In 1935, officials at Allegheny Ludlum Steel Division and the Ford Motor Company collaborated on an experiment that would become a legacy and a tribute to one of the most dynamic metals ever developed. Allegheny Ludlum, a pioneer producer of stainless steel, proposed the idea of creating a stainless steel car to Ford. The idea took shape in the form of a 1936 Deluxe Sedan.That car became the centerpiece of a campaign to expose the public to the new metal and its many uses.
This is the 1936 Ford Tudor Sedan built for and owned by Allegheny Ludlum Steel. This is 1 of only 4 in existence and is the only one currently in running and in road worthy condition.
The jaw-dropping beauty offered here is one of that tiny production run, recently restored by Lon Kruger, one of the world’s best restorers. The car utilizes the standard 221/85 HP flathead mated to a 3-speed manual and working Columbia overdrive, and has been driven just 18 miles since its restoration.
These cars were built for Allegheny as promotional and marketing projects. The top salesmen each year were given the honor of being able to drive them for one year. The V-8 engine (max 85 hp) ran like a sewing machine and was surprisingly smooth and quiet.
FYI, the car was insured (we were told) for the trip to Louisville via covered trailer for US1.5 million dollars. We were also told that the dies were ruined by stamping the stainless car parts, making these the last of these cars ever produced.
In April 1965, a Bill Mitchell-designed concept hit the stage at the New York Auto Show. Though no one in attendance could know it at the time, this car, dubbed the Mako Shark II, would go on to predict not just the shape of the third-generation Corvette, but also an astonishing number of features that would eventually appear on other cars.
Like the original Mako Shark, which foretold the styling of the second-generation Corvette, the Mako Shark II featured lines that were said to be influenced by creatures of the deep. In recognition of this, the concept bore the same blue-fading-to-gray paint seen on the original Mako Shark concept, but that’s really where the external similarities ended. The Mako Shark II’s nose was lower and pointed to a sharper angle, while its muscular front fenders were taller and perhaps even more exaggerated. Instead of a twin-bubble roof, the Mako Shark II’s roof was nearly flat, but flowed rearward to form a boattail shape on the high rear decklid. Louvers, reminiscent of gills, shaded the rear window (and as those who drove the concept admitted, largely eliminated rear visibility), and this theme was further explored on front fender vents and on cornering lamp covers. Behind the scenes, however, there was some sleight of hand going on, as the Mako Shark II was built on a chassis liberated from a Mako Shark I show car.
Two Mako Shark II cars were ultimately constructed, and the concept that made its appearance in New York was nothing more than a rolling, non-functional show car. Its square-tube, oval-exit side exhaust was little more than window dressing, and its airplane-style square-corner steering wheel would have been less than ideal for road use. While both design elements were bold and futuristic, neither made it into the second Mako Shark II concept, a fully functional automobile that was completed in time for the 1965 Paris Auto Show.
Under the flip-forward front clip (a design that would appear on the fourth-generation Corvette, launched in 1984), the Mako Shark II played host to Chevrolet’s new 427-cu.in. Mark IV V-8 engine, mated to a three-speed Turbo HydraMatic transmission. The big-block V-8 would debut in the 1966 Corvette (as well as other products in the Chevrolet model line, like the Biscayne, Caprice and Impala), but the soon-to-be-legendary engine made its first non-race appearance between the fenders of the Mako Shark II. Other features that would later appear on rival-brand products included a pair of access hatches, mounted alongside the hood, which permitted easy access to common service items (as later seen on the 1970 Datsun 240Z), and a variable-position rear spoiler assembly that could add downforce at high speed (seen on a variety of current models, ranging from the Porsche Boxster to the Bugatti Veyron).
To allow easier access to the car’s futuristic cockpit, the car’s rear-hinged roof tilted upward at the press of a button. Once inside, the driver sat in a seat that was fixed in position; instead of the seat moving forward to accommodate drivers of different dimensions, the steering wheel tilted down and telescoped rearward. Gas and brake pedals, along with the high beam dimmer switch, were mounted on a movable platform that adjusted to fit those of various length arms. While no automaker currently uses a fixed seat design, several companies (including GM) offer electrically adjustable pedals to optimize fit for drivers of all sizes.
The Mako Shark II’s forward thinking didn't end there. Both the fuel gauge and the speedometer were digital, foreshadowing a trend that would invade the industry in the 1980s before automakers realized that, when it comes to instrumentation, simple really is better. Wherever possible, the concept’s controls were recessed to maximize occupant safety in the event of an accident, a design that would soon become prevalent throughout the industry. Certain systems were even self-diagnosing: when one of the car’s six headlamps burned out, the driver received a warning of this on the instrument panel.
In both static display and functional prototype form, the Mako Shark II was a huge hit with car show attendees on both sides of the Atlantic. “Build it,” was the overwhelming response, and GM listened; its original plan was to put the car into production as the third-generation Corvette beginning in 1967, but the car’s innovative shape produced numerous issues during testing. Despite its low nose and high tail, the car developed issues with lift at high speed, leading to handling best described as “nervous,” even for experienced test drivers. Outward visibility from the driver’s seat was another issue, as the car’s sloping hood and tall front fenders conspired to block visibility to the front left and the front right. To the rear, visibility was all but nonexistent, thanks to the aforementioned louvers that covered the rear window. Though they were variable in pitch, even in the fully open position the slats gave just partial visibility to the rear, and this was further obscured by the concept’s tall decklid.
The necessary changes couldn’t be made in time for the 1967 model year, so the introduction of the third-generation Corvette was delayed until the 1968 model year. Unlike the second-generation Corvettes, which had adopted the Sting Ray name with a space between the words, the new Corvette originally came to market sans an aquatic moniker. That would change in 1969, when the name Stingray (with no space between the words) was once again used in association with the Corvette. The third-generation Corvette, which owes its existence to Bill Mitchell’s Mako Shark II concept, would end up being the longest-running Corvette variant, lasting until the 1982 model year.
Article courtesy of Hemings Daily, written by Kurt Ernst.
The 1960 DiDia 150 was a luxury, custom-designed iconic, handmade car also known as the "Dream Car" forever associated with its second owner, singer Bobby Darin. The car was designed by Andrew Di Dia, a clothing designer, who Bobby Darin had met whilst on tour in Detroit in 1957. Darin told Di Dia at the time that he would purchase the car if he ever "hit it big”. For seven years, from 1953 to 1960 the DiDia 150 was hand-built by four workers, at a cost of $93,647.29 but sold to Darin in 1961 at a cost of over $150,000 (1.5 million today). At the time the car was listed as most expensive 'custom-made' car in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. The body was hand-formed by Ron Clark and constructed by Bob Kaiser from Clark Kaiser Customs.
Its metallic red paint was made with 30 coats of ground diamonds for sparkle. Built in Detroit, Michigan, clothing designer Andrew 'Andy' Di Dia designed this "unrestrained and unconventional" automobile. Only one example was ever built.
The normal V8 engine is located at the front with an engine displacement of 365/427. It has rear-wheel drive, and the body and chassis is hand-formed from 064 aluminum with a 125-inch wheelbase alloy tube frame.
The design included the first backseat-mounted radio speakers and hidden windshield wipers, that started themselves when it rained. Other features include retractable headlamps, rear indicators that swivel as the car turns, 'floating' bumpers and a trunk that was hinged from the driver's side. Each of the four bucket seats have their own thermostatically controlled air conditioning, individual cigarette lighters and ashtrays, as well as a radio speaker. The original engine, a Cadillac V8, was later replaced by a 427 high-performance engine by Ford when it was taken on the show circuit.
Darin drove his wife, Sandra Dee, in the car to the 34th Academy Awards in 1961. When Bobby drove the car to the Academy Awards, Andrew Di Dia and Steve Blauner followed behind him in a limousine. The car had two fans and a switch that you had to turn on. Bobby didn't realize this, so it heated up. All the magazines said the car caught fire but it didn't. Di Dia toured the car around the country, when Darin wasn't using it for public appearances.
After publicity and film use, Darin donated his "Dream Car" to the St Louis Museum of Transportation in 1970 where it remains.
With a massive laundry list of upgrades and customizations, it’s easy to take pride in your hot rod. With that pride, usually, comes a desire to show off what you’ve done. You’ve tossed those sexy billet roller rockers on your small block, but what happens when you slap the valve cover over the top of them? In the dark they go, just clicking away as they do their job. Clear Vue Concepts has introduced a way to show off your valve train with a clear valve cover “made from space age materials”.
The clear valve cover concept is more than just a show piece. Racers and street drivers alike can use them to quickly identify any issues in the valvetrain without having to first remove the cover. In addition to the visual aspects, the company states the plastic dissipates heat far more efficiently than any other material, including aluminum. The engine oil rolls off the inside of the cover quickly, leaving a clear view of the rockers.
Clear Vue Concepts has taken the extra steps and had the valve covers certified for use in all Sportsman classes in the NHRA using gasoline engines, including supercharged and turbocharged applications. Though Clear Vue does not recommend using their covers with methanol supercharged engines.
“The idea for such products has been around for many years, and has been attempted in the past with inferior results and failures,” states Clear Vue. “Our desire to provide these types of products fueled innovative thinking to solve problems that have proved elusive to other manufacturers. Those problems have been overcome using proprietary materials and systems, and Clear Vue Concepts has patent pending protection for these productions.”
With one model available at the moment for Chevy small blocks, Clear Vue Concepts is working on furthering their product line to cover Chevy big blocks, clear carburetor spacers and clear thermostat housings. For more info, visit www.clearvueconcepts.com.
Article courtesy of Chevy Hardcore, written by Jake Headlee.