Car Collector Chronicles
Volume III, Issue 10 Car Collector Chronicles October 2010

 Car collecting today  Classic rides  Reports from the field  Oldsmobile  Cadillac
 Allanté

High RPMs
High RPMs is a journalistic device I have created to permit me to put my brain in gear, and rev up my gray matter. In other words, it is a column that will permit me to burn some rubber, albeit figuratively. In the month of July, what with having to care for the Mrs. because of a broken ankle, I was able to spend a bit of time watching the Mecum™ auction from Des Moines, IA. It was the only auction I have seen in the last few years where mighty fine iron was actually crossing the block at reasonable (read fair) prices. I am sure they were not concours worthy, but for you and I, they were rides over which we would drool. The auction purchase prices were a reflection of two factors, I believe. The first, of course, is the current state of the economy. The second, I suspect, is folks in the heart of the Midwest are not as willing to readily part with their hard earned dollars. I say, good for them! In August a member of the Chicagoland Allanté-XLR Club® pronounced that the value of Allantés had bottomed out. He premised this proclamation on the fact that the individual parts which originally went into the manufacture of an Allanté are now worth more than a whole car! I guess his thinking is that the economy simply cannot get any worse? I hope he is right, but I have my doubts. What I do know for a fact is, if one has both the inclination and the money to get into the collector car hobby, now is the time to be out there looking and buying! It appears that a semblance of sanity seems to be returning to the collector car market? Are the rest of you like me, in the sense you collect other “stuff”? I wonder what “stuff” attracts your eye? I am a for-

 Corvair


High RPMs


GDYNets On the Web For Want of a Nail—Fin 2010 NAOC Nats — Not! Really Rare Rides


mer steelworker. Consequently, anything related to U.S. Steel-Gary Works gets my attention. I still have my hard hat from the mill, my overhead crane operator card, an employee payroll badge, a US Steel Service Award Wrist Watch, my father’s 30 year service pin and a couple of Continued–P. 2



GDYNets on the Web



Dave’s Den http://GDYNets.WEBNG.com Saved 62 http://www.freewebs.com/ jeandaveyaros The Gray Lady - 55 Cad de Ville Car Collector Chronicles -

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A website 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. Geo. Yaros.

SAVED 62: A website devoted

to our 1962 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible. The site also has a lot of information on Oldsmobiles and its founder, Ransom Eli Olds. THE GRAY LADY: This website features our 1955 Cadillac Coupé de Ville and Caddy information.

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High RPMs—Continued
jackets that sport embroidered USS-Gary Works logos. In my mill rat days, I was a big fan of Schlitz beer. Consequently, the car barn displays a six pack of Jos. A. Schlitz Brewing Co. employee badges; feeling right at home here in Milwaukee! I bet you didn’t know that Schlitz is now owned by Pabst, and brewed by Miller? I cannot say that I collect the next item. Rather, I do possess a large number of vintage, vinyl LP’s. For those of you, and I suspect there are many, who have no idea what a LP is, it is a 33 1/3 rpm long playing record. Record? What is a record? Well, records are how one listened to music before 8-track tapes, cassettes, Walkmans™, cd’s or I-Pods™. My LP’s were acquired during my misspent youth. Many are far from being pristine. However, all are still playable. That I still have all these LP’s attests to my being an inveterate pack rat. If I had the time to enjoy them, I could easily become a collector of firearms. As it is, I do own several. I have a rifle and a couple of pistols. The rifle is a pride and joy. It is a Springfield Armory M1A. It fires the 7.62 mm NATO (.308 cal.) round, from a 20-round magazine. The M1A is the civilian version of the M14 assault rifle. The M14 is what was issued to me during my tour in the Corps. It is a mighty fine weapon, let me tell you! Unlike the standard military issue M14, my M1A has a 3 x 9 scope in addition to the iron sights. Of course, an assault rifle is not very practical for fending off the bad guys who have breached the perimeter of one’s home. The pistols I own serve that purpose. I have two, both manufactured by Smith & Wesson™. One is a .38 cal. Chief’s Special. It fires five rounds. It is small, compact and easy to handle. It is a good firearm for use by the fairer sex, who tend to have smaller hands. The other is a .357 cal., with a 4 inch barrel and a six-round cylinder. True, they are not Glocks™, or full auto. Then again, they are not intended for use in taking on the world. Rather, their function is to fend off the occasional bad guy. If you cannot get the job done with them, to my way of thinking you best avoid the fight! Last I shall mention books, in particular presidential memoirs. I think this comes from my being a history buff, as well as a history major in college. It matters not if I liked the president. If they wrote memoirs, I want them. The most interesting presidential memoir I own is the 2-volume set by U. S. Grant. What makes it both interesting and unique is the fact that not once did Ulysses mention that he was President of the United States! Given the egos of many who have occupied the White House, his never alluding to that fact is down right amazing.

“ [A] LP is ... a 33 1/3 rpm long playing record. Record? What is a record? Well, records are how one listened to music before 8-track tapes, cassettes, Walkmans™, cds or I-Pods™!”

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I am finally able to conclude this saga. You should recall the horror story presented in the July issue, about the 1962 Olds Dynamic 88 convertible purchased for $26,900 and shipped at the buyer’s expense ($10,000) to New Zealand. On arrival the local licensing authorities refused to issue a title or plates. Why? The condition of the car was deemed not fit/safe to be on the roads of New Zealand. The ride was ultimately returned to the U.S., again at the buyer’s expense ($8,000)! It arrived on the west coast around Memorial Day. It was then land transported back to the seller’s place of business. It was not until late July that the purchase monies were refunded. That meant the seller had the exclusive use, interest free, of the buyer’s $26,900 for over six months! Interestingly, no sooner was the car physically back in the dealer inventory and an ad for it appeared on the net. The first line of the ad read, “Just in, from Southern California!” While that is true, it certainly is a far cry from the whole truth! So, who is this dealer? It is Daniel Schmitt & Co. Motorcar Collection of St. Louis, MO. Here is the link to the car - http://schmitt.com/ viewimage.asp?ID=3728

“[T]he seller had the exclusive use, interest free, of the buyer’s $26,900 for over six months!”

2010 NAOC Nats — Not!
You may have noticed I have not published anything regarding the 2010 NAOC National, held in Lansing in July. Sadly, there is a good reason:
- For want of attention a step was missed. - For want of missed step a fall was had. - For want of not avoiding a fall an ankle was broken. - For want of avoiding injury, the NAOC Nats became a non-event.

This is my way of saying, I have no report because we were not able to attend. Jean broke her ankle on 28 June; a compound fracture. She had surgery on 7 July, the day we were to head out to Lansing. She has been immobile ever since. We are looking at a 10-to-12 week recovery period. As it was her right ankle, she is not able to drive. Needless to say, Saved 62 was more than ready. Hours and hours

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were spent in the car barn prepping her. NORS, period correct, Guide T3 headlamps replaced the factory T3's which worked, but sure did not throw much light on the roadway. New interior door panels were installed. As were new armrest bases. The armrest pads were recovered. The proverbial 6-step wax process (wash, wash, clay, clean paint, glaze finish, seal finish) was undertaken. I even went the extra step and removed some of the chrome trim to get at the built up wax underneath! The interior was detailed, as was the engine bay. All windows were washed. The fluid levels were checked. She also received a new oil filter and an oil change in readiness. - Alas, Saved 62 remained suspended on the lift, all dressed up with no place to go! The pics from the nats that I have seen indicate it was a more than impressive gathering. There were a number of Oldsmobile Limiteds on display. These rides are more than rare, to say the least. They are also attention getting, both in terms of bulk and engineering. Don't forego the chance to see an Oldsmobile Limited, if it should come your way. You will be observing automotive history.

Recently I came across some pics of a couple of American cars that I have never heard discussed, let alone ever personally seen. I thought it might be interesting to explore these rides, and hope you find it so. The cars are the Dual Ghia and the El Morroco. This month, let’s delve into the Dual Ghia a bit. “ The Dual Ghia design is based on the Chrysler Corporation 1954 concept car called the Firearrow … also known as the Firebomb.” The name comes from the collaboration of Dual Motors Co. of Detroit with Italian auto body maker Carrozzeria Ghia. The Dual Ghia was built only from 1956 through 1958. Total production equaled 117 vehicles. The purchase price was $7,648; making them more expensive than a Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. As few as 32, and as many as 66, of the original 117 cars are believed to still be in existence. The Dual Ghia design is based on the Chrysler Corporation 1954 concept car (pictured left). Called the Firearrow, it was also known as the “Firebomb.” It sprang from the fertile mind of Chrysler designer extraordinaire Virgil Exner. Exner in turn hired Ghia to turn his mental concepts into reality. The Firearrow made quite a splash on the show circuit. Even so, Chrysler reached a decision to never bring it to production. Enter Eugene Casaroll. Who is Eugene Casaroll, you ask? He was the owner of Dual Motors Co. What is Dual Motors you ask? We shall get to that in a minute. Casaroll found his niche in the auto industry with auto transport. Prior to him, dealers’ employees went to either major U.S. rail terminals, or the car factory itself, and retrieved cars for the drive back to their locale. Casaroll conceived the auto transport trailer and put it on America’s highways under the label of Auto Shippers, Inc. During WWII Casaroll made heavy duty vehicles for the military. His tank retriever had two engines. Hence the name Dual Motors Co.

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Casaroll’s business ventures earned him enough money that he was positioned to jump in when Chrysler determined it would not be producing the Firearrow. He bought both the car and the rights to Exner’s design. He then went back to Ghia and formed a business alliance to create the four seat sportster. His Dual Ghia first became available to the motoring public in the 1956 model year. Production ceased with the 1958 model year. The chassis was Dodge with a 115 inch wheelbase. Performance came from a Dodge Hemi measuring 315 c.i., fed by a 4 bbl. Carter carb, putting out 230 H.P. and capable of doing 0 - 60 in 7 seconds! The tranny was a Chrysler Powerflite 2speed automatic. By 1958 the horsepower output had been increased to 260 ponies. Over 1,500 man hours were invested in the production of each car. Needless to say, there was no profit to be had from the sale of these vehicles. Consequently, production was short lived. There is more than a bit of interesting trivia surrounding the Dual Ghia. Allegedly, Dual Motors Co. President Casaroll determined who was worthy of owning one of his creations. This determination was made only after a personal interview conducted by Eugene himself. The car was a big hit among the Hollywood set, and in particular members of the infamous “Rat Pack”. Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford each had one parked in their drive. Eddie Fisher is said to have bought one for his then wife, Debbie Reynolds. Not only is it believed that Ronald Reagan owned a Dual Ghia, but it is also reported that he lost the car to Lyndon B. Johnson in a poker game. I find this last one a little hard to believe on a number of counts. I do not see Ronnie and LBJ as chums. Nor can I picture Nancy letting Ronnie spend his free time in a smokefilled room with the likes of Lyndon Johnson, while the booze was flowing feely. I have also seen a report that Richard Nixon owned a Dual Ghia. I think the person asserting such had President Nixon confused with Ronald Reagan. Nixon was known to be an Oldsmobile man. This is based on his reference to his Olds in his 1952 Checkers speech, and a picture I have seen of him taking delivery of a 1959 Oldsmobile at a Whittier, CA dealership. The line about the car that I love is this one, from New York gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen: “The Rolls Royce was for the Hollywood rich who couldn’t get a Dual-Ghia.” For the few fortunate enough to own one of these rare rides, there is in fact a Dual Ghia Registry/Car Club. “Car Club” seems a little trite when referring to such an august group of owners. The group boasts a membership of 75! One current owner is Fred Kanter, of Kanter Auto Products™. The registry/club contact information is:

“ The Rolls Royce was for the Hollywood rich who couldn’t get a DualGhia.”

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Dual Ghia Enthusiasts Association, 29 Forgedale Road, Fleetwood, PA 19522. Dr. Paul Sable, docsable@fast.net, 610-987-6923. Number Of Members: 75

Now, let’s talk about the construction of the Dual Ghia. The assembly process, as well as the production history of the car, share uncanny commonalities with the Cadillac Allanté. Casaroll had a deal with Chrysler on chassis procurement. The chassis were shipped to the Ghia Works in Turin, Italy. There, the bodies were mounted on the frame. Trim moldings were fastened with chrome plated brass clips. The sheet metal for each car was formed by hand, using mallets and wooden bucks. No wonder it took 1,500 hours to assemble a car! It is unclear whether Ghia installed the lavish interiors in Italy, or they were installed when the body and chassis arrived back in Detroit? At any rate, once back in the U.S. of A., the aforementioned drivetrain was mated with the car. The steering wheel was borrowed from the Chrysler Imperial. The instrument cluster was taken from Dodge. Since Dodge instrument panels had no tachometer, Ghia designed one that matched the speedometer. The dash knobs used in the car are from Plymouth. The front and rear bumpers were Dodge OEM parts. If one so desired, an optional phonograph player could be ordered. Finally, let’s have a look at these machines …

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Auction Prices: Range from $27K to $418K. Avg. Price = $179K

Note the cockpit in the lower picture. It has two clocks! One is in the steering wheel (a Benrus). The other is between the speedometer and the tach. I do not know what the lever is to the right of the steering column? It is not the E-brake. It may be for the power top?

Yes, those are Kelsey-Hayes 40-spoke wire wheels.

Ok, I have had my say for this month. Now it is your turn! I invite/encourage submission of your comments, opinions and contributions, and ask that you help spread the word about our pub. Everything sent shall indeed be reviewed by me. Submissions should be sent to CCC® at: OldsD88@gmail.com. Do feel free to rattle my tree … . _______________________________________

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This Day in Time The El Morocco

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