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2016, G. DAVID

Car Collector

Volume IX, Issue 5



Car Collecting Today

High RPMs

Classic Rides
Reports From the Field
Oldsmobile (1897-2004)
Cadillac (1902- )
Allant (1987-1993)

Corvair (1960-1969)

= Clickable Link

High RPMs

Not Your Fathers


A Look at 1916

Pics to Ponder

By now most have uncovered and fired-up their rides.

We have had a few nice days
here in SE WI, but winter
has not yet departed. It is
not at all uncommon for us
to still see a 30 degree difference in our daily high temps.
Soon they shall be firing up
the engines at Indy. This
year marks the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500
race. It is a bucket list event.
I was fortunate, while in
college, to live a stones
throw from the track. Additionally, our phys ed teacher
was also the track fire chief.
I had some pretty unique
access to the track happenings in the month of May
during my college years.
I vividly recall standing on
pit road taking pictures during practice one year when a
racer came in and appeared
to be heading right at me,


site to discuss the newsletter,
the hobby and our cars.

and fast. In fact he was doing

just that in an effort to
quickly reach the fire station.
Burning racing fuel does not
emit a visible flame. I did not
know that, just like I did not
know that I was standing
smack, dab in the middle of
the pit row fire station! To
get out of his way I jumped
over the retaining wall!
May Automotive Milestones
1-1954 Nash and Hudson
merge to form AMC
2-1918 Chevrolet joins GM
3-1899 Packard begins operation
6-1928 Chrysler introduces
De Soto
10-1923 GM names Alfred P.
Sloan president
11-1947 B.F. Goodrich announces tubeless tire
14-1969 Last Corvair
17-1868 Horace Dodge born,
Niles, Michigan
19-1903 Buick Motor Co.
21-1901 Connecticut enacts

1st speed-limit law

22-1929 Debut flight of the Goodyear Blimp
23-1875 Alfred Sloan, Jr., born,
New Haven, CT
28-1937 VW founded
29-1946 1st Kaiser-Frazer
30-1911 1st Indy 500
31-1927 Last Model T

- Time to uncover the car!

GDYNets on the Web

Find GDYNets on the web:

CCC Forum

May 2016

Car Collector Chronicles

Saved 62 -Our 1962 Olds
convertible, Ransom Eli Olds
and things Oldsmobile related
web site.
The Gray Lady -1955 Cadillac
Coup de Ville web site.

SAVED 62: A website devoted

to our 1962 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible. The site

also has a lot of information on
Oldsmobile cars and the company founder, Ransom Eli Olds.

THE GRAY LADY: This website features our 1955 Cadillac

Coup de Ville, lots of Caddy
information and an extensive
repair library.

DAVES DEN: -A site devoted to a myriad of interests.

Foremost is extensive information on the Steel City of Gary,
IN. There are also offerings on
steel making, U.S. Steel-Gary
Works, U.S. Marine Corps, M14
assault rifle, of course Oldsmobile, and the tragic story of the
murder of Gary, IN Police Lt.
George Yaros.

Car Collector Chronicles

Page 2

Not Your Fathers Oldsmobile

My first
question is
what do you

I recently came across a photo of an Oldsmobile of which I was not aware. One reason was that it was one of many concepts created
by the Olds division of GM. While some are well
known, such as the 1954 F88 that Barrett-Jackson
hammered at $3.2 Million a few years back, others
are a bit obscure.
The photo I saw was of an Oldsmobile XP-888.
It is a 1970 era machine. Oldsmobile officially
described it as:
An entry level sports car, featuring a series of interchangeable rear compartment
covers; including fastback, pickup and
wagon variations.
I am a little at a loss to appreciate why in 1970 Oldsmobile thought that it needed an
entry level sports car in its line? After all, through 1970 Oldsmobile had already sold
155,552 4-4-2 automobiles. Also, in that year an Olds 4-4-2 with a 455 c.i. V8 paced
the Indianapolis race.
For whatever reason, the minds in
charge determined creating the XP-888
was a good idea. Here is the result of that
My first question is, what do you see? I
see a Chevy Camaro front-end/doghouse.
Or, is it a Pontiac Trans Am? The rearend looks to have Corvette genes? Some
may see Studebaker Avanti lines in the
body, and I would not argue the point.
So where is the XP-888 today? Is it still
extant? A check of the GM Heritage Center web site yields no mention of the
car. That is not unusual. It was quite common for concept vehicles to be destroyed. If
that was its fate, it is too bad. She was a nice looking ride!
I ran across an earlier engineering and design effort which I found to be quite appealing. It was the 1953 Oldsmobile X-P Rocket. This car was constructed on a a fullsized, B-body chassis. The lines flow quite well, given the 203 inch long fiberglass
shell. The X-P Rocket was Oldsmobiles first GM Motorama concept car. It was named
after the Lockheed F-94B Starfire. Features presented to the motoring public for the
first time were the large oval-mouthed grille, a wraparound windshield, bucket seats and
a fiberglass body that incorporated a Darrin Dip in the beltline. The headlights were
encased in plastic bubbles. Reportedly three examples were built. I know of none still
in existence.

Page 3

Car Collector Chronicles

Not Your Fathers OldsmobileContd.

The last Oldsmobile I want to present is the 1959 F88 Mk. III. It was given to Harley
Earl for his personal use on retirement. His retirement gold watch, so to speak. Its
color was bright red. It featured a retractable aluminum hardtop which closed when
moisture was detected by the rain sensor. Reportedly, this feature did not function reliably. The car sat on a 102 inch wheelbase, sported turbine styled wheels and stood only
46 inches off the ground. The engine was fuel injected and produced 250 h.p. Unique to
the car was the muffler/exhaust system. It was mounted to the front of the engine and
exited forward of the front wheels.
While Harley Earl did drive the car for a few years, his successor Bill Mitchell ordered
the car be returned to GM and scrapped. All indications are that this order was duly carried out.

was mounted
to the front of
the engine
and exited
forward of
the front

All I can say is, it sure would be nice to be able to go cruising around in this machine.
One would not have to ask twice if I wanted to borrow the car! I cant imagine the emotions that had to be stirring inside the individuals doing the scrapping. I wonder what they
were thinking, feeling at the time?

Car Collector Chronicles

Page 4;;

Still Firing on All 8

It was noted in the May Automotive Milestones that 30 May marks the 100th running of the Indianapolis
500 race. Another automotive entity is also celebrating its 100th birthday. That would be ACDelco.
When one thinks AC one thinks spark plugs.
AC spark plugs powered the engine of Lindberghs Spirit of St. Louis, as well as
the planes of Amelia Earhart and Richard Byrd. AC spark plugs powered Chuck
Yeagers Bell X-1 in 1947 when he broke the sound barrier. The rocket sending
Neil Armstrong to the moon in 1969 was ignited by AC spark plugs. ACDelco
electrical components also helped to transport astronauts across the lunar surface.
I do not know how many are aware that AC are the initials of Albert Champion,
as in Champion spark plugs. He founded the company, and subsequently lost control of it. Ultimately, he also lost the right to use the Champion name. Having lost
his spark plug company, he turned to William Durant in 1908 to continue making
spark plugs. That year the name AC Spark Plug was trademarked. In 1909 the
spark plug company was purchased by General Motors. It became a division of
GM in 1933.
The other half of ACDelco, Delco, is the offspring of United Motor Co. (UMC); yet another Durant creation. It came into being in 1916 and consisted of the Hyatt Roller Bearing Co., ball bearing manufacturer
New Departure, Remy Electric, Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co. (DELCO) and the Perlman Rim
Initially, UMC sold its products to any automobile manufacturer that wanted to buy.
That ended in 1918, when General Motors acquired the company. GM renamed the
corporation United Motors Service and made it a GM division in 1944. In 1960
United Motors Service became United Delco. AC and United Delco were merged
into AC-Delco in 1974 by GM.
There were a couple of notables associated with the entities making up UMC. Alfred Sloan was at Hyatt. He went on to become the president of GM. Charles Kettering was with Delco.
Kettering invented the electric car starter. No longer having to hand crank the engine made the automobile accessible to a far wider market.
Delco engineers also brought us electric lights for cars, permitting the use of the automobile after dark.
These same engineers created leaded gas and came up with the 4-wheel braking system. Leaded gas
functioned to reduce engine knock and lubricate engine valves and seats.
Perhaps the most remarkable feat of the folks at Delco had to do with a battery, in this instance an airplane battery. On 29 Feb 1944 a plane went down over Lake Michigan. When it was brought to the surface in 1996, 52 years later, the battery still cranked!

A Look at 1916
U.S. population:was approximately 102 Million 30% of the 2016 population
Film star Charlie Chaplin received a weekly pay of $10,000 The equivalent of $218,000 today
There were 109 telephones for every 1,000 people in the U.S. This number jumped to 588 by 1970 and,
thanks to mobile phones, 847 by 2007
U.S. States numbered 48 New Mexico and Arizona became states four years earlier (1912), but Alaska
and Hawaii would not be granted statehood for another forty-three years (1959)
A First Class Postage Stamp cost 2 The equivalent of 44 today
The cost of a loaf of bread was 7
The average price for a car was $400
The worlds tallest structure was the Eiffel Tower
Einstein completed formulation of his general Theory of Relativity
Electric refrigerators were first offered for sale, for $900
Coca-Cola started using their new contoured bottle
Mr. Peanut was created
Montana voters elect the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, Republican Jeanette Rankin
The Chicago Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Field (present day Wrigley) ,beating the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 in 11 innings
President Wilson sent Gen. Pershing and 12,000 U.S. troops into Mexico to pursue Pancho Villa

Car Collector Chronicles

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Pics to Ponder

Ok, Ive had my say for the month. Now its your turn! I invite/encourage submission
of your comments, opinions and article contributions. I also ask that you please help
spread the word about our publication. Everything sent shall indeed be reviewed by
me. Submissions should be sent to CCC at

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