Mustangs, Mosins, and more…

28 July 2014
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Wow, it’s hot and humid out here this week.   We’ve been having temperatures in the very 90s and low 100s, and it’s been humid.   Not a good combination.   Several folks were struck by lightning in So Cal this weekend, which has never happened in the 30+ years I’ve been in California.

The bottom line is me and the boss (the one I have at home) have been laying low and trying to stay cool.   We took a ride out to the plant today and I grabbed a couple of photos…the first one includes three bikes from Steve’s stable of super sleek Mustangs…

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….and the next one is the one you all keep asking about…a photo of our magnificent Mustang model and manufacturing maven, Miss Lupe…

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Sunday night Steve and I and our two bosses (you know who I’m talking about) had a great dinner, and on the way home one of the new Dodge Challengers passed us, and then within a minute a new Shelby Mustang passed by, too.   That morphed into a discussion about great American cars.   Steve likes Mopars, and I’m a GM man.   I had wanted a Vette all my life and 11 years ago I finally pulled the trigger.    I’ll never sell that car.  In fact, I may write into my will that when my time comes, just find a good taxidermy man and stuff me.   Put me on display in my Z-06.   If you can get that guy to stuff me with baloney and motorize my fingers, I’ll keep writing the blog, too.

Anyway, my comment to Steve was that the most beautiful car ever made anywhere in the world was the ’67 big block Corvette.   Wow, I used to drool over those things.   I could have bought one new in ’67 for $5K (of course, to me in 1967, $5k was an inconceivable amount of money).   Those same cars trade hands today for well over a quarter of million dollars.   Ah, who knew?

Well, whaddaya know, when I got home and tuned into Facebook (the greatest time suck in the history of the world), one of my friends had posted this video…

That is pretty cool stuff, folks.

One last thing…staying inside with the air conditioning running full bore 24/7 in all of this heat has been boring.   With a bad case of cabin fever and my Mosin-Nagant antique rifle fascination, I started a new website focused on those magnificent old Russian infantry weapons.  I bought my own domain name (www.Mosin-Nagant.us) for the princely sum of $4.99, put it on line, and within the first few hours I had over 1,000 hits!   Owing to the synchronicity of interests (lots of shooters ride, and vice versa), I think I’ll add a link to the CSC motorcycle site, too!

That’s it for now, folks.  Ride safe, stay cool, and watch out for the lightning bolts!

 

Catching up…

26 July 2014
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…on the news, I suppose.   Hmmm….

Folks, do not try this on your CSC motorcycle!

 

An interesting set of emails…

23 July 2014
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…and some cool Colt photos!  It seems my photos of the Colt a few blogs down prompted our good buddy and trusted advisor Jimbo to alert his friend Tom, who forwarded photos of his Colt!

So, without further ado, here’s Jim’s email to me and the string of Jim and Tom emails…

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Joe:

Here’s an interesting email story that should be told…Tom Lawson gave me permission to send it on for your use…Tom is our kind of guy!

Cheers!

Jimbo

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Thanks, Jim!  I will follow that Blog!

As promised, here are some photos of my little Colt!  Enjoy!

All the best,

Tom

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Tom:

I noticed a good photo of the early Colt on the CSC Blog today..In case you don’t follow the Blog, here’s the pic!

Regards!

Jimbo

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Tom:

Again, thanks for your most interesting and the most beautiful Phaeton I have ever seen…Even the photography is awesome…I have filed them to share with others!

I think you should know that you are corresponding with an 83 year old “has been”…I grew up during the “heyday” of the evolution of the flat head Ford early Hot Rod era…I was fortunate to been able to hang out at a leading hot rod shop in Glendale California during my teen years and

leaned to “talk the talk and walk the walk”…Looking back, I’m surprised I survived it all…Then later 15 years at Mustang Motorcycle, building 10 bikes each day and testing thousands of them, it’s a wonder I’m sitting here writing this!..Oh yea, the stories I could tell you…Through all this I was closely associated with some very talented guys, geniuses actually and some of it rubbed off on me and I too developed skills and craftsmanship that later allowed me to build some projects that I too was very proud of so I know the “feeling”!

About the year 2000, I built a 1948 Ford truck muscle project that won many awards…I did all the work except the painting but I was probably the first to ever powder coat the entire truck, including the frame and cab…The powder coat was an ideal primer for the finish paint…I won the war over rust!…I recently sold the truck and it now resides in Auckland New Zealand…

I restored the 1961 Mustang my wife located  about 10 years ago and I did it my way!…After building thousands, I was not about to build another one with out personalizing it to fit me…

I’ll wait until you send the pics of your Colt before I send your story on..

Cheers!

Jimbo

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Well, Good Sunday Morning, Jim!

What a delightful response – you are right, we would likely have gotten into trouble had we met sooner!

After I wrote to you, I thought about it and I suspect that you are correct – all adjustable bars need to be adjustable is to cut off the bars, and weld a cradle on the forks for new bars.  My Dad, an avid mechanic might just have done that himself – knowing how he was (if it didn’t fit he made it fit) he may have actually been the culprit!

I suppose that makes my Colt a bit out of the ordinary and so I won’t ever win a Concours because the handle bars are wrong and of course the mufflers are not exactly correct, (and needless to say, the color isn’t right) but as you can see by the attached photos, I am a bit stymied by convention…(I just finished resurrecting the REATH Automotive Fiat Altered and I just got my dragster back from the NHRA Museum).  I have also attached some photos of my last Grand National Roadster Show Winning car a ’27 Chrysler Phaeton – it was originally the official parade car for Victoria Australia from 1927 through 1966 and I thought it would be better as a dual-quad Hemi -powered street rod.

This may confirm to you that I am a bit irreverent!  Cars and bikes were meant to be personalized – I have had 100-point Mopars, Pontiac’s, and most recently a 1951 Chris-Craft Mahogany Speedboat (if you want picky judges, just go out and restore a wooden speedboat) and all that I take away from ‘restoring’ scores of vehicles back to original is to realize why there is an aftermarket….BORRRR-ING!!!!

I will send you photos of my little Colt after I clean her up and get her running ( I took her home from my museum after I wrote you in order to get her fired up – I never even started her up after the last resto in 1996 –  that shows you how busy I’ve been!)

You are more than welcome to publish whatever you want – I was an MMCOA Member for years but somehow I dropped off of the list and never received a renewal request so I figured it went out of business, but now I see that it is still going so I will likely re-join.  I suppose I need to get my Colt in the Registry….

Anyway, Cheers, and I will get those Mustang photos to you soon.

Thanks again for your thoughtfulness, Jim!

Tom  

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Hi Tom:

Thank you for your very descriptive and enlightening message…Oh, how I wish I could have met you sooner…You are a man after my own heart! Oh the stories we could tell each other…

First the bad news!..I’m not expert on the original Colt models…I started with the company in 1949 and the Colts were no longer produced…However, there were a few left around so I can relate some…I remember Frankson Scooter Mart still…

I worked at the plant from 1949 to 1961 and I can  say with confidence that we never offered or made adjustable handlebars…I’m quite sure someone modified it to suit there needs… About ten years ago my wife located and bought me a 1961 Mustang Thoroughbred and the first thing I did was install adjustable handlebars because I’m 6’4″ tall…I still have it and it brings back fond memories…I remember the “fish tail” mufflers…They were chrome plated and dressed the bike up nicely…Again. I’m sorry i can not help with this either…

Tom, you’ve told me an amazing story and I would love to share it with the Mustang Club members…If you agree, a photo or two of your one of a kind Colt would be a good read for the boys…Perhaps some member could help you with some answers…I would also like to send it to the CSC Blog, a dynamic web site that caters to small bike happenings…

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Cheers!

Jimbo

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Hi, Jim,

My Dad bought my 1946 Mustang Colt, used in 1949 from Frankson Scooter Mart in Glendale. We lived in Hastings Ranch in Pasadena, all of my early life so it regularly ferry’d my Dad and I up to Crystal Lake to go fishin’ when I was a tyke – I rode on the rear fender wedge buddy seat, feet on the axle nuts holding the bag with the Peanut Butter & Jelly & Lettuce Sandwiches and the two fishing poles with one hand and my other hand holding onto Dad’s belt up Azusa Canyon Road and all the way through High School, my trusty Mustang was there for me.  In one of the many restorations I did on the bike, I even won the Pasadena High School Car show in my Junior Year (1972) with it.

A few years back, I painted it House of Kolor, Gold-Base Kandy Apple Red, chromed the chain guard, battery box, pipes, mufflers & wheels;  polished the exhaust manifolds put Camel-colored leather on the seat and it sits in my car museum in terrific company.  I’m sure Dave Coffman, who tried to buy the bike once or twice over the years and other aficionados like yourself, Al Simmons or Roy Stone would strangle me for customizing my Colt, but to me, it is a member of the family, and let’s face it, Model 1’s weren’t the best looking bikes with those ugly cream-colored wheels and non-descript black everything else.  Trust me when I tell you, my Kandy Apple Red & Chrome Colt is a very Bitchin’ looking little bike and sucks people to it like white on rice!

I don’t know who else to ask (I asked Ed Justice of the Justice Brother’ Museum in Duarte, CA – another proud owner of a Model 1 Colt [who, by the way needs a front fender for his Colt] and he didn’t know) but might you know why my Colt has adjustable handlebars and what my Dad always called “butterfly” mufflers (that look almost identical to the original mufflers but have a tapered chromed acorn nut in between the flattened exhaust exits, and why is the top of the flattened exit on the top, about an inch longer that the lower flattened exit and with a much more graceful windswept look to them than the originals?

I assume that the mufflers may be an aftermarket addition by the owner that sold it to Frankson Scooter Mart, but I can’t seem to find out why the handlebars on all other Colt’s I’ve seen are fixed to the front forks, and mine has chromed bars sitting in cradles with chromed caps on them, and fully adjustable.  The front fork vertical springs are there but the bars are removable and it is the only Colt I’ve seen that way.

Any ideas?  Let me know if you need to see photos, and I’ll send you some.

Thanks in advance and Greetings from The Peoples’ Republic of Kalifornia,

All the best,

Tom

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Very cool stuff, guys, and Jimbo and Tom, thanks for those great Colt photos!

 

Good wood, the match, and more…

23 July 2014
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We have what has to be one of the fanciest gunstores I’ve ever been in right around the corner from the California Scooter Company factory.   Tucked away in an industrial park with no signs to identify it, this retail establishment offers very high end shotguns and hunting rifles, with the emphasis clearly on the ultra-high-end firearms.   These were toys with price tags ranging from $32,000 to $95,000!

IMG_1201-325As you know, my friend and motorcycle buddy Paul was down here for a few days for our Mosin-Nagant match, and while he was here, Paul wanted to see the CSC operation and “a few nice gun stores in your neighborhood.”  Paul thought the CSC operation, the CSC bikes, and Steve’s Mustang collection was top drawer (hey, who wouldn’t?), and it just worked out that we had time for a stop at the shotgun place I mentioned above.

You know, the owner of that place also collects vintage bikes, and I’m going to ask him if I can grab a few photos of the Gileras, Ducatis, BSAs, Harleys, and other cool iron he has at the store.   He has really nice stuff, and I’ll bet he’ll say okay, so keep an eye on the blog for some real vintage two-wheeled toys.

You’ll want to keep an eye on the blog for another reason, too, but I can’t tell you any more about that yet.  Not yet, anyway.   But when you see it…wow!  So stay tuned, my friends.   Steve is about to rock the motorcycle world again.  Trust me on this…it will be good!

I promised you guys a few photos from the Mosin match last weekend, and let me tell you, it was a hoot.   I have been unofficially designated as the world’s greatest Mosin salesman due to my ability to get others pumped up about these vintage Russian rifles, and we had a number of the newly-converted participate (including my buddy Paul and my daughter Erica) .    These rifles are cool, they’re inexpensive, and they’ve been in storage for decades (like since the end of World War II in many cases).   When they come out of the box, they’re caked in cosmoline, and part of the fun is cleaning them up to find out what’s hidden beneath all that goo!   As Robert Duvall said in Apocalypse Now, I love the smell of cosmoline in the morning (or something like that)…

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So, enough with the gabbing…let’s see some more of these photos!

Here’s one of the crew at the target line.  Paul provided the zombie targets.   Hey, it was a fun match!   If you look closely, you’ll see our good buddy and CSC rider Duane in that mix (he’s third from the left)…

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My buddies Greg and Tyler, a father and son team…

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My daughter Erica, proving the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree…

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Hollister Paul, the original Wild One and good friend for more than six decades, with his sniper Mosin…

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On the firing line, defending Stalingrad…

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That’s it for now, folks.   We’re off on some errands, so I’ve got to run.   Ride safe, and like they say, Держите порох сухим!

 

A pair spanning 50 years…

22 July 2014
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Well, approximately 50 years…check out this vintage red Mustang from Steve’s collection…

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And here’s one of my Baja Blaster out in Death Valley…

Ah, fun times.

The heat out here is oppressive and it’s getting hotter…the forecast for the weekend is 106 degrees!   But I’m still going to get out and get my knees in the breeze…or maybe the broiler!

More photos to follow later today, folks.

 

45 years ago today….

21 July 2014
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I was glued to the television set, along with my folks and probably a zillion other people…

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Did you watch Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the moon on live TV, too?  Heady times, and it was awesome being able to see it as it occurred.

Armstrong passed away a couple of years ago.  I used to work for a guy who actually knew him (that would be Admiral Gordon Smith), and the Admiral said Armstrong was quite a man.    Shoot, he walked on the moon!  How could he not be?

Trying to tie Armstrong to something related to motorcycles went nowhere for me, but I did find that he owned a ’67 big block Corvette…and this was the actual car…

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Back in the day General Motors gave each astronaut two cars every year (product placement, anyone?), and most astronauts chose a Corvette for themselves and a station wagon or sedan for the family.   Armstrong fit the mold and he chose a Vette (if there can such a thing as a mold for a man who walked on the moon).   The Vette you see above was auctioned on Ebay a while back.   It reached a cool $250,000, but it wasn’t high enough to reach the seller’s reserve so the car didn’t sell.   I wonder where it is now.

It’s hot out here today, folks, with a forecast in the mid 100′s for the coming weekend.   Wow!   Too hot to ride?   Well, we’ll just have to see about that!

 

A Pair of Colts…

21 July 2014
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I’ve been off on another secret mission, folks, and this one was in Charlotte, North Carolina.   Lots of time in an airplane again, lots of thunderstorms, and boy oh boy, is the economy ever booming down there.   Good times.   But I’m back, and one of my first things after I returned was to swing by the plant and grab some photos….and the focus was on a couple of stunning Mustangs.   Steve has two original (and fully restored) Mustangs in his collection…and like the title of this blog says, they are a pair of Colts.  The first is an original 1947 Colt, the very first Mustang model…

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With 10-inch wheels, a 125cc 2-stroke Villiers, and classy looks, that first Mustang model was tiny.  Villiers cut off the supply of engines after only a little more than a year of Mustang production.   That was a good thing…it mandated a complete redesign that led to the incorporation of 12-inch wheels and the Mustang format we know today.   It’s the one our CSC motorcycles are patterned after today, and it’s a classic look.

Back in the day, though, Mustang wanted to get back to a value-engineered version of their Mustang, which led to the introduction of a new model Colt in 1956…

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Value-engineered to include undamped Earles-style forks and a centrifugal clutch rather than a transmission, I think the new Colt looked great.   The public didn’t agree, and word has it that the Mustang factory didn’t like it, either.   The new Colt had lots of problems and it was discontinued in 1957 after a short 2-year production run.   The colors were great, though, and Steve’s ’57 Colt really glows (as the photo above shows).

MaverickSo, with today’s blog title (“A Pair of Colts…”), you probably thought this blog was going to be about six-shooters of the Old West.

Nope, not today, folks, although firearms are still playing a prominent role in my life.   We had our informal Mosin-Nagant match yesterday and it was a hoot. The Mosin-Nagants are those vintage Russian rifles I’ve written about before.   I’ll post some photos of the match later, but let me mention now that it was a blast.

My Old West thoughts have been on the passing of one of my all-time favorite actors, James Garner.   I’d say I liked him, but that would be obvious…everyone did.

We first were introduced to Mr. Garner in his role on the Maverick television series.   I never missed that show…a riverboat and western gambler making his way through life playing cards and talking smooth…my kind of guy.   In fact, as I write this, I can hear the music from that show playing in my mind.   It was a classic.   Then there were many more roles, including the ones Mr. Garner played in The Great Escape, The Rockford Files, and many, many more.   Rest in Peace, Jim.

That’s it for now, folks.   I’ll be swinging by the plant later today for more photos after having an absolutely dynamite weekend.   Our friend Pauly was down here and we sure had a lot of fun…but more on that later.  Ride safe and keep the shiny side up!

 

Classic cars…

11 July 2014
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Love these…a ’57 Studebaker and a ’57 Thunderbird…brought to you courtesy of my trusty iPhone…

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Any guesses where I shot this photo?

 

Remember this one?

11 July 2014
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Amazing what used to pass for entertainment in those days.   As a teenager, I don’t think I missed a single episode of the Then Came Bronson series.

Having ridden a Harley in sand three decades or so after that opening Bronson scene was filmed, I can tell you those bikes don’t jump like you see in the video above.

That scene at the end while riding the Pacific Coast Highway?   That’s the famous Bixby Bridge on the PCH south of Monterey, and I grabbed a few photos of it several years ago on a motorcycle ride…

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When I first moved to California back in ’79, I was overwhelmed with feelings of deja vu everywhere I went on my old Harley (I covered a lot of ground on that ’79 Electra Glide back in the day…I went all over southern California and beyond).

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Beasts gone by…my ’79 Electra Glide Classic. I called her the Optical Illusion, because she looked like a motorcycle.

Then I realized…I’d grown up seeing the scenes I was now riding through on my Harley.   I’d seen many of those same places watching TV as a kid back in New Jersey.  They were on shows like Then Came BronsonThe Rockford Files, and many others.

Okay, enough of the memory lane stuff…later, my friends.

 

More photos…

10 July 2014
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Ah, just having a little fun shooting things, folks…with the Nikon, the iPhone, and the Garand.

Susie and I stopped by the plant today and had a nice chat with the boss.   Steve found a comfortable spot (on one of his classic original Mustangs), and while Susie was telling him the many ways in which I had been remiss lately, the Nikon just kind of found its way into my hands and I grabbed this shot…

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Susie has a couple of weeks off and we’ve been just kind of putting around.  We fired  the Vette up this past weekend intending to the visit the Patton Museum out in the desert (what with it having been the 4th of July weekend and all), but it was just too hot.   As we rolled through Palm Springs on Interstate 10, the Corvette’s thermometer told us it was 114 degrees out there.   Yikes!

The temperature scared us a bit, and so did the traffic headed back toward Los Angeles on the other side of the freeway.  All of the river rats were heading home from the 3-day weekend.   So, we chickened out, turned around, and pointed the Vette back toward home.   Just as well, I suppose.   That heat was brutal.

The 4th of July weekend always gets me to thinking about the Greatest Generation and the sacrifices they made for us.   The Patton Museum is a good tribute to what happened in World War II.   It’s about two thirds of the way across California heading toward the Arizona border, located right at the Chiriaco Summit.

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That’s not my photo above, but one of these days I’ll get out there again and grab some good ones for you.   They’ve got a bunch of cool old armored vehicles outside (like that Sherman shown above), and a bunch of even cooler stuff indoors.   It’s a great place and it’s definitely worth a visit.

My interest in things from the war years includes the small arms of that era, and a couple of years ago I bought a Garand rifle.   Old “Blood and Guts” Patton called the Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised,” and that sure is a good description.   When I wore the uniform the Army had already gone to the M-16 (which never felt like a real rifle to me), so when I saw the Garand at a dealer I grabbed it most rickety scosh (loosely translated from Korean, that means “real fast”).

The problem with my Garand, though, was that it didn’t feed reliably (you know, it didn’t always chamber the next round).  It fired okay, but there wasn’t enough gas pressure to force the action all the way back to shove the next round into the chamber.   Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.  My buddy Pauly (who knows more about guns than anyone I’ve ever known) diagnosed it as a gas cylinder problem (that’s a consumable wear part on these rifles).   Pauly found me a place to order a GI service-grade gas cylinder, I ordered it online, and after installing the new part, my Garand was humming the way ol’ John Garand intended.  My daughter Erica even grabbed this photo of me firing it, and she caught the ejected cartridge case in mid-air with her iPhone’s camera!

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And speaking of Pauly and the guys, we’re having the next big shooting event the weekend after next…a rifle match at the gun club and a BBQ at my place the night before.   The guys are bringing their World War II military surplus rifles and it should be a hoot.  I’ll grab some photos for you.   And Duane and Twin Peaks Steve, if you’re reading this, we’d like to see you guys there, too!

That’s it for now, folks.  Ride safe!

 

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