Mel Martin’s Auto Museum – Corvettes

Last week my wife had to sit for a certification exam for her profession.   It was conducted over multiple days and held in Phoenix, AZ.  That is about a 1.5 hours drive (unless I’m driving the Vette, just joking always, obey the speed limits kids!!) north of Tucson and it made sense to grab a hotel room and spend 3 days.  While she was enduring the slow torture that they cleverly called “taking the exam”, I was left with a very rare, continuous span of free time.

I don’t know about you, but when I end up with unappropriated time and I’m in a hotel room, I don’t spend it watching HBO. I’ll jump on the WiFi and find some car action.  This was a perfect time to find some local car shows or events.  Just so happens on the way to the hotel I saw a sign, a few exits before the one we exited to reach the hotel, that read “Auto Museum”.

I gave that a Google and found the exact address.  The museum was called Mel Martin’s Auto Museum – “Phoenix’s Largest Auto Museum” and it was only open from noon to five the next day and asked for a $5 donation. So I put that on my to do list and head there the next day.

The museum is on a one way frontage road.  The building looks to be an old self-storage place converted in to businesses.  The museum entrance looks unassuming and you wouldn’t think it large enough to house 60 cars and a ton of automobilia.

Here are some highlights:

 

What kind of car museum would you be without a Corvette or two?

 

This beautiful 427 is an eye catcher!

This beautiful 427 is an eye catcher!

Check out Corvette Row!!!

VetteRow-3 VetteRow-4
VetteRow-5

 Here is a Vette you don’t see anywhere!!!

ListerVette-1

The 1992 Lister Corvette

ListerVette-2

Great lines…barely resembles a C4.

ListerVette-3

Front end looks like a Jaguar’s

ListerVette-6

I think the 17″ wheels are great looking!!!

ListerVette-5

The hood has those breathing holes for a reason. The LT1 under the hood…yeah it’s Vortech Supercharged!!! 500HP and 454 LB-FT of torque!!! Only automatic produced.

ListerVette-7   ListerVette-10

It also included the 1978 25th Anniversary Indianapolis Pace car.

Only 15 miles on this well preserved beauty!  (No I don't know why I took the pic this way.)

Only 15 miles on this well-preserved beauty! (No, I don’t know why I took the pic this way.)

 

Thanks for reading.  More coming up on Mel Martin’s Auto Museum.

Tim

 

mel martin auto museum

1969 Shelby GT500 set for Auction off after 40 years in storage | Digital Trends

By Joe Mahan — March 24, 2014

 

From dust to dust, people and cars come and go, but sometimes the old is reborn … and out of the dust emerges something immaculate.

A 1969 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 428 Cobra Jet is a mouthful to say but it will drop any car enthusiasts jaw. This particular garage-find was owned and perfectly preserved by a now-deceased automotive connoisseur and set for auction — hot on the heels of the submersible Lotus Esprit used by James Bond in “Never Say Never Again” and a ’63 Ferrari GTO that became the most expensive car ever sold.

Larry never washed the car for fear of scratching the paint job or cause even the slightest bit of rust. Yahoo News estimates that the only time the car was ever washed was before delivery. Accordingly, the car is in absolute showroom condition, except for a layer of dust.

GT 500  Love the hood!!

GT 500 Love the hood!!

This snake features a larger, 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine mated to a four-speed manual transmission, which has run only 8,500 miles in total. The spark plugs, belts, fan, and hoses are all original. The only items that are not from 1968 are the tires.

Considering that this highly collectable GT500 has sat idle since 1973, it’s an extreme rarity. The Mustang was originally purchased for just $5,245 in 1969. Now, though, it should sell at auction for over $100,000.

The car will be auctioned off by Ron Gilligan Auctioneering on April 25.

It also looks like pack-rat owner also owned a 1971 Ford Ranchero with only 53,000 miles on it, and get this … a 1974 Ford Econoline Custom 100 van with only 554 original miles. Both vehicles are for sale along with a variety of other mint, perfectly maintained vehicles from the estate.

via 1969 Shelby GT500 set for auction off after 40 years in storage | Digital Trends.

 

Thank for reading.

Tim

Drag Pack-Equipped 1969 Mustang Shelby GT500 To Hit Mecum Kissimmee

This 1969 Shelby GT500 that will hit the auction block later this month is one of those rare Drag Pack-equipped Shelby Mustangs. Only 1,157 GT500 Sportsroofs were built, but 25 of those came with the Drag Pack and 4.30 gears. An of those, only seven
Beware the Super Snake: Ford reveals Shelby Signature package for 5th-gen …

The automotive world may have shifted its focus to the sixth-generation Ford Mustang, but the previous breed is still going strong. Shelby has just announced the Signature Edition GT500 Super Snake, a rip-roaring tribute to the Mustang’s fifth generation.

60,000 Classic American Cars, and Three Good Ones

So many times I have marveled at the seeming multitudes of vintage American cars in the country of Cuba. There’s never been a lot of press on these cars but now that some of the barriers are down, I’m hoping there is a lot to learn about the car culture that as grown our of necessity.  I’m not expecting to see a vintage Buick with the original V8 and perfect body and interior.  I am hoping to see is what has been done to these cars.  Some purists would might not be able stomach what has been accomplished but it is truly a unique sub-culture that has flourished on its own without all the trapping we have surrounding our beloved hobby.

 

The article below is from CarGurus blog via Throttel Response.

Cuban Car Culture

Cuban Car Culture

 

The cars of Cuba are somewhat legendary in the United States, because the vehicles that roamed the roads there in the 1950s are the same ones being driven today. Since we’re not allowed to go there, very few of us have seen them in person, yet we know they exist.

Does that mean American collectors should start salivating over the prospect of virtually untouched classics if Cuba and the U.S. become friends again?

Probably not. The 1959 Cuban revolution essentially put an end to imports of American cars, so Cubans have had to make do for the last 55 years with what they had, or buy Soviet-era imports. That means no new parts, no new cars and lots of Chevrolets and Buicks running with Soviet-made engines.

With over a half-century of neglect and little real maintenance, it’s a miracle that somewhere around 60,000 of these classics are still being driven. If the U.S. and Cuba do rekindle their old flame, it won’t be the Americans who benefit.

 

Read the rest at 60,000 Classic American Cars, and Three Good Ones.

 

I believe I have a few readers that may have first hand knowledge of the Cuban car culture.  I’m always looking for more information.  Have any images?  Contact me via this blog and we’ll make a deal.

 

Thanks for reading.

Tim

 

Could Classic Cuban Cars Be En Route to the United States?

For years, importing cars between the United States and Cuba has been illegal, forcing Cuban mechanists to be resourceful in fixing up old cars. With the recent easing of trade embargoes between the two countries, Cuba’s vintage cars could now be a …
Cuba’s scrappy vintage cars may be better for scrap heap than collectors

“I can see the first couple of cars that are shiny and have some sort of interesting drive-train – Russian tractor diesel, for instance – bringing $50,000 or so at a Barrett-Jackson auction, if they are the first Cuban cars to sell publicly in the US
Classic Cuban Cars Coming to US? Think Again

Classic Cuban Cars Coming to US? Think Again. By: Chris Cybulski; 12/19/2014 10:09 AM; ShareThis Facebook Tweet Email; Text size: + -. TWC News: Lower Restrictions to Bring Changes to Cuba Play now. Time Warner Cable video customers:

On the Hunt for the Next Project Car: A Car Guy’s Shopping Trip.

I don’t know about every car gal and guy, but I don’t enjoy shopping as a rule, clothes, gifts and food shopping is a chore!!   To be honest shopping for new or used cars is not a great time for me.    At times, even car parts shopping can be annoying.  I’m much happier when I get what I need and get back to wrenchin’.

But today was different.  Today’s shopping experience was…well…the perfect setting for my kind of shopping.

 

There is nothing like a 50 degree day here in Southern Arizona and a junkyard where the newest cars there is 1970.   The weather was perfect for climbing over cars, that would normally be like walking on a 150 degree griddle in the summer time, wading through a sea of 1930, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s hub cabs and trailblazing through the tall weeds in search of my next project car.

 

Yes the 1970 Mustang is gone – living a life of leisure in a collection in the mid west and the 1984 C4 is in the hands of a Corvette lover – south of the border.  And after clearing the purchase of a new project car with the she who has to put up with the mess and I am on the hunt.

 

Today I met up with my brother-in-law and my nephew and we did execute a perfect car guy’s shopping excursion. 

 

This was a good sign!!!!

This was a good sign!!!!

 

The salvage yard has been in place for 60 years or more, I’ve known the owner for nearly 30 years and recently the place was damaged by some huge flooding issues.  The owner isn’t in great health is clearing out some of the desirable cars.  

The car gods were shine some light for this shopping trip.

The car gods were shining some light for this shopping trip.

 

He was mainly a Ford car, restoring and collecting Model T’s (including a Model T doing duty as a tow truck) so there are a lot of Fords – Comets, Fairlanes, Falcons, Ford Customs, Thunderbirds and on and on.  There are a few MOPARs there as well, including a 1971 Charger and a Satellite with a 400 under the hood.  There’s a few Chevys as well and Covairs, Impalas and 50’s Caddies and some very cool military Kaiser Jeeps.

We covered a lot of ground and I’m look for a complete car – mostly.  Here in Arizona the heat is not kind to the interiors, so they is little doubt that an interior will be a necessity.  I need to it to have the basics – good frame – engine, front and rear ends in-tack and depending on the car good glass.

So what caught my eye (beside everything I mentioned above)?

 

1961 Comet – Nice little 2 door car with 6 cylinder under the good (oh yes there’s room in there for something bigger for sure!!!).

Nice straight body - got to love those tail lights!!!

Nice straight body – got to love those tail lights!!!

Interior is mostly there!

Interior is mostly there!

 

There was also this Mercury Cougar, clearly used for a race car based on the stickers on the side and the tires.

 

Cougar!!!!

Cougar!!!!

 

 

I also found a car I’ve been interested in getting my hands on for a few years and that’s a 1970 Thunderbird.

IMG_20141227_122021836

 

Here are a few more shots from the yard.

IMG_20141227_121057057 IMG_20141227_121100050 IMG_20141227_115941810 IMG_20141227_115759737 IMG_20141227_115731781_HDR

 

While I’m waiting for the owner to give an idea what he wants for the cars I’m interested in, the hunt continues!!!   This was a great day!!!!

 

Thanks for reading.  

 

Tim

Project Cars

Racing game enthusiasts may have been dismayed when Bandai Namco delayed Project Cars from its holiday release. To ease fans’ wait, the publisher has released a set of screens showing off the racer’s new tracks. Project Cars‘ new tracks are the Mazda …
This eBay Isetta is the best project car ad you’ll ever see

We’ve all seen optimistic “project cars” listed for sale online–worthless run-down husks whose owners still believe there’s value hidden somewhere between the rust and the missing parts. That’s why you need to read this eBay listing for a BMW Isetta

Auto Factoid for Week of Nov. 30, 2014

Hope you all had a great Turkey Day!!

Here is the line up of Auto Factoids for the first week in December!!!

 

Nov 30 1960  De Soto ceases production.  The last De Soto produced were really the Chrysler Windsor, most did not sale, even though dealerships continued to received cars after the brand was terminated.

1961 Windsor

1961 Windsor

1961 DeSoto

1961 DeSoto

 

Way before that on Nov 30, 1900 Germany patented an automobile front wheel drive.  Although this is a common historic fact, there is some evidence that the first production car with front wheel drive was a French car.  There exists a French Patent around 1898 or 1899.  The manufacturer was Société Parisienne and the car was the Victoria Combination.

It was a lightweight two-seater trailer,known as a ‘Victoria’, combined with the back axle and mechanical components of a motor tricycle, but this axle was placed in front of the trailer and steered by a long tiller on which the controls were located. The first examples were powered by 1.75 or 2.5 horsepower De Dion Bouton engines geared directly to the differential, but larger engines of this make were fitted as they became available.

1900 Victoria Combination

1900 Victoria Combination

 

December 1, 1925 GM purchased Vauxhall.  Vauxhall started out as engine manufacturer mainly for pumps and marine use (1857 – Alex Wilson).  They began making cars in 1903.  Here is a video of a 1903 Vauxhall.  They are still producing cars using the Opel name under GM.

One more of it on a road test.

Back 1913 (just over 100 years ago) on Dec 1, Ford fired up the first continuous assembly line.

Ford's Production Line

Ford’s Production Line

And just one day and 14 years later (Dec 2, 1927) Ford began selling Models A off this assembly line.

1927 Model A

1927 Model A

 

Dec 3, 1951 is Rick Mears birthday – one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 3 times.

Rick Mears in his Formula 1 car

Rick Mears in his Formula 1 car

 

That round out the week.  Thanks for reading Auto Factoids.

Tim

 

If you’d like to sponsor a week of Auto Factoids contact me directly.

#AutoFactoids

Shout Out to All Overseas Readers

I never want to take readers for granted.  They are the life’s blood for a blogger and I appreciate all of them.

Here in the U.S. we sometimes think – just by volume of publications that we are the “hub” of the automotive  hobby, but there is so much more in all the countries listed below. Innovation from the land down-under to some cool retro stuff in Japan and some very awesome car shows in Switzerland and all those British cars!!!!

Thanks to all readers in each of the countries below!!!!!  You folks ROCK!!!!!  Keep up the great work.

UK
Canada                          Australia
France                           Mexico
Germany                      Brazil
Italy                              Portugal
Turkey                          Russian Federation
Spain                            Puerto Rico
Switzerland                 Belgium
Japan                           Ireland
Philippines                Malaysia

 

Tim

australian cars

classic japanese cars[ ATTRIBUTE: Please check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76492175@N08/10151221815 to find out how to attribute this image ]

mustang1

National Corvette Museum: Museum Owned GS90 Unveiled at 20th Anniversary Event

So what’s a GS90?   Here a share from  National Corvette Museum blog

BTW it you are a Corvette owner or enthusiasts and you are not a member of the Museum – you should be and here is the perfect reason why.  Read on!!!

History of the GS-90

In 1994, Corvette racing driver and tuner, Dick Guldstrand introduced his first and only coachbuilt Corvette: the GS90. The car is based on the Corvette ZR-1 chassis and engine designed by Steve Winter. When the C4 ZR-1 was released, Guldstrand saw an opportunity to bring back the Grand Sport he used to race with, pitching the concept of his radically restyled ZR-1 to Chevrolet. He requested several ZR-1s and a few million dollars. Instead he received one car and a blessing.

The GS90 was Guldstrand’s ultimate 475hp version of the ZR-1, incorporating influences from the Grand Sports of the early 60s inside a distinctive body style that is a throwback to the original 1963 Corvette Grand Sport race cars. Guldstrand left the ZR-1 cabin alone, concentrating instead on the chassis and engine development, and bespoke coachbuilt distinctive body.

Read entire article here National Corvette Museum: Museum Owned GS90 Unveiled at 20th Anniversary Event and see how a Lifetime Member supported the restoration of this rare car!!!

GS90

Thanks for reading.

Tim

corvette gs 90

Car Collecting Scaled Down – Promo Cars

A while back I wrote about collecting die-cast cars (See  – When You Just have to have that Classic/Muscle Car?…Think Small!!!!).   My collection continues to grow and I’ve added a new dimension.

A few years back I pick up a 1984 Corvette…my first Corvette ever and it was my daily driver.  I did a lot of work on it and it brought home two trophies best in class.

IMG_4409

While looking for display items for a car show set up (brochures and the like) I ran across what the dealer ships called “Promo Cars”  These were basically scale model (1/24 or smaller scale) cars given out to promote the car that year.  They were plastic and normally no movable parts (doors, hoods, trunks didn’t open), most had rubber tires that turned and a detailed interior.  So I picked up a couple for my ’84 Vette along with the boxes, in fact two of them were ‘red’ that matched my car color.  Eventually I sold the C4 and purchased the my C6.

 

1984 C4

1984 C4

2007 C6

2007 C6

Just recently I ran a cross a batch of promo cars and realized that there were a lot of car manufacturers that produced these back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  I thought they’d make a good addition to my current collection.

They all varied in quality and detail especially when a 1960 model is compared to a 1980’s model.  I recently ran across a promo car for the 1961 Thunderbird and I purchased it for $10.00.

1961 Thunder Bird

1961 Thunder Bird

Some Nice Detail

Some Nice Detail

Door don't open but detailed interior

Door don’t open but detailed interior

Rubber tires with White Walls

Rubber tires with White Walls

Nice detail there

Nice detail there

Not great quality looking at the front scoop

Not great quality looking at the front scoop

The really interesting view is of the bottom of the model.

Pretty Good Detail of the undercarriage.

Pretty Good Detail of the undercarriage.

What’s up with all the text?   They promote the options for this model year!!!!   Very cool!   Let’s take a closer look.

On Tank it states "Thunderbird...unique in all the world"

On Tank it states “Thunderbird…unique in all the world” Hey…”Triple Life Aluminized”  Mufflers

Unmistakeably New - Not a Hair Wider Unmistakeably Thunder Bird - not 1/10 longer

unmistakably New – Not a Hair Wider
unmistakably Thunder Bird – not 1/10 longer

Notice that is has “Special Three-Phase Rust Prevention Treatment”.  Sports a “Cruise-o-Matic Drive, Power Steering and Self Adjusting Brakes – All Standard Equipment”

 

 

61-TBird4

“Welded, Integral Body and Frame for Quietness and Strength”    “New Wing-Away Steering Wheel (Optional)”  (BTW that actually function on the promo model – you can push the steering wheel to the side.

"Wider Tread" on the axle

“Wider Tread” on the axle

Gas tanks reads “New 12,000 or 1 Year Warranty

"New Thunderbird 390 Special V8"

“New Thunderbird 390 Special V8″

Oil pan says “4000 Miles Oil Service Changes”

The seats are two-tone and the steering wheel swings to the side.

You can notice that the tires are rubber, the wheels are plastic and they are on metal rods.

Do you have a scale car collection?  Let us know.

Thanks for reading.

Tim

dealer promo car modelsdealer promo car modelsdealer promo car models

Selecting A Collector Car Based on Original Reliability Impressions

Well that title was longer type out than it was in my head.

A recent discussion over on my Twitter feed (@07C6Vette) had us discussing the collect-ability the Edsel. Part of the conversation dealt with one participates’ opinion/conclusion that Edsels were unreliable back in the day, therefore not desirable for collecting.

I would imagine that for some, that rationale seems prudent and I bet they believe they’ve saved themselves money and status by opting for a Ford or Mercury (in this instance) of the same era instead. I say they are missing out on some fantastic cars if they determine their selection based on original reliability.

Check out these dashboards!! Sure both are great (you know I love the painted dashboards) but the Edsel’s is just cooler!!!

 

1959 Edsel Dash

1959 Edsel Dash

1959 Ford Ranch Wagon Dash

1959 Ford Ranch Wagon Dash

Clearly there are differences that may or may not be substantial to a collector. For me it’s not about just having ‘a similar’ car, it’s about the car.

Another example is the rep the British cars managed to obtain. For instance the MG during the 1970’s and 1980’s were tagged as being electrical nightmares and unreliable. Having direct exposure to a 1960ish and a 1970’s MG I would agree that electrically they were unreliable. Now days a quick trip online to a forum and you know someone has it all figured out and often times even a beginner can remedy the situation.

Trumph’s Stag sported a 3.0 V8 and that was its down fall.  It was horribly unreliable.  Everything from the water pump to cylinder issues right down to the Aluminum heads not matching up well with the iron block. But this are all fixable this day in age, but the all lead to the Stag making the top 50 worse cars ever.  But it is a very collectible British car, just ask these guys Stag Owners Club.

Carb problems, cylinder problems, fuel problems for most collectable and semi-collectable cars can all be overcome by modern technology and in many cases, done in such a way as to not impact the value of the car.

I think it’s important to keep a car as original as possible, but I’m not putting them Pebble Beach Contour’s competition, so using modern tweaks to ensure it can get you from point A to point B – safely is important.

So do your research before you purchase your next collector/project and don’t just consider the reliability opinions surrounding the model you are considering.

 

Thanks for reading.

Tim

 

_JKP2736-1970-mustang-web

Man’s prized ’79 Corvette found 33 years after it went missing in Detroit | The Detroit News

Detroit — A man’s prized Corvette that was stolen three decades ago in Detroit has been found in Mississippi.

George Talley says he was watching TV last week when AAA called to say his 1979 Corvette had been found.

Talley tells WXYZ-TV he was told the car still runs, has 47,000 miles on it and is sitting at a police station in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The last time Talley saw the car was in 1981, before thieves took it from a parking spot along a Detroit street.

via Man’s prized ’79 Corvette found 33 years after it went missing in Detroit | The Detroit News.

 

It’s a little rough looking but it’s so cool that it had a happy ending…..33 years later!!!!  Low mileage is a plus!!!

 

Thanks for reading.

Tim

 

1979 corvette

beritaauto

Reuss offers to help reunite Detroit man with ’79 Vette: A Detroit man and his beloved 1979 Corvette wil… http://t.co/RTqo7fEOfg #otos