Friday, September 28, 2012

The Labor of Love Rolls On

          I've been showing some of the pictures of cars and trucks that showed up to the recent Labor of Love Classic Car Show sponsored by the Border Lords Classic Car Club and emphasizing a lot of the variety that was there. Sure, there were the usual suspects in abundance which I'll highlight later on. To close out the week I'm going to keep on rolling with more cars from The Labor of Love. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Variety is the Spice of a Car Show

           A car show such as the recent Labor of Love event gets to be successful year after year because of great word of mouth. It doesn't hurt that the folks behind it are doing it strictly for charity (as highlighted a while back on this blog:
          While many of the members of the Border Lords Car Club drive chopped hot rods, it doesn't mean that the majority of the folks showing up to this annual event bring only those. Yes, variety truly is the spice of any car show and the Labor of Love attracts a wonderful variety.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More Rides From the Labor of Love

          The recent Labor of Love show drew a very large variety of rides. That's what makes a good show. You can go wandering through the lot and see not only car show favorites such as the Bel Airs and Mustangs, the MoPars and the hot rods, but also a lot of other makes and models that you may not always get a chance to admire. For the next few posts I'm going to be showing some of the wide variety of rides that was on hand at the Labor of Love show. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Than Just a Stop Gap

              No car would ever want to be known as a stop gap model, filling the space until a highly anticipated new car was introduced. But such was the fate of the Jaguar 240 and 340 models of 1967.
            But while the names on these cars were only around for one year in anticipation of the XJ6, a very successful car indeed, they really weren’t simply one off models. In fact, the 240 and 340 were really the exact same thing as the car that was being replaced, the Mark 2.
            Between 1959 and 1966, Jaguar had a very popular saloon dubbed the Mark 2. Chanting a mantra of “grace, pace and space,” these cars nearly 84,000 of these cars were sold in three trims. The trims were identified by three engine offerings: a 2483 cubic centimeter inline six, a 3442 cc inline six and a 3781 cc inline six. The sizes were rounded to the 2.5L, the 3.4L and the 3.8L models.
            The engines used in these popular saloons were the famed Jaguar XK style of inline six cylinder power plant. In particular the 3.8 was very similar, if somewhat smaller and less powerful, to the engine that would debut in 1962 powering the legendary E-Type (or XKE). These dual overhead cam engines had hemispherical cross-flow cylinder heads with valves angled 45 degrees from vertical. This was one of the most efficient and long lasting engine designs.
            While Jaguar had always had a reputation, dating back to its earliest years, of turning out successful racers, much of their past was also rooted in luxury as is denoted by the Mark 2. The cars are spacious with fine touches and offer up a smooth and comfortable ride which, to anyone who follows Jaguar today can easily understand. But by 1967 Jaguar was more known for its roaring sports car, the E Type, than for a luxury vehicle.
            Throughout the 1960s though, there were still plenty of people who made the association between Jaguar and luxury through the Mark 2. So why, all of a sudden, change the name of a popular and successful car?
            Perhaps the reasoning lies in what was going on at the corporate level at the time. In 1966 Jaguar merged with the British Motor Corporation to form British Motor Holdings. The companies, including Austin-Healy, would all keep their own identities but, as BMC had been doing, would have the financial stability to move forward as well as the ability to share engineering with each other.
            The Jaguar marque would not be tainted by this merger. Since they had already announced the development of a replacement to the XJ6 that was slowed a bit by the merger, the decision was made to drop the 3.8L Mark 2 and to rename the others the 240 and the 340 as a marketing ploy. In fact, with limited production nearly 2000 were sold.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Stinging Automobile

            By 1952 the once venerable Hudson Motor Car Company was seeing the writing on the wall. The Big Three in Detroit were creeping deeper and deeper into every car market, stripping customers away from the likes of Hudson.
            Though Hudson had been having success with its Hornet, both with sales and on the race track, dominating NASCAE from 1951 through 1954, their smaller Pacemaker model was beginning to show its age and feel the squeeze from the competition. A combination of falling sales and the lack of funding to do a proper new car introduction led Hudson to face a dilemma. In order to compete in this size market they needed new blood but didn’t have the cash to start from scratch.
            The solution: the Wasp.
            Introduced in 1952, the Wasp was an upgrade of the Pacemaker and technically replaced the Super Custom models that were last seen in 1951. Available in both two door and four door sedan and convertibles, Hudson was hoping that The Wasp would be able to gain some footing off of The Hornet’s reputation.
            Rather than start from scratch, which for a company the size of Hudson would be very difficult, the engineers utilized existing Hudson parts such as the unitized, “mono-bilt” step down chassis. Hudson also used was their 232 cubic inch L-Head straight six engine which came right out of the Pacemaker. In a model called the Super Wasp they had a 262 cubic inch L-Head six that was fed by two carburetors and punched out 127 horses.
            Unfortunately for Hudson, sales of the Wasp, while decent, were not enough to fend off the impending doom. About the only way to compete with Chrysler, Ford and General Motors was to become bigger and the best way to do that was to merge. In 1954 Hudson and the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation joined forces to form American Motors Corporation.
            In order to cut costs but maintain identity, the new American Motors turned certain lines over to one manufacturer or the other while keeping both names separate. Starting with the 1955 models The Wasp became essentially a Nash Ambassador. Stripped of much of its heritage, The Wasp may have carried the Hudson logo but, as was proven time and again on the track, it no longer had that sting.
            The last year for the Wasp was 1956 and the last year a car bearing the Hudson marque rolled off the line was in 1957 as AMC executives turned their attention to more economical cars such as the Rambler.  AMC fought the good fight until 1987 when they were purchased by Chrysler from then owner Renault.
            Pictured here is a 1952 two door version of the Wasp. Light and powerful these cars were aptly named as they could definitely fly down the road.

Friday, September 21, 2012

More About Newport

          When I wrote about the Annual Rides on Monmouth Classic Car Show last year I, as is usually the case, spread it out over a number of posts. With many of them I told about the history of Newport and some of my personal experiences there. I offered up some of the seedy history of this one time sin city ( Then I told some of my experiences as a younger man experiencing the unique night life offered up there ( I also blogged about my experience producing an independent feature film in that fair community (
          I still go to Newport from time to time and, along with my son, have reviewed a few restaurants for our Burger Blog. In fact, the day of this year's Rides on Monmouth show we enjoyed a very tasty meal at one of the city's fine restaurants (
          But the reason for this blog is classic and collectible cars and so here are some more of the great heavy metal that was on display at this year's show. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

More From Rides on Monmouth

           A couple hundred cars lined the main thoroughfare of Newport, Monmouth Ave., recently for the annual Rides on Monmouth Classic Car Show. A lot of great machines were on display, taking advantage of the live music, all the restaurants up and down the street that were open and some beautiful weather.
          Here are some more of the cars that were on display for a host of eager people to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Rides on Monmouth

          The Annual Rides on Monmouth is always a highlight of car show season for me. The city of Newport, once known as the original sin city for its open casinos that inspired the development of Las Vegas, its corrupt politics and open dealings with organized crime that then became a hotbed for strip clubs and prostitution, is now a quaint little river town that is thriving with tourists and small shops and restaurants.
          In the heart of this city is the main street, Monmouth Ave.
          Each year the city shuts down it's main street for six blocks and lines it with some of the best classic and collectible cars in the region. There are going to be a lot more posts coming about the Rides on Monmouth show but here are just a few things to whet your appetite.