“Pic of the Week”, September 11, 2020: Hillbilly Hot Rod, Murdo

06 Murdo, South Dakota (7)

We pulled off the freeway to get some gas and walk the dogs as part of our road-trip to the Ozarks.  Murdo, South Dakota, is a small sleepy prairie town of a few hundred residents, and we didn’t have any plans to do anything except take care of our personal and pet needs before returning to the highway.
As I was filling the tank I noted that across the street was a parking area which contained several older vehicles, and I wanted to have a closer look.
Mostly these were cars of about 1970s vintage, but there were a couple of unusual beasts.  The oddest among these was a Frankenstein type of hot-rod, made of welded and bolted together odds and ends …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Car Culture / North America

Great Cars Along the Highway: 1952 Oldsmobile Super 88

1952 Oldsmobile Super 88 (1)

One of my favorite vehicles is the Oldsmobile 88, a car which was also very popular with American consumers.  The line was introduced in 1949 and the Oldsmobile 88 was produced until 1999.  It was the top-selling line of cars for a remarkable twenty-four years.
In 1952, Oldsmobile’s most popular car was the Super 88, with 118,558 units sold. The Super 88 had been introduced the prior year as a more upscale version of the basic 88.  Super 88s were offered in five different body styles, but what made them so popular was a well-earned reputation for being a top performing car.  The Super 88 was powered by a Rocket Power V8 engine, shared with Oldsmobile’s Super 98 line. 
A beauty –the …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Car Culture / Central Canada / North America

Great Cars Along the Highway: 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline, Calgary

1948 Chevrolet Fleetline (00)

The Chevrolet Fleetline was produced from 1941 to 1952.  It was available in both four-door and two-door “Aerosedan” models.
The Fleetline was popular and comprised over 70% of Chevrolet’s sales during its production, although there was a pause in their manufacturing during WWII years.  In 1945, production normalized. 
Fleetlines are popular and collectable and are often converted into street hot-rods, using the Chevrolet 350 small block V8.  This was a particularly nicely preserved specimen I spotted in Calgary.
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.All Trips / Car Culture / Europe / Poland

Great Cars Along the Highway: Nysa Passenger Vans, Krakow

06 Krakow Van

When we visited Poland I noticed a style of passenger van being used in the tourist trade with which I was not familiar.
A little research revealed that it’s a Polish made van, the ‘Nysa 522’, a symbol of the Communist era.  It was manufactured in Nysa, Poland from 1958 – 1994.  Nysa built it to be a multifunctional van and it was used for carrying cargo and passengers, less commonly as ambulances.  Nysa vans were also commonly used by the Communist Militia.
The company did little to improve the van over the years, powering them with relatively gutless 2.2 or 2.5 l engines.  When the Soviet Union collapsed and Democracy re-emerged in Poland, sales of better quality and more popular imported vehicles …

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.All Trips / Car Culture / Europe / Poland

Great Cars along the Highway: Polish Beer Truck

04 PIWO beer truck

Parked near Wawel Hill in Krakow is a rather fancy old truck, all done up as a beer delivery truck — down to large wooden kegs sitting in its bed.  PIWO is Polish for “beer”.  I thought this was extremely effective advertising.
The flat bed truck is a Barkas V901/2, an East Germany brand which was made in the 1950s.  There were many other chassis put on this frame, but this style was the most useful and popular.  These trucks were used in the Eastern European communist block until after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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.All Trips / Alberta / Car Culture / Central Canada / North America

Great Cars along the Highway: 1958 Buick Special, Calgary

00 1958 Buick Special

A marquee car for Buick was its Special, considered an entry-level vehicle. This lovely 1958 model is the last year the Special was made. In the 1959 model year, the LeSabre was to replace the Special.

The chrome work on many cars from the 1950s is lovely, and this one certainly is not an exception.  Note the gas cap in the middle of the rear bumper.  The engine is a 364 cubic inch nailhead V8.  It has an automatic transmission. 

1958 Buick Special. Note the steel antennae by the wheels

1958 Buick Special. Note the steel antennae by the wheels

I was wondering what the function of these steel antennae behind the rear wheel was, and have to conclude that they were there to help with parallel parking.  If you hear metal scraping the curb, you’re too close.  A single antennae is also …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Car Culture / Central Canada / North America

Great Cars along the Highway: 1948 Ford Tudor Super Deluxe Sedan

00 1948 Ford Tudor Super Deluxe

This beautiful 1948 Ford was part of a car show in Calgary.  It’s powered by a 403 cu inch V8.  I remember as a boy, one of our family friends had a car of about this vintage and design, and I loved going for a ride in it. Couldn’t see much from the back seat as a kid, but it was still a fun ride.

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.All Trips / Car Culture / Europe / Italy

Great Cars along the Highway! Ferrari, near Venice

P1150359

The Autostrada has excellent rest/food/gas stops placed at regular intervals, and it was at one of these stops close to Venice that we spotted this beautiful Ferrari.  We were not the only ones to admire this lovely machine.  A tour bus had pulled up beside it and seems like everyone was having their photo taken beside this car.

I don’t know enough about Ferraris to tell you with authority which model this is, although some research indicates it likely is a Ferrari F430 Challenge.  Only 142 units were built between 2006 – 2010, so it is not only beautiful to look at but of rare vintage.

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