Preserving the Automobile

Preserving The Automible

Oct 5, 2015 – Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

Rarely does an auction have a better title. For those of us tired of the endless line of trailer queens and nose-bleed-priced gods of autolympus there are auctions like this. Not to imply that the cars at this auction are any less important or worthy of attention.

Here you will find not just complete restored pieces of envy. You will also find the bits and pieces needed to make that envy happen. Tires, wheel, fenders; the kind of stuff you usually have to dig through moldy boxes to find. And among those parts are some glorious finds.

Also available are several cars that I’m assuming the museum never got around to restoring. Usually that means basketcase, but there are some runners up for sale.

Below is a glimpse at my three favorite lots:

old engineLot No. 126
1925 Balboa 8-cylinder, supercharged 100hp engine

According to the Encyclopedia of American Automobiles the Balboa was built for one year in Fullerton California. It is described as being sleek and powerful.

The auction estimate is $3,000 – $5,000. If you happened to have a Balboa in need of an engine, or were looking to build a period-correct hot rod, that’s pretty cheap.

Result: Sold for $8,750 (Apparently more than one bidder was a Balboite.)

model tLot 227
1918 Ford Model T Brisbane Runabout

What’s so special about a Model T? Look closely and you’ll see that the steering wheel is on the wrong side. This is a rare Canadian-built export model that was shipped to Australia.

What also makes it cool is that it needs work, which keeps it out of the nose-bleed section. With an estimate of $8,000 – $12,000 and no reserve, it could be an opportunity to get a great and important car for used Camry money.

Result: Sold for $4,400 (Way below what I thought it was worth.)

Hillman MinxLot 240
1960 Hillman Minx IIIA Convertible

I love Hillmans and the Minx Convertible is the king of Hillmans. It’s the kind of car that people who know nothing about cars think is a cool car.

Cars like this are the epitome of British “Motoring.” As long as you avoid expectations of speed and luxury, and don’t do anything as gauche as driving on an interstate, you will have an enjoyable ride.

The estimate of $7,000 – $10,000 puts it in used Honda Civic range, but way way cooler.

Result: Sold for $7,700 (A great car for that money.)

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Trip to Vegas

This gallery contains 6 photos.

I took a trip to Las Vegas to attend WordCamp, a seminar about the WordPress blogging/CMS platform. Here are a few pix.  

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Quadractor for sale on eBay

QuadractorOh the things you see on eBay.

Quadractor is a wonderful name for this contraption. Four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, all powered by a massive Briggs & Stratton engine. OK the massive part might not be accurate.

Still, I imagine that this could kick lawn tractor butt at rock climbing or mud bogging.

My favorite part though is the quadractor front end styled vaguely to look like a car from the 50’s. Sort of like an kiddie pedal car on steroids gone wrong.

This is one of those weird little machines that I yearn to own for no logical reason. I have no place to ride it. I have no place to store it. The dogs would pee on it. (They have much more refined tastes than I and urinate on anything I own they consider gauche.) Despite all that I easily picture myself motoring slowly and surely through the woods of my youth.

Granting the engine the benefit of the doubt and assuming that it functions properly and with all the power of its youth, that’s still a lot of weight to be pulling. Add to that the mechanical resistance of all the chains and shafts required to transfer motion to all four wheels and your zero to six mph time approaches infinity.

So is the quadractor worth the $1000 opening bid? I would say yes, but I’m obviously insane. I imagine a farmer with kids could find this usefull for occupational indoctrination. Or perhaps if your house was across a muddy stream from your driveway you could use this to get your groceries those final few yards.

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One of the sadest AMCs ever built


I am a huge AMC fan, but even I am embarressed by this one. The AMX was once the greatest of all AMCs, and the Hornet was a fine basic little car. However, a Hornet with fancy decals and a smog equipment strangled 360 do not an AMX make.

Of course, I suppose, this really isn’t as bad as the AMC Spirit based AMX.

So sad, but yes, I still want it. Apparently all AMC fans are insane.

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What’s Up With Tom

A new chapter begins. After 13 years at the same company my position is being eliminated. Time to find a new job. Piles of stress but no sadness. I’ve been unhappy at my current job for some time.

What I hope to accomplish now is to get a job that matches why I got into web work in the first place. I want to make cool and useful web sites. Not surprisingly, intranet sites at an insurance company are rarely cool or useful.

I’m renewing my interest in WordPress. It’s a powerful, simple and modular approach to building web sites. I’ve been using it for several years for my personal websites, but never had the time or energy to take it to the next level.

Next weekend I’m going to Wordcamp Las Vegas. I hope to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge and meet fellow enthusiasts.

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Random Thoughts – 9/7/15

It was one of those days where everyone on the train was young, except me.

I feel like I’ve been kicked off a sinking ship.

Leaving a job, parting out my work to others, is like peeling a bitter artichoke.

It’s easy to see new horizons when your sitting in a just-used ejector seat.

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Auction: ghosts of the past for sale on eBay


A long time ago I watched this car race at Westboro Speedway. I loved the mini-modifieds. They were so quick and as my female companion would say, “They’re so cute.”  I remember this one particulary because of the Gremlin body. As an AMC geek I had soft spot for it. Warm summer nights, the reek of octane booster, popcorn and beer. Memories.

Unfortunately I don’t have the financial or mechanical means to save this little beast from its state of decay.

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Auction Watch: 67 Opel Kadett

Opel Kadett

Up for auction on Sep 3 in Auburn. This little cutie is recently restored with four-on-the-floor and a whopping 1.1 liter engine. That may not seem like much, but fans of Top Gear will know better. While I love Opels the real reason I’m listing this is that the auction company estimates that it will go for $1,500 – $2,250. My opinion is that are delusional. Mint old Opels have been pulling in the green lately. A very nice Manta sold recently on eBay for $10,000 and this Kadett is way cooler than that. Hopefully the low estimate won’t scare the bidders into thinking it’s not worth more.

Though if I was bidding I’d hope for the opposite.

See the full listing on th Auctions America site.

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Random Thoughts Aug 26

What does it say about me that I envy the infirmed for their convalescence.

…and then the judge said, “Let the record show that Mr. Flanders is visibly distraught.”

You can’t have the trump without the rump.

Across the wasteland of depression I stop to rest briefly at the oasis of creativity and write a poem about a dead mouse.

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Random Thoughts Aug 5

Got rear-ended on 101. Nobody hurt. Not angry, just annoyed.

Artichokes are thistle!?!

At the end of at least one long dead-end road there is an abandoned sweat lodge.

Have you ever noticed how many Arena Football coaches are fat?

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