 Chevrolet in May of 1952. “We got a big kick out of designing this new Chevrolet, and you will get an even bigger one out of driving it”. Said Ed Cole, Chevrolet Chief Engineer, of the hot new Chevrolet. Chevrolet shed its old image in 1955, replacing it with all new “Motoramic” styling.

Cole started the design with a new frame, new bodies, 3 new engines, new front suspension, new rear springs and new brakes. “Don’t argue with this baby!” warned one Chevrolet ad in 1955. “Blue ribbon beauty that’s stealing the thunder from the high priced cars!” said another.

When Chevrolet introduced the 1955 Chevy in late 1954 it changed their history. What made the new Chevy so popular, then and now? It’s new 265 cubic inch V-8 was probably the most important feature in the motoring public’s eye. The 1955 Chevrolet also represented a completely new vehicle in styling and engineering. With its new styling and the option of a potent new “Turbo-Fire” V-8 it was the most changed Chevy and the most exciting car to ever wear the bowtie badge since WWII.


1955 Chevrolet Belair Sport Coupe

The development of a brand new wider tubular frame chassis and drive train was quite a departure for Chevrolet. With a 115 inch wheelbase the 1955 Chevrolet was 18 % lighter and 50% stiffer than the previous Chevy chassis. Engineers changed the rear end and heavy torque tube drive to an open drive shaft. Modern ball joint front suspension called “Glide Ride” was described as a “spherical joint design”.

A-arms acting on coil springs wound around hydraulic shock absorbers offered a smooth ride. Leaf springs were 9 inches longer, 2 inches wide and mounted outboard of the main frame. With the wider chassis 6.70 X 15 inch four-ply tubeless tires were used. Other mechanical highlights included switching from a six to 12 volt electrical system, new steering box with a 20:1 ratio, 11 inch diameter jumbo brake drums and under the dash swinging pedals.

Because Chevrolet was General Motors biggest seller, styling for the all new 1955 was carefully considered. Serious design work on the body style got under way in June of 1952, at the GM Styling Building. The 1955 body design was the results of Chevy studio head Clare Mackichan, staff designer Carl H. Renner and body engineer Charles A. Stebbins. Following GM’s styling chief Harley Earl instructions they produced a eye-catching package in the 1955 Chevrolet. A bit less radical than initially envisioned by Earl but uncommonly clean for the period. It was boxy, yet altogether sleeker and fresher than the unexciting 1953 and 1954 models. Longer lower and wider was General Motors new buzz words, so overall height was slashed by 6 inches on station wagons and up to 3 inches on other models. However, the 1955 Chevrolet was about one inch shorter and narrower. It just looked longer and wider because of the way the rear fenders were made and the fact that the hood was almost level with the front fenders. Hooded headlamps were also blended into the new flat top front fenders. Stebbins design the functional tail lamps which extend out slightly from the rear fenders. From the Ferrari like egg crate rectangular grille and eagle hood ornament to the stylish wrap around windshield, the 1955 Chevrolet was undeniably a Harley Earl design.


1955 Chevrolet Belair Convertible

Introduced under the “Motoramic” label Chevrolet’s 1955 lineup comprised of three basic models, the Bel air, Two-Ten and One-Fifty. The Belair Sport Coupe two door hardtop was by far the most popular. Bel-Airs were also manufactured as 2-door sedans, 4-door sedans, station wagons, Nomad station wagons and today’s highly sought after Convertible.

Two-Ten models selections were the 2-door sedans, 4-door sedans, 2-door Townsman station wagons, 4-door station wagons, the very rare Two-Ten Sport Coupe 2-door hard top and Delray Club Coupe 2-door sedan. One-Fifty models were limited to 2-door sedans, 4-door sedans, 2-door station wagons and 2-door utility sedans. 14 different solid colors were available for the 1955 Chevrolet.

Two-toning was very popular in the mid 1950s and Chevy had some of the best. They looked best on Bel-Airs and Two-Tens. Roof, rear deck and upper fenders were painted one shade and the body side color was painted another with chrome strip moldings separating the two toning. The One Tens did not have much side trim and their contrasting colors were limited to the roof. 23 different Two-tone color combinations were available for the 1955 Chevrolet.

Interior variation were just as extensive, they were plusher and more expensive, especially the Bel-Air Nomad. Instruments were symmetrically arranged directly ahead of the steering wheel in a simple fan shaped cluster that was matched on the right side by the radio speaker housing. An optional radio was mounted between the two fan shaped clusters. Heater and outside air controls were mounted on the dash within easy reach of the driver.

The mid of the line Two-Ten series was Chevy’s best seller in 1955 with 805,309 units built. The Bel-Air wasn’t far behind with 773,238 units produced. A grand total of 1,704,667 cars were produced in the 1955 production year. The 1955 Chevrolet was a spectacular achievement for General Motors. Seldom had a mass produced vehicle been so completely transformed in one year. The Chevrolet name once dull but durable had a bright new youthful look and sizzling performance despite stronger than ever competition. It was certainly a great year for Chevy buyers, who could now personalize their cars with over 50 accessories.

On November 23, 1954 the 50 millionth automobile produced by General Motors in the United States rolled off a Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI. The car taking the honors was a 1955 Chevy Bel Air gold Sport Coupe 2-door hard top. The one question that was often asked at the end of the 1955 production year - What would Chevy do for an encore? The answer was the 1956 and 1957 Chevrolet.

Check out this cool advertisement about the 'Motoramic' 1955 Chevrolet.

2/11/09

Gasser Madness


Morris B-G Coupe


I was surfing the web looking at photos of old vintage gassers from the 50's and 60's to see what I could be missing for my 55 Chevy Gasser project. During my searches, I ran into a great website (www.gassermadness.com) focused specifically on vintage gassers, the builds and the rules they used. They have a great section on readers rides and a vintage section of cars built that were lost and those found.

What is ironic, as we build our cars to 'mimic' the old days, its amazing how hard we try to copy what they did. What I have found, if you stick using the parts of the times, there is no ingenuity that can deter you from what they have already done. Think about it, if you use the rules of the time as a base, how can you go wrong!

The rules of the 1950's were very basic. What was interesting to me was the advancement of the rules [over time] to keep up with the racers as they became more creative/innovative to gain the upper edge on thier competators. This included moving motors back slightly and adding staight axles (which came in the 60's) to lift the front ends to move the center of gravity more to the rear wheels. I'm not suprised.

The cars [in the Fifties] on the track were pretty basic compared to todays builds. Its true the cars in the Fifties were simple. Since the creation of the new 'sport' was taking off, they had to find a way to keep the competators on a level playing field. Let's take a look at those rules:

The Fifties

First, let’s talk about gassers in the fifties. Now, to be honest, these cars were a bit before my time. I was around throughout the fifties, but didn’t “discover” dragracing until the early sixties, so what I do know about fifties gassers is pretty much culled from a 1958 NHRA rulebook (courtesy of Steve Gibbs), a conversation or two with Don Montgomery (author of “Supercharged Gas Coupes & Sedans”), conversations with other racers of the era, and photos and articles of the time.

Having said that, let’s see what we can uncover about the early gassers. In what is generally accepted as the first legal drag race ever, in 1949 at Goleta, CA, Tom Cobb’s blown flathead Model A roadster lost to Fran Hernandez’ nitro flathead fenderless 32 coupe. Well, no gassers there…but at least the coupe won! About a year later, on Sunday June 19, 1950, C.J. “Pappy” Hart opened the first legal dragstrip in the nation on an unused runway at Santa Ana, CA.

At first, there were no “classes”. It was “run what ya brung” in the purest sense. Interestingly enough, by the way, more often than not, it was a motorcycle winning the top eliminator. By 1953, some general classes were introduced. They were pretty loose and included classes like “Pre-War Roadster” and “Post-War Heavy Sedan” among others. As time progressed, the classes became more formalized. That was also the year that the NHRA held it’s first drag race at Pomona. Two years later, in 1955, they held their first national event in Grand Bend, Kansas.

To be truthful, I don’t really have any information about class structures until 1958, so I’m going to have to start there with any kind of specifics.

In 1958, a gas class racer was basically a hot street coupe. No engine setback was allowed, all gassers had to have working lights, wipers, starter, generator and all other street equipment. Fans and belts were optional, but radiators were required. The car even had to be currently licensed for the street. Full exhaust systems, including mufflers, were required but could be unhooked for competition, although they had to remain on the car. Those of you old enough will remember “cutouts” that were used back then up into the early 60’s.

What all this provided for was a class for guys to run a “hopped-up” street machine. The cars were required to have full “factory-type” upholstery although two buckets could replace the standard bench seat as long as both were fully upholstered. Customs were allowed as long as the car wasn’t chopped, channeled or sectioned a total of more than four inches. “Four stock fenders” and a rear bumper were also required.

Full transmissions were also required. “Quick-change rear-ends, locked differentials or ratchet-type rear-ends (high torque) are permissible with safety hubs.” Four-wheel brakes were required as well.

There were only five gas classes, classified according to total car weight divided by total engine displacement cubic inches. Designations were A/G, B/G, C/G, D/G or E/G preceded by car number. Use of a supercharger moved you up one class. The breakdowns were as follows:

CLASSES
Class A 0 to 8.99 pounds per cubic inch
Class B 9.00 to 10.99 pounds per cubic inch
Class C 11.00 to 12.99 pounds per cubic inch
Class D 13.00 to 13.99 pounds per cubic inch
Class E 14.00 or more pounds per cubic inch

As you can see, this class was designed for what was basically a modified stocker…much like the later Modified Production classes.

By 1960, the rules had changed significantly. By then, engine setback of up to 10% was permitted although most of the street equipment rules were still in force. Since I don’t have access to a 1959 rulebook, I can only surmise that the setback rule took effect first in either 1959 or 1960.

Just by way of providing information for those who aren’t quite sure what “engine setback” means, a 10% setback would allow the engine to be moved back enough so that the forward most sparkplug in the engine could be no further than 10% of the wheelbase behind the front axle centerline.

The reason that the setback rule was introduced is reasonably simple. There was nothing in the rules that required the original engine in the car to be used. When someone performed an engine swap in a Model A, for instance, chances were that they would have to cut the firewall anyway. The question then becomes “what is the “stock location” for a flathead V-8 in a Model A?”. Introducing an engine setback limitation merely provided a level playing field for all competitors.

Gasser Madness

2/10/09

Project 55 Gasser


Before


Today



Small block chevy motor for 55 Chevy gasser project.

4x2 Ford 94 carburators, fenderwell headers, 275\470 duration camshaft. Camel hump heads for a little higher compression.

Vintage Metal

2/7/09

The "Patrick" Coupe



The Vintage Metal team has taken the "Patrick" Coupe to another level. If you look at the previous pictures of the car, it really sat high in the rear giving it a 'stink bug' effect. It was very 'abnormal' looking and needed some change to bring it down.

The Vintage Metal team has stepped the rear of the frame 3.25". With the 4.50 front tires and 7.50 rears, we have achieved the possible; a MEAN looking traditional ride.

Stay Tuned.

2/6/09

Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan!

A Little off topic but to one of my favorite Presidents that ever lived; thank you for you guidance and Happy Birthday to you President Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). Born in Illinois, Reagan moved to Los Angeles, California in the 1930s, where he was an actor, president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and a spokesman for General Electric (GE). His start in politics occurred during his work for GE. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, he switched to the Republican Party in 1962, at the age of 51. After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 as well as 1976, but won both the nomination and election in 1980.

As president, Reagan implemented bold new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics," included deregulation and substantial tax cuts implemented in 1981. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against organized labor, and ordered military actions in Grenada. He was reelected in a landslide in 1984. His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, namely the ending of the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. The president had previously ordered a massive military buildup in an arms race with the Soviet Union, forgoing the strategy of d├ętente. He publicly described the USSR as an "evil empire" and supported anti-Communist movements worldwide. He negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, resulting in the INF Treaty and the decrease of both countries' nuclear arsenals.

Reagan left office in 1989. In 1994, the former president disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier in the year; he died ten years later at the age of ninety-three. He ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating.

2/4/09

The 'Patrick' Coupe

The passenger quarter panel repaired nicely. Slowly but surely this car is being made whole again.

2/3/09

The "Patrick" Coupe



Vintage Metal is on Week 2 of this build. As the Chassis is mocked together, some changes will happen like lower the rear of the car 3-4 inches. A small step will be incorporated into the frame to bring the trunk/rear of body down to a respectable level and the rear tires in perspective of the rear well curvature.



The doors bottoms and interior structure have been repaired. New lower patch panels have been cut, metal worked and installed. With a little more hammer and dolly work, a minimal skim coat will be needed to straighten them out. You cant get any better than this. :)



The front rear quarters are next on the list.

Vintage Metal takes pride in all work being done. Replacement of all necessary areas with new metal is a must.

Stay tuned for more future updates.