Thursday, January 26, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Oh, the Things You'll See!

The things you see when perusing the internet for something else entirely.  How is it possible that I've gone this long and never knew this existed?  (Although to be fair, only about a half-dozen sites have re-posted the picture from the original Brinks site.)


That Brinks truck is built on a 1969 International Scout 800A.  Quite a departure from the behemoths they usually wield.  The only thing that could be smaller and yet still viable would be a Jeep, but that would be just plain silly.  But wait...

ABS Jeep

In this Dennis Brearley photo, that's a J. Tom Moore & Sons built armored car on a Jeep CJ-5, owned by the Armored Banking Service of Lynn, Massachusetts.  That arrow in the window is pointing to a bullet hole received on July 26, 1966 during a daring—and sucessful—robbery.

The Boston area was having a spate of armored car robberies—this being the fourth since May 26, all believed to be committed by the same gang.  In this case, two Armored Banking Service guards were delivering money to the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Jamaica Plain and had just exited their vehicle when a blue panel truck pulled up in back of them.  Three men wearing ski masks jumped out and began shooting machineguns, hitting both guards from behind—one guard in the left thigh and the other in the lower back.  Other rounds sprayed the front of the hospital, shattering windows and hitting the switchboard room and an employee's lounge, but no one else was injured.  The bandits grabbed the money bags that the guards had dropped and fled the scene in the panel truck, which was found abandoned about a mile away.  Because this last holdup occurred on government property, the FBI was called in in the case.  It was the second hit on the Armored Banking Service.

So the Armored Banking Service seems to beat Brinks in the diminutive dough-delivery device dare.  But wait - there's more!  Eleven years earlier...


This Tom Baffer photo for the New York Daily News show burlesque dancer Evelyn West being escorted out of a Brinks Willys surplus M38-based armored car.  The picture had as the original caption:
Photo shows Evelyn (Treasure Chest) West arriving at the Fifth Ave. Jewelers Exchange in an armored car.  She has on $1,000,000 in jewelry which she will wear during her performance at the Adams Theatre in Newark.  Armed Guard is Jim Donahue.
Evelyn "$50,000 Treasure Chest" West (she insured her breasts for $50,000 through Lloyd's of London), aka The Hubba-Hubba Girl,was one for stunts—this one thought up by her agent.


Oh, and the M38 has a one-inch shorter wheelbase than the CJ-5, so Brinks wins.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Not On The Nightstand

Ah, the Mysterions of life.

Came across notices for these—one right after the other.  The first was plugged on Instapundit, and the second reviewed at Hemmings.  Neither one is in my book stack, or on my "must have" list.  I just found the coincidence thought provoking as both books are about rediscovery.

Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith edited by Donald S Crankshaw and Kristin Janz
Ed Roth's Mysterion: The Genesis, Demise and Recreation of an Iconic Custom Car by Jeffery A. Jones

Monday, January 9, 2017

Corvette Winter

Photo by L. Gray Tuttle

I was listening to the Kim Komando Show on Saturday when she mentioned that the 2017 rendition of the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction is happening this coming weekend.

(Alas and alack, I shall be some 270 miles to the west, officiating at the 19th Annual IVLHA Civil War Live Five Competition—running Infantry companies through the Maneuver-And-Shoot, Fire-By-File, Company Sharpshooter, Company Volley (Hand-Of-Death), and Combined Assault contests, while making sure that they don't get trampled by the Cavalry or get their heads blown off by the Artillery.  Did I mention that it's a Live Fire competition?  But I digress.)

Anyway, hearing about the auction reminded me that one of the most anticipated lots (#5054) crossing the stage in 2015 was a 1953 Corvette—the 211th Corvette made, which happens to also be the earliest known Corvette race car.  Both the 1953 model and a 1955 version were ordered to be updated to the 1956 racing configuration.

The photo above shows the cars on the beach at Daytona after completion and painting (see the Build Order below), but before the application of stripes, numbers, and sponsor decals. That's the 1953 211 car on the left with Bill France, Jr. at the wheel, and it's racing stablemate—the 1955 Corvette VIN #1399—on the right with Joe Hawkins in the drivers position.  The model's names are unknown to me.

Build Order
Corvette 211 is on the left in this shot taken at the at Martinsville Speedway.
That is not one of the Battlebirds on the line in this NASCAR Convertible Division race.
Photo owned by Doris Nuckles

Corvette 211 restored.  From The Motorhead

On January 10, 2015 Tom Jensen, writing for, posted this commentary:
This car was verified as authentic and comes with extensive documentation, including Chevrolet Engineering build orders, photos and newspaper articles.

"This is the earliest known Corvette to run NASCAR’s sanctioned events … and the earliest known Corvette to ever race thus ‘A Pioneer of Speed’ … and a fascinating chapter of Corvette and NASCAR history!" reads the catalog description.

That it unquestionably is.

To recap: The first NASCAR Corvette ever built; once owned by Chevrolet and by NASCAR; built by three-time Indy 500 winner Mauri Rose; delivered to Smokey Yunick; raced by Junior Johnson, Herb Thomas and Bobby Myers around the dirt tracks around the Carolinas.  Yes, folks, this one checks all the boxes.

As such, it ought to command huge money when it sells.

And one can’t help but wonder if it might be an attractive acquisition target for NASCAR team owner and avid collector Rick Hendrick.  We’ll find out next Saturday.
We did not find out.  Corvette 211 did not meet reserve.



(Classical allusion in headline. I love me some Annie Potts.)

On The Nightstand 1/9/17

Read two YA books last night.  With the Kidlette 2 going on 13, I have to keep up with what the cool kids are reading.

Drama Absent
Drama by Raina Telgemeier; with color by Gurihiru
Absent by Katie Williams

Drama—Brought pack memories of being on the stage crew my senior year in high school.  Kinda bummed that the musical (Moon Over Mississippi) in the story isn't real.  Not too many (read none) Civil War plays these days.  And with a cannon!  Some controversy over a gay character or two, but seriously, it is musical theater—as Nathan Lane once said, "You do the math."  Will be looking for her first one (Smile) and her latest one (Sisters).

Absent—Perhaps a tad too dark and poignant given personal family history, but intriguing enough to seek out her first effort (The Space Between Trees) as well.

Cow Chow Comment

My 2¢ worth of commentary on D. Chadwick's post over at Shorpy

Saturday, January 7, 2017

On The Nightstand 1/7/17

Just finished:


The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo
by Juan Reinaldo Sanchez with Axel Gylden.

Fire Engine Flambé


My latest comment over on Shorpy about the "Aftermath of the April 18, 1906, San Francisco earthquake and fire" can be found here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

I Can Get Away With a Lot, But Not This


Original caption:
1966 – Vintage Car In The Gidding’s Drawing Room: For three months Mrs. Christine Giddings has had the bits and pieces of a vintage motor car cluttering up her best drawing room.  Her car enthusiast husband, Peter, is assembling a car in which he hopes to race, and the only suitable place he had to be it as drawing room.  Scheduled to be finished in April, the car will have to be taken down again to get it out of the Giddings Old Portslade, Sussex, home.  The chassis is built from vintage Frazer–Nash parts and the engine is pure Atlanta–Gough [sic]*.  When It’s finished, the car will have cost Mr. Giddings over £250—not counting the hours of labour he has put into it himself—but he hopes that it will do a maximum speed of 120 mph when it’s on the road.  Christine gets on with her knitting in an arm–chair in the drawing room—while Peter gets on with the car.

From Peter Giddings Racing:
In 1959 Peter began his racing adventures in a 1928 Frazer Nash.  This car cost around U.S. $500, and gave a great account of itself at circuits and hillclimbs such as Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Goodwood, Crystal Palace, Oulton Park, Firle, Bodiam, and Wiscombe.  The Frazer Nash developed 115 bhp, weighed 1100 pounds, had no differential, and provided neck snapping performance.  It was driven to events in all kinds of weather, as the Frazer Nash was his only form of transportation at that time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Helluva of a Houseboat

SMS Kaiser
The SMS Kaiser was refloated on March 20, 1929 by the Cox & Danks company after they purchased the battleship, which had been scuttled by her German crew on June, 21 1919 at Scapa Flow.  It was towed to Rosyth for scrapping.

On The Nightstand

Busy, busy, busy.  New Kidlette, new grandson, new house, new scooter.  And lots and lots of new books and magazines.  Cut me some slack.

Here's what I've been reading since early November:

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Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt by Arthur T. Vanderbilt II
Tom Clancy Duty and Honor by Grant Blackwood
Door to Door: The Magnificent Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation by Edward Humes*

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Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson*
Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk**
The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes
by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Jeffrey E. Stern

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Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money, and Murder in New York's Chinatown by Scott D. Seligman
The White Ghost by James R. Benn
The Wrong Side Of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

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The Lost German Slave Girl: The Extraordinary True Story of Sally Miller and Her Fight for Freedom in Old New Orleans
by John Bailey
Officially Dead: The Story of Commander C. D. Smith by Quentin Reynolds
Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood

*Recommended by Joe Sherlock.  His book reviews for 2016 can be found here.

Other books recommended by him that I've read this year are:

Car Crazy: The Battle for Supremacy between Ford and Olds and the Dawn of the Automobile Age by G. Wayne Miller (a copy of which was gifted to me by Jesse—Thanks again!).

Car Wars: The Rise, the Fall, and the Resurgence of the Electric Car by John J. Fialka.

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris (actually reviewed in 2015, but I didn't get around to reading it until this year).

Also on his recommendation I purchased:

Prestige, Status and Works of Art: Selling The Luxury Car 1888-1942 by Thomas Solley.

The Man Who Saved The V-8 by Chase Morsey, Jr. (bought from Autobooks-Aerobooks).

**She's not crazy.  Her mother had her tested.