Do You Remember the Brochure for Your First Car?

Okay, I have a confession.  It’s true!  I have been a bit piggish, keeping this small, amazing website to myself and my family since I first got my email address way back in 2010.  Everybody in the family enjoys it, and certainly remembers the brochures for their first car (that is, once they look at the brochure…).  I am now divulging the great secret!  This website hosts all the brochures of almost every car from the 1950’s through the 1980’s.  How great is that?

If your car memory is spotty, you can look on this AWESOME website and see the original factory brochures for almost every American car!  It’s really quite simple:  just pick the manufacturer, the car, and the year.  But, it’s good to know that the Corvettes are in their own section.  Also, there are tire brochures, transmission brochures, oil brochures, rental company brochures, bus company brochures, boat brochures, spark plug brochures, travel trailer brochures, windshield brochures, piston ring brochures,wheel brochures, car body brochures, and even more!

There is also a blog that the webmaster/author writes.  He lives in Norway, and REALLY likes American cars!  If you have a brochure older than 1990, you can contact him, and it will go onto the website.  If you have a special car brochure that is older than 1990, he will definitely consider it!

Enjoy the website and many hours of interesting reading!  Don’t let your boss see all the time you spend on this website…


What’s a Loud Pedal?

If you are wondering if a “Loud Pedal” refers to the musical percussion instrument called a “Piano,” think again!  The loud pedal on a piano makes the piano go louder, and the loud pedal on a car makes it louder AND faster (the latter of the two the piano CANNOT brag about!).

With cars, when you press the “Loud Pedal,” more gas and air flow into the engine, making it spin faster and rev higher.  This makes the car louder, hence the name “Loud Pedal…”

The 2012 American Graffiti Salute Coverage!

Remember my post last year on the 2011 American Graffiti Salute?  Well, the 2012 Salute topped the 2011 in just about every way!  I know that you’ll DEFINITELY agree with me when you see all the pictures…!  For many of the pictures, I will provide what information I know…

This 1966 Chevy Corvette Sting Ray has some nice candy-apple-red paint that would make a cherry jealous.  I have no idea what engine and transmission are under the hood, but I’d like to take it for a “test drive…”

What I DO know about this even MORE amazing 1963 Corvette Sting Ray with the hallmark split windows is that the original owner bought it new with the high-performance 427 V8 and the Muncie “Rock-Crusher” M21 four-speed manual.  Lovely.  Even better at 125 mph…

My cover photo of “Nashty Habit” is higher-resolution than this picture, but here’s the info:  Nashty Habit has a 454 engine from a souped-up Chevelle and a five-speed manual from G-d knows where.  The wheels are custom-forged, and the body and chassis are from a 1931 Nash.

This 1950s Ford step-van looks and sounds to be original.  But then again, who knows what secrets it might have under the hood…

This 1992 Shelby Cobra replicar has a Chevy Corvette Z06 engine and a Mustang five speed manual.  I know this because I was walking by and saw the sign for the car (hence the information on all the cars).

Remember this E-Type/60’s Ferrari replicar from last year?  If you don’t, it’s got a new Ford 5.0 liter Coyote crate engine that pumps out somewhere in the general vicinity of 500 horsepower.  VROOM!

This 1938 Graham Town Car was bought new by the owner’s grandfather, and has been passed down generation by generation.  The car was frame-off restored in 2003 by the current owner.  Apparently, it’s more comfortable than a 1960’s Cadillac or Lincoln.  It’s got a full leather interior, seats five comfortably, and gets 21 mpg.  And I almost forgot to mention that it’s got close to 240,000 miles on the odometer!

Please DON’T ask me WHY this 1995 Plymouth Prowler was in the parade!  My guess is that it is NOT a delivery vehicle, but simply an advertising piece for the pizza parlor!  I don’t know HOW “Pinky” got the car into the parade!

This other ’63 Chevy Corvette Sting Ray Split Window Coupe was bought in 1993 in very dilapidated condition.  It needed a lot of work, but it IS a rare fuel-injected ’63 that they bought for something ridiculous like $6,500!

This 1962 Ford Thunderbird has the high-performance 390 cubic inch V8 that slurps fuel at the ridiculous rate of 8 miles per gallon!  But, it IS very fun to drive and only has 23,000 miles on the clock.  It must be really hard to not use all 480 lb-ft of torque when passing a Prius!

This lovely 1957 Ford Ranchero pick-up has almost 100,000 miles on the clock and has been owned since new by a local Ford fanatic!  It has the easy-to-drive 390/automatic combo, and most of those have been used towing old Fords around!

This 1949 Mercury Club Coupe has a large 8.1 liter engine from a  2002 GMC Sierra pickup.  It may not have a lot of horsepower, but it’s got enough torque to make a bulldozer jealous!  VROOOM come literally!

This amazing 1970 Ford Torino Talladega has a numbers-matching 428 Cobra Jet engine and Muncie M21 transmission that send power to the rear wheels via yet another numbers-matching Ford 9-Inch rear end.  The tires are Goodyears that have better traction than a Formula 1 race-car!  VROOM should come in epic doses on THIS car!

This rare forest-green/black Dodge Challenger T/A could look better in my opinion, but it’s fast, so that’s all that matters…With the historic 426 Hemi engine mated to a four-speed-manual, this car can go up to 140 mph!  But it probably comes at the expense of comfort and fuel economy.

This quite amazing Pontiac Tempest was built just two months before the GTO came out in 1962.  Bought new with the high-power 326 V8, this car DEFINES the phrase “fun in the sun!”  It’s been a daily driver since the day the owner received the pink slip.  It’s had not one, but TWO restorations (1981, 2009) in it’s 180,000 mile career!  I would LOVE to drive this car if I could!

This 1946 Willys JEEP was bought just a few years ago from the original owner, and the owners enjoy every single mile that they rack up on the odometer!  These old JEEPs are some of the toughest vehicles in the world, often going up to 400,000 miles before they are made into cheap toaster ovens.  I hope that THIS JEEP doesn’t follow the same route as it’s siblings – civilian-issue JEEP’s from the 40’s are very hard to find, always fetching up to $20,000 for the better ones.

This lovely 1953 Mercury Club Coupe is all-original, and has been owned since new by the original owner.  It’s got the extremely rare “Skyroof” glass roof and the even rarer “Aquamarine Blue” paint.  It may not be fast, but you’ll get there in style!

It’s nice to know that the owners of these late ’60s-early ’70s Cadillac “Land Yachts” take pride in their cars, and take them to parades.  They are nice cars, but they are big, hard to drive, and slow.  But, they are very comfortable, and effortless cruisers on the Interstates.

This chopped Chevy half-ton pickup has a Chevy 350 c.i. engine that pumps out way too much horsepower and torque for something this old!  One could call it a street racer, but I prefer to call it a random creation!

This 1934 Ford Tudor sedan has been thoroughly souped-up, but it has Ford 460 C.I. V8 and a leveling kit that makes a smooth ride when racing a GTO!  Plus, it’s got a Rockland Standard Gear Tranzilla T71 six-speed manual that can handle too much torque!

This 1966 Plymouth Roadrunner is all-original except for the brand-new Cragar rims and B.F. Goodrich tires.  It sounds simply amazing, and I’m sure that just about anybody would like to drive it!  I would…

This faithful 2004 Shelby Cobra 427 replicar has just about everything (and then some) on it!  To the untrained eye (which I’m sure that none of you have!), one might assume that it actually IS a ’64 Cobra, but they would be so wrong that it would be bordering on stupidity!

This 1967 Mercury Cyclone convertible has the 390 C.I. V8 pumping out enough horsepower to make a semi jealous!  Those optional “Dog-Dish” rims help with the aerodynamics and timeless looks of the 1967 Mercury Cyclone!

Remember this classic Studebaker Hawk sedan from last year?  If you don’t it’s got the small six-cylinder that has only 120 horsepower, but everybody (and I mean EVERYBODY) was giving these people the thumbs up!  They were cool (literally) because of the cool old air conditioner that sucks air in and cools it before it blows into the cabin!

This is the last amazing picture that I will show you, so I’ll give you all the tough specs on this 1950 Ford F100 pickup.  It has the powerful old six-cylinder engine and goes about 40 mph, but is pretty cool!  I wish that I could have seen some awesome readers of the Unmuffled Auto News there!  Well, see you next year!

The Japanese Mater… (A ‘Cars’ Reference)

If you’re thinking of the tow truck that had to pick you up yesterday, it would be ridiculously over sized on Japan’s tiny roads!  Tow trucks, along with many other things, are ‘supersized’ in America. The tow truck I’m thinking of is quite different – it’s Japanese, it’s got two wheels, and it’s a Honda!

Yes, it almost looks like something out of Terminator or one of the Transformers movies, but it’s not.  Here’s two “Transformers” together somewhere in Japan…

Here are a few pictures to entertain and to educate!

When I first saw the picture of one of these tow vehicles starting to tow a early ’90s VW Golf, I thought my eyes were deceiving me!

I also have sad auto news to pass along.  Carrol Shelby died six days ago at the age of 89 from pneumonia.  You can check out my biography blog post of him through the link below.

Shop Talk

Ron Luongo is a diehard car lover. He is the auto and ROP instructor at a local high school, and has been for many years.  Through our local office of education, he put together a middle-school auto-shop class.  I took it, and had a great time!  At the end of the last class, I asked him if he was willing to be interviewed, and he generously agreed.  Please enjoy another look into careers in the auto industry.

Mr. Luongo was always interested in cars.  He wanted to drive a fast, good-looking car from the very beginning (like me, Mom!).

He started his first job in the automotive industry early on.  When Mr. Luongo was about 19, he worked part-time at a local gas station in Southern California.

 Mr. Luongo has had many jobs in the Service Department of the Automotive field including: Automotive Machinist, Automotive Technician, Service Advisor, Service Drive Manager, Call Center Supervisor, Corporate Service Trainer, Corporate Curriculum Developer, Warranty Clerk, Dispatcher, Technical Consultant, Lube Technician, Tire Salesman/Auto Manager, and Automotive Teacher at high schools, colleges, and technology schools.  He has enjoyed many of them.

Mr. Luongo started teaching young people about automobiles at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Southern California, way back in 1980.  He enjoyed working with young people, and explaining about cars.  Being an Auto-shop teacher requires oodles of patience and the knowledge that one is working with very young, inexperienced students.  All of which Mr. Luongo has in spades. What  he really likes about being an Auto-shop teacher is working with the students that really want to learn.

There are many careers in the automotive industry for many different types of people.  There are various jobs involving teaching, computers , working with all types of people, talking a lot, writing and reading technical information, art and cars. Being very neat and organized is necessary when working with cars.  If you are drawn to any of the above, than there is at least one automotive job for you.

Mr. Luongo has owned about twenty cars.  His favorite car was a brand-new 1969 Vitamin C Orange Plymouth Roadrunner with the optional four-speed manual and potent 383 cubic V8.  The fastest car that he has ever owned was a 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle with a four-speed manual and a built 350 cubic inch engine (which he built up himself!).  If Mr. Luongo could, he would buy a 1969 Vitamin C Orange Plymouth Roadrunner, all original with the 383 and four-speed.  VROOM!  For prospective young (and older…) buyers, Mr. Luongo has some words of wisdom: buy a car you can afford to regularly maintain!

When asked if he liked to work on cars during his off-time, Mr. Luongo said that no, he does not like to, and yes, he HAS already tried out that route.

When it comes to cars being donated to the ROP/auto shop where Mr. Luongo teaches, Mr. Luongo isn’t too picky about what type of cars are donated, they just need to be running…

I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Mr. Luongo for giving me his time and thoughts  about his career and the automotive industry in general.  I would also like to give a big thank you to my editor (named Mom…) for editing this post.  Tune in Friday for an interesting (NOT photoshop) article on two-wheeled Japanese tow trucks!

What’s a Love Tap?

If you’re thinking that I’m referencing some affectionate term, think again!  In the car world, a “Love Tap” is something quite, quite different.

In oval (or circle) track racing, a love tap is the pushing and shoving and bumping that constantly happens with all the cars going together in the pack.  A love tap is usually a sign to pull off to the side, speed up, or get run over!  I’ll speed up. . .Sorry Mom (NOT!)!

Here’s a picture of a Love Tap in NASCAR:

That is the love tap where somebody has to find a new car. . .Tony Stewart hit Jeff Gordon back in 2001 (I know!) and sent Gordon spinning into the wall at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Viper Strikes Again!

You know the saying, “you never know what goes on behind closed doors.”  Well, it really worked out well for Ralph Gilles and a team of designers.  While behind closed (and locked) doors, Gilles and Russ Ruedisueli did some serious designing.  Ruedisueli is Chrysler’s head of engineering for SRT and Motorsports,.  If that’s not enough, maybe being vehicle line executive for the fifth-generation Dodge Viper is.  But, it’s not a Viper anymore.  Chrysler management decided that the Dodge name wasn’t worthy enough for something that will cost up to $120,000 (before ANY options in the classier SRT Viper GTS!), so they decided to make SRT a division of Chrysler LLC.

When the last of the Dodge Viper ACR-X’s rolled off the assembly line at Chrysler’s Conner Avenue factory in the summer of 2010, Chrysler was madly plugging leaks with whatever they could find.  Chrysler decided that the Viper brand was going to be given to the highest bidder (ANY bidder, mind you!), but some Viper fans at Chrysler management were able to let themselves be heard, and the Viper brand was shoved to the bottom of the skillet for about a year.  Or so they thought.

Ralph Gilles said, “I knew that the very last thing Chrysler needed during our bankruptcy was a 600-hp sports car.  But I’m an optimist.  I wanted to fight for a chance.  We discussed it for a year.  I got Sergio [Marchionne, Chrysler CEO] to drive one of the last Vipers.  He jumped in and disappeared G-d knows where.  He came back 15 minutes later and said, ‘Ralph, that’s a lot of work.’  He meant it was a brutal car.  But he didn’t say ‘Good riddance’ or anything.  Then in late ’09, I showed him a video of a Viper breaking the Nürburgring record.  He watched all of it and was impressed.  I gave him a list of all the supercars that the Viper had put away.  It’s against the rules here, but we started sketching on the project.  We never asked for permission, we just did it.  Then, in mid-2010, I had a full-size model put together.  We took it to the styling dome and had the place dimly lit like a nightclub, and I got the Chrysler management team sitting almost campfire-style.  So we unveiled the car-with its 32-coat candy-apple paint-and you could have heard a pin drop.  When people started talking, Sergio said, ‘Be quiet! Let’s just take this in.”  Gilles also remembers, “Eventually we got tired of [Chrysler] execs telling us what the car should be, so we staged a research clinic with supercar owners-Audi R8 owners, Nissan GT-R owners, Porsche and Ferrari folks.  They said, ‘The Viper doesn’t handle, it’s only a straight-line wonder, it’s hot inside, it’s badly made, it doesn’t have cruise control.’  It hurt my feelings, but we vowed that the new car would retain its signature rawness and purity, yet we’d bring it into the 21st century.”

Now, the 2012 Viper is the fastest, safest, and most expensive production Viper.  Ever.  VROOM!  Plus, it’s the most fuel-efficient Viper ever thanks to it’s all-aluminum 8.4 liter V10 churning out enough torque to make a Ford F550 jealous (600 lb-ft).  But, we can’t go on without mentioning the 640 horsepower.  Plus, the engine weighs 25 pounds less than before.  The Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission has tighter gear ratios than before.  This makes it a lot of fun on freeway on-ramps.  Instead of having to go from whatever gear you are from to second gear, now you can shift around a few gears.  The old final-drive ratio was 3.07, but it’s been retuned to be 3.55.  A 3.73 would be nice, but that would force them to have a 9-inch rear end which would be much too wide for the frame rails.  The car spent much of it’s development time in a wind tunnel.  Ruedisueli said that the car is currently a 0.364 Cd.  At least two-thirds of that are on the underbody to let the car go over 200 mph.  The data currently points to 206 mph!  VROOM!

Plus, Chrysler recently announced that they will (finally) return to racing.  Ruedisueli said, “We’re getting our arms around that right now.  The ALMS (American Le Mans Series) and Grand-Am are the obvious places.  It’s important that we build on the Viper’s racing heritage.  Our customers expect that, too.”  Dodge recently started work on three prototype 2012 Vipers that have been converted to ALMS specs.  Here’s what one looks like.

For some interesting facts on the Viper’s history, I will go generation by generation until 2009.  The 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10 sounded like a UPS truck, and Car & Driver’s Brock Yates called it the “world’s largest Fat Boy Harley!”  The 1996 Viper RT/10 was a bit better, but not by much – the Viper handled more like a high-performance race-car than a motorcycle with four wheels.  At least it had ABS. . .The 1997 Viper GTS evoked the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe so strongly that there was something of an outrage in the automotive world until Carroll Shelby came out and said that he had personally helped with the design.  It was true.  Just six years later, the first Viper SRT-10 came out.  It had a couple of creature comforts that one might call standard: a heated backrest and remote  door locks.  The 2006 Viper SRT10 was quite literally a car that could drive around a time bomb.  It stopped from 70 mph in only 159 feet (what it takes a Ford F150 Lariat to stop!) and flew around the skidpad with 0.98 g’s of grip.  The 2009 Viper SRT10 is one of the most memorable rides of the 21st century: the cabin was still hot (nice in winter, torture otherwise), the torque-sensing differential that made the car more stable and forgiving (carried over), and it had variable valve timing (still there) that helped boost power to 600 horsepower.  Plus, it took 3.6 seconds to get to 60 mph.  I have absolutely NO idea how fast the new car can go (however fast, it’s gonna be scary fast!).

You can check out the new Viper in showrooms around the beginning of November, or look at it on the SRT website at

See ya sucka!

What’s Fiat Times 500?

About twenty years ago, Fiat pulled out of the U.S. market because of the chintzy Fiat 500.  Let it be chintzy no more!  Zippy around town, the peppy Fiat 500 is making a comeback that should make you forget any memories of working under the tiny hood of the previous 500.  The 500 has an all-new (to us) 1.4 liter MultiAir engine that pumps out a meager-yet-peppy 101 horsepower (up to 160 in the sporty Abarth version) and a skimpy 98 lb-ft of torque.  It may not sound like a lot, but it’s definitely enough to “meet” with an officer of the law (read CHP…)!  All the reviews rave about the peppy engine and amazing five-speed manual (just add an extra speed, Fiat!).  Fiat recently brought over the amazing Fiat 500 Abarth, which has a 1.4 liter MultiAir engine pumping out a mighty 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque.  Mated to a smooth, quick-shifting five-speed manual.  Oh, and did I mention 0-60 mph in 6.87 seconds!  VROOM!  The engine has an extremely wide rev band (fuel cutoff is at a screaming 8200 RPM!) that, when in Sport mode, will give max torque at 6500 RPM.  The Abarth has a lower, beefier suspension than the normal 500, which makes it a lot of fun in the twisties.  Plus, it has a new muffler that makes the tiny four-banger sound like a Nissan 370Z V6, not a weedwacker!  The Detroit Bureau saw the Abarth go all the way up to a steady 153 mph at Spring Mountain Motorsports Park’s 2-mile dragstrip.  The normal 500 can barely manage 117.  If you want a peppy car for under $30,000, and you’re only planning on having two people in the car at all times, than the Fiat 500 Abarth might just be for you.  Plus, there’s a $2,500 engine upgrade that boosts power to 200.  And the Abarth is a great car for the daily commute and a weekend warrior.  How about it? I even “built” an Abarth for you on Fiat’s website that will only make you pay $25,950!

Fiat has worked really hard to erase any bad feelings about their owning the Chrysler Corporation.  They recently redesigned the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 (awesome job, guys!), plus they redesigned the Dodge Durango and they also freshened the Chrysler Sebring (now Chrysler 200) and the Dodge Avenger.  Just to top that off, they redesigned the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and freshened the rest of the Jeep line.  If that wasn’t enough, they just brought back the SRT (previously Dodge) Viper.  Nice!

I almost forgot to mention that Fiat is health-conscious!  They’ve got a Fiat 500 Pink Ribbon Edition, to promote breast cancer awareness!  I’ve attached the link for the main Fiat USA website below.