Friday, August 26, 2016

The Barney Oldfield Wristwatch...Bigger Than A Cylinder Head!?

Barney Oldfield needs no introduction. 
The man who ran old 999, set records almost every weekend, it seems, and was never without his trusty stogie, while racing or relaxing.
But whilst perusing the old newspapers of the day, I came across this picture, 



wherein Mr. Oldfield is showing off a gift "wristwatch", which judging from the size of it, is the forerunner to the largest Panerai watch built, or a pocket watch affixed to his wrist.

It turns out this gift turned up for auction a few years ago. It's a beauty, and went for a modest $23,000 dollars. It was a pocket watch after all, in 18kt gold, with a stunning design.

C. Four-body, "demi-bassine", solid, polished, monogrammed case back, hinged gold cuvette with inscription: “Barney Oldfield by David G. Joyce – May 30th 1916”. D. White enamel with painted Arabic numerals, outer minute and outermost chronograph divisions, sunk subsidiary dials for the seconds and the 30-minute register. Gold “Louis XVI" hands. M. Cal. 17''', maillechort, “fausses-côtes” decoration, 39 jewels, straight line counterpoised lever escapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance, blued steel Breguet balance spring, “swan-neck” micrometer regulator, visible chronograph works, repeating on gongs by activating slide on the band. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam. 46 mm.Patek Philippe & Cie, Genève, No. 157153, case No. 270682. Made circa 1915 for Spaulding & Co., Chicago and presented to Barney Oldfield in 1916. Very fine, keyless, minute-repeating, 18K yellow gold pocket watch with split-seconds chronograph and register.

Patek's are top-shelf, unique watches, and this gift was no simple door prize. I have a feeling that the benefactor might have made a dollar or two betting on the outcome of a couple of Barney's races.

Barney Oldfield was one of a kind; a racer, Broadway designer, a movie cameo man, and one lucky guy who could flaunt a gold watch the size of a piston! 


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The 1956 Packard Clipper...Wristwatch?



The ubiquitous symbol of the mid-1950's Packard Clipper was the ship steering wheel, and was presented in their advertising, tchotchkes, and car emblems.



And occasionally, one runs across a pre-1950's, Packard-emblazoned wristwatch, that was used for promotion, employee recognition, etc... 




There was also an early-20th century Indian company that produced a run with the Packard name.


But this wristwatch is a puzzler. It's not a cheapie, run-of-the-mill "club special", it has a nice Valjoux Swiss movement, and sharp Heuer-inspired chronograph design.


The "Packard" lettering has a different fade, suggesting an-add on, but even the back of the watch is professionally inscribed "PACKARD".


The kicker is that this watch was put together LONG after the demise of the Packard Motor Company, which leads me to believe that someone really, really loved their 1956 Clipper, and had to special order the coolest chronograph race watch he could afford, and 60 years later, we have it right in front of us to admire, just like the original owner would have wanted!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dodge Lil Red Express Truck...From 1957?

Here's a great 1957 Dodge truck that's been painted and styled to summon the vision of a 1950's version of the late 70's Dodge icon, The Lil Red Express. Thanks to blogger Bag Full Of Guns (VERY NSFW, fyi)






And, just for comparison, here's a 1979 version... not bad!




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The AMC Hornet Funny Car That Never Was...THE STINGER


Although the American Motors Company were well-represented in all levels of racing, including drag racing, and the funny cars of the muscle car era were colorful, quick and cool.

Most car aficionados immediately think of Javelin and AMX, maybe the Scrambler when they think of AMC, there were a group of small, modified lighter-weight cars that were perfect for the strip, cars like the Gremlin, and the Hornet.
The Hornet was a neat little speedster that, when combined with one of the AMC big blocks like the 360, 401 or 390, made great times down the quarter mile. This one run by Shirley Shahan, the Drag-On-Lady, was one such racer...


And others, like Wally Booth...


But a couple more would have looked great on the track, but didn't get past the JoHan model stage, but were awesome concepts, like the generic model below...



and then there was the legendary "Stinger"!



With plausible graphics, and impressive launch shot, this plastic model embodied the mixed concept of hot rod caricature with realistic detailing. In other words, it didn't exist, but easily could have.

It was a neat little model, and the graphics were definitely a highlight.



The yellow variation was still cool!


Hornets are comparatively cheap today, and what better inspiration do you need to make a tribute to a "tribute"? Someone needs to bring this concept to full-blown life, and I'll be the first to line up for tickets...