Thursday, July 25, 2013

1932 HOOEY Humor Magazine: The Early Version of CAR-Toons?

In the early 1930's, there was a cartoon magazine, HOOEY, that was ribald, mean, and didn't discriminate about what targets they made fun of. Sex, race, religion were all on the table, and so was the burgeoning automobile lifestyle, much like the 1960's car-humor magazine, CAR-Toons.
The four-wheeled character provided plenty of punchlines for HOOEY, and after thumbing through a few issues, here are some of the more "enlightening" ones...

Monday, July 22, 2013

The 1967 Lamborghini Marzal by Bertone, a Honeycomb Dashboard Masterpiece

The 1967 Lamborghini Marzal show car was one of the most striking, from top-to-bottom concept cars ever designed.

Debuting at the Geneva Auto Show, it was penned by Marcello Gandini (who also later designed the Countach) and built by Bertone, and it showed-off double-length gullwing glass doors, an impressive 175bhp inline six and a silhouette that would remain a mainstay of the Lamborghini line for another decade.

1967 Lamborghini Marzal by Bertone

It became the basis for the Espada, a street-monster that was to be one of Lamborghini's most popular models, and it's shape and style  instantly made everything else seem dated.

It was the star of the show at Geneva, and it created a buzz in England, wowing the Brits who were used to stodgy Vauxhalls and English Fords...

It had several memorable touches, including the transverse-mounted inline six, the honeycomb rear louvers, and my favorite look,  the hexagonal-themed dash and gauges.

Interior of the Lamborghini Marzal

You'll notice a couple of interesting differences between the first incarnation of the concept versus the final.

The steering wheel jumps out at you immediately. I may be in the minority, but I prefer the earlier style. It's more subtle, with theme cues that are there, but not as aggressive as the later version.

And the speedometer and tachometer gauges are unencumbered in version #2. It looks like the early concept was attempting a digital display, perhaps an LED readout, with "cones" narrowing from a wide base close to the dash and winnowing down to two-small displays. In my opinion, they were impractical as designed, since their screens were quite small, and that led to their removal and switch to analog.

There is a very cool honeycomb console warning panel with toggle switches, and accessory gauges and clock in the hexagons as well.

It was slyly influential. It embraced the Mod-Futuristic leanings of it's time, and exploited them. Compare the interior of the Marzal with it's four seat set-up...

With, say, the Jack Caroll concept drawings for the AMX around the same time...

The difference being that Bertone was BUILDING their design, instead of using it for production cues.

All in all, the Marzal was a stunning re-affirmation of the cutting edge approach taken by Lamborghini at the time. In a world of hive-thinking, they flew away from the nest and built their own high-speed, high-style colony!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dissect A Dash #4: The Dick Marchant 1931 Ford Coupe

The Dick Marchant 1931 Ford was a wonder of ingenuity. He states in this feature that he didn't have the cash to pay for the work done, so he did it himself. 


He chopped the roof, transplanted a Mercury flathead, and above all, went outside the coloring book lines with his unique dash.

As the label says, it's a 1933 Packard set. These were made by Stewart Warner, and were the traditional 2-5/8" size for the accessory gauges. 
They didn't come with a tachometer in that other big opening, they had a clock, and also one option was the radio dial in the middle instead of the radio delete plug.

Here's a great illustration of this Werner Gubitz design...

1933 Packard Dash with Stewart Warner Gauges

You can see the radio controls smack in the middle. Also the switch to the right is the cigarette lighter (which Dick Marchant converted to the ignition switch in his Ford) and the left is the choke (or throttle).

Harry Steightner had a similar brainstorm for his hand-made roadster built from 1939 Ford parts. He went with the same Packard dash, but slipped in a tachometer where the delete panel was, and used the original Packard speedo.

From Rodding and Restyling magazine, November, 1955


Also, another great alternative is the 1936 set. It's a little sleeker, and looks great in a smaller dash...

The tachometer in Dick's dash is a 8,000 RPM Stewart Warner "Wings" insignia gauge, like this one...

I'm not thrilled by the look of this tach and that set. I would have gone with a light-faced gauge, like the 1935 Auburn.

It's a trade for the higher RPM's that the SW tach offered, but he was running a flathead, and I doubt he was red-lining that engine.

Still, congrats to Dick for leaving the easy choices on the table, and sticking in a very slick alternative, the classy and cool 1933 Packard instrument panel.

1955 Stewart Warner Hot Rod Roadster Gauges

Nothing illustrates my mantra of Stewart Warner Is The King Of Gauges, than this spread from Custom Craft magazine in 1955.

You'll notice, or if not, take my word for it, that EVERY single set is comprised of SW speedometers, tachometers and accessory gauges. And there are a couple of SW panels as well.

Let's take a look...

The star of this page is definitely the Jack McDermott 1929 Ford roadster Auburn panel.

It's a chromed 1932 Auburn panel, with a full row of SW gauges. This is pretty much the gold-standard for hot-rodders. Expect to pay $4,000 for a comparable set-up today...

Here, the one set that jumps out is the Bill Welch set-up for his 1929. It's a beautiful Stewart Warner Marine Panel.

I have owned several of these panels, and the difference is the size of the speedometer. Whereas the Auburn panel speedo will run 3-3/8", this one takes approximately a three-incher. They are harder to come by, especially in the higher MPH, and usually have to be calibrated and re-faced.

Here's an example; an old Allard, and an empty SW panel for illustration...

The Allard gauge above is the front-mount version; the panel below it would take the back-mount bezel gauge.

In the next post, we'll take a look at an out of the box choice for a mid-Fifties hot rod dash, a 1933 Packard set!