Saturday, June 16, 2018

A giant 1966 Mercury stands out
at the Promenade on the Peninsula
Coffee & Cars show 

On Saturday June 16, Pelican Parts hosted a Coffee & Cars show on the top deck of the parking garage at the Promenade on the Peninsula in Rolling Hills Estates, California.

At over 18 feet long, the beautiful unrestored 1966 Mercury Park Lane Marauder 2-door fast back hardtop was one of the few domestic cars and easily the largest car at   the show.

Ford first introduced the "Parklane" nameplate as a two-door station wagon in 1956, and although it outsold the Chevrolet Nomad two-to-one, Ford discontinued the name plate after just one year.

In 1958, the "Park Lane" nameplate re-emerged as the premium model in the  Mercury line as a two or four-door hardtop or a two-door convertible, but once again the nameplate was killed off after the 1960 model year.

The "Park Lane" model designation came to life for the third time in 1964, again as the highest Mercury brand trim level. The entire Mercury line was redesigned in 1965 with the signature wide, flat front grille and quad headlights  as seen on this example which emphasizes the width of the car- over 6-1/2 feet.   

Sadly the "Park Lane" nameplate was killed off  yet again at the end of the 1968 model year, but even out of production, a black 1968 four-door Park Lane Brougham hardtop served as Detective Captain Steve McGarrett's car on the classic CBS television crime show Hawaii Five-O for the first seven seasons. 

This 1966 two- door fastback hardtop has a curb weight of over two tons but thanks to its 410-cubic inch 330-horsepower engine and the Merc-o-matic automatic transmission, when new this car could accelerate from a standing start to 60 miles per hour in 8.2 seconds.  

This beautiful unrestored car one of less than 8,500 built in 1966 with worn paint appeared stock aside from its unusual "kidney bean" aftermarket wheels which have "Avanti" center caps.

Photos by the author. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Maria Cofer claims another win at Petaluma

Eleven Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) midgets signed in at Petaluma Speedway on Saturday night June 9 for the second night of a back-to-back weekend series. Chase Johnson at the wheel of Del Morris’ midget won the feature on Friday night at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville followed by 2017 BCRA champion Maria Cofer in her family’s #57, Robert Dalby in the Dalby family’s #4D and Shannon McQueen in her own #7 machine.  

Ten BCRA midgets posted qualifying times during single car time trials, with the field led by Chase Johnson’s 14.674 seconds, followed by Maria Cofer at 14.721 seconds, with Frankie Guerrini III third fastest at 14.733 seconds, David Prickett fourth at 14.953 seconds and Geoff “the Human Highlight Reel” Ensign who along with Johnson pulled double duty with the King of the West sprint cars, the fifth fastest qualifier at 14.964 seconds. 

Floyd Alvis suffered mechanical problems and did not post a qualifying time and Marvin Mitchell did not present his car for qualifying, while young Jesse Love the second scheduler qualifier in the Van Dyne #5 suffered a broken bolt in the left rear trailing arm before he took the green flag. The crew led by car owner Tres Van Dyne quickly repaired the car in time for Jesse to make a single qualifying lap at 15.226 seconds.  

 The front row for the first 8-lap heat race was shared by Ensign and Dalby and at the drop of the green flag, Dalby shot into the lead trailed by Guerrini and Ensign. On the second lap of the heat race, veteran Marvin Mitchell exited the track and retired for the race. Through the third turn of the fourth lap Guerrini used the high line to move around Dalby and into the lead.
Guerrini built his advantage and appeared headed to victory until his engine went off-song down the backstretch on the final lap. Third place runner Chase Johnson vaulted into the lead and won with Ensign third, Dalby fourth and Matt Sargent rounded out the finishers in fifth place driving Dave Thurston’s #17.

The five-car second heat was paced by a pair of rookies, with Jesse Love on the pole and Jackson Dukes on the outside. After the first two start attempts were called back, on the third try, Dukes grabbed the lead and he held on for all eight circuits to win his first career midget heat race. Maria Cofer made repeated attempts to pass Dukes on the low side through turns three and four in the later laps, but Dukes held Maria off, with Love in third place followed by David Prickett and JR Williams.

Despite repeated efforts by the F&F Racing team crew to diagnose the electronic problems, Guerrini was forced to scratch prior to the feature along with Alvis, which reduced the starting field for the 25-lap finale to ten cars, with the field led by pole-sitter Geoff Ensign and outside front row starter David Prickett, as Cofer and Johnson shared the second row. At the drop of the green, Ensign established himself as the early leader in Ted Finkenbinder’s machine trailed by Prickett, Johnson, Dalby and Cofer.

On lap 4, Maria Cofer moved her #57 past Dalby to claim fourth place, then on lap five she moved past Chase Johnson to claim third place. On the sixth lap, the Del Morris #71 lost power through turns three and four and Chase Johnson brought the machine to a stop underneath the flag stand which necessitated the race’s first yellow caution flag as Johnson’s car was pushed into the pit area, done for the evening.

On the restart, Prickett got his car alongside Ensign’s as the pair exited turn two, and Maria Cofer dove low and powered by both the #24 and #3F and grabbed the lead as she entered turn three. Maria quickly built her lead as Ensign and Prickett battled for second place, then on lap ten Dalby slipped past Prickett to run in third place.

Cofer built up a ten-car length advantage as she wove through lapped traffic, and on lap 20 Prickett reclaimed third place from Robert Dalby. Cofer had extended her led to a full straightaway when the race’s second yellow caution flag flew on lap 23 with Jackson Dukes’ machine stopped sideways in turn four.  Dukes restarted at the tail of the field.

Maria Cofer controlled the restart and led the final two circuits to claim her second BCRA feature win of the season in her family-owned #57, trailed across the finish line by Ensign, Prickett and Dalby with Jesse Love in fifth place. Dukes recovered from his lap race spin to finish in sixth place, trailed by Mitchell and Williams. Sargent failed to finish and placed ninth, while the previous night’s winner Chase Johnson also failed to finish and was scored in tenth place.

The BCRA mighty midgets return to pavement action this coming weekend on Saturday June 16th for the Tom Manning Memorial at Stockton 99 Speedway along with the BCRA vintage midget division, the Gun Slingers Winged Sprint Car Series, and the cars from the California Hard Top Association, and the Legends of Kearney Bowl. The pit gate is scheduled to open at 1 PM followed by the spectator gates at 5 PM and racing set to start at 6 PM.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Kindigit Designs and AkzoNobel
at SEMA 2017

The AkzoNobel booth at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association)  show in Las Vegas featured the work of custom car designer/builder and reality television show star Dave Kindig and his shop Kindigit Designs. Two of these custom builds were later featured on the Velocity network program “Bitchin’ Rides.”
This year’s AkzoNobel SEMA display was designed to introduce the company’s “Modern Classikk” line of automotive paints available in January 2018, part of the collaboration between Kindig and AkzoNobel which will include 26 colors such Black Hole Black™, Teal Later™, Bubbly™, and Veruca Violet™.

This is the 1927 “Shadow Rod” built for customer Ron Meis. Kindigit started with a Shadow Rods LLC “XL 27” body mounted on 1932 Ford reproduction frame rails built in Saginaw Michigan with the hood and side panels built by Kindigit craftsmen and finished in “Modern Classikk Bubbly™.” The wheels are a one-off Dave Kindig design built by Billet Specialties and the terracotta colored leather interior was completed by JS Custom Interiors.  Not visible is the GM Performance LS3 Engine with Harrop Injection backed by a GM 4L65E transmission.

This is the 1958 Lincoln Mark III convertible built for customers Sue and Tad Leach known as “Maybelline.” A key part of Dave Kindig’s vision was to re-shape the rear wheel openings to match the contour of the front fenders before the car was finished in “Modern Classikk Teal Later™.”  

The highlight of the machine is the custom-built twin-supercharged 600-cubic inch V-12 created by Ryan Falconer Racing Engines of Chino Valley Arizona that reportedly produces over 900 horsepower and 1000 foot/pounds of torque.  The wheels are custom Billet Specialties from a Kindig design and the white interior was completed by JS Custom Interiors.

All photos by the author

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Golobic dominates 
the Stockton dirt track

On Saturday night May 26 a group of thirteen Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) midgets were part of the $5,000 to win winged 360 cubic inch sprint car program along with the Joe Hunt sprint car series. Two of the thirteen BCRA drivers, young Kalib Henry and Michael Faccinto, were set to perform double duty in both the BCRA and Joe Hunt races. Due to the size of the fields in both the sprint car divisions, the BCRA competitors did not qualify through time trials, rather the field was set using a blind draw conducted by Jimmy Montgomery.

Unfortunately, two of the BCRA midgets did not survive the hot laps warmups – youngster Jackson Dukes’ car broke a rear end, and Frankie Guerrini III flipped his midget hard in turn three and the car was too damaged to continue. Kalib Henry exhibited great sportsmanship and offered to step out of the Finkenbinder #3F midget in favor of Guerrini.

In the first 8-lap heat race, the pole position starter Shane Golobic seized the lead early and was never challenged, as Guerrini moved up from the tail of the field to finish second with David Prickett third, Rick Cook fourth and JR Williams finished in fifth place.

Late arrival Marvin Mitchell tagged the tail of the second heat race, and at the drop of the green flag, outside front row starter Maria Cofer swooped across the track in front of John Sarale to take the early lead.  Entering the first turn, second place runner Alex Schutte encountered a rough spot in the clay surface which sent his car flipping high in the air and it continued to roll over the first turn banking. After a few anxious moments, Alex emerged uninjured but his #28 midget was done for the night. When the race resumed, Michael Faccinto in the Dodenhoff #9D powered past 2017 BCRA champion Cofer to take the lead which he held to the finish. Following Faccinto and Cofer across the finish line were Sarale in third, multi-time West Coast champion Ronnie Gardner fourth and Mitchell finished in fifth place.

Maria Cofer and Guerrini shared the front row for the start of the 25-lap feature race, with Faccinto and Golobic side-by-side for row two. At the drop of the green flag, Maria grabbed the race lead, but her advantage was short-lived, as Golobic soon powered past. As Golobic built his lead as the leaders maneuvered through traffic, Faccinto and Cofer dueled for second place, with Maria able to hold off Michael with Sarale in third place and Guerrini in fourth place.

Faccinto cleared Cofer on lap thirteen, but Golobic already had built a straightaway lead over second place, and the driver of the #9D midget was unable to close the gap as the race wound down. At the drop of the checkered flag, Shane Golobic in the Wood #17W had lapped up to the fourth-place finisher and won by ¾ lap over Faccinto. Cofer finished third, with Sarale fourth, Guerrini fifth ahead of David Prickett.  Ronnie Gardner finished seventh, Rick Cook eighth, JR Williams who battled a fuel leak in ninth and Marvin Mitchell in tenth place.

Next up for the BCRA mighty midgets is a big doubleheader weekend with races at Ocean Speedway on tap for Friday night June 8 and the next night June 9 at Petaluma Speedway.     


Friday, May 25, 2018

The Mothers® 1959 Sedan Delivery


The star of the Mothers® Polishes booth at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas was the company’s famed 1959 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery. Originally a telephone company vehicle equipped with a 235-cubic inch 135-horsepower Hi-Thrift 6-cylinder engine and a three-speed column-shifted transmission, the sedan delivery has been a part of the Holloway family since 1984.


In 1999, Mothers® employee Gary Turnau built it into a “restomod” powered by 350-cubic inch small block Chevrolet engine with Edelbrock electronic fuel injection. Using the original frame fitted with Air Ride suspension the bright red rod was featured in Hot Rod magazine.

In the years since its initial build the Mothers® signature vehicle received many updates and powerplants, but its most recent update came in 2014 in the Rad Rides by Troy shop.  The bright red beauty received a new modified Art Morrison Enterprises chassis with Corvette C6 independent front suspension and a new 378 cubic inch intercooled and supercharged Ligenfelter aluminum LS3 engine with aluminum cylinder heads that develops 670 horsepower. 

The car features brushed nickel-plated trim throughout and one-off Billet Specialties wheels that are 18 inches in diameter by 9 inches wide in front with massive 19-inch by 12-inch wide wheels in back.
The interior is dark brown leather with suede inserts and matching tweed carpet and Rad Rides built a rear seat for the car, a feature that the original Sedan Delivery did not offer. One thing that didn’t need a makeover in 2014 was the eight-year old BASF Glasurit paint as it had of course been protected by Mothers® polishes and waxes.

Check out the full product line of car care products at
all photos by the author

Monday, May 21, 2018

Plymouth Air Radial truck at SEMA 2017


The Covercraft booth at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas featured the Plymouth Air Radial truck built as a promotional tool by Colorado Auto Parts, a U-Pick yard near Denver.

The Plymouth division of the Chrysler Corporation had a commercial division that built and sold commercial body cars as well as half-ton pickup trucks known as the PT105 from 1937 until production halted in 1941, as the trucks were never very high-volume sellers.

The owners of Colorado Auto Parts owned this particular pickup for over 30 years but it wasn’t until they also obtained a Cessna C195 airplane for scrap that this concept came together. The crew removed the cab and bed, chopped the top and built a custom tube frame chassis to cradle the 505-pound 575-cubic inch Jacobs Aircraft Engine Company R-755-A2 7-cylinder radial engine.  


The biggest problem for the build was how to transmit the steel cylinders with twin-plug aluminum-alloy cylinder head engine’s 300 horsepower. The crew attached a toothed 3-inch wide rubber drive belt to the engine’s propeller shaft and used the belt to turn a pulley attached to the V-drive (as used in boats) mounted ahead of the engine. The V-drive’s output shaft is connected to a GM Turbo 400 automatic transmission which transmits the power and torque to the Franklin quick change rear end.

Colorado Auto Parts intended to race the truck at the Bonneville Salt Flats but learned that the Southern California Timing Association did not have a class for radial engines and that the SCAT didn’t consider the truck’s roll cage as safe, but still allowed the crew to drive the truck to run it alongside the course. Unfortunately the radial engine smokes a lot and overheats after about ten minutes, so this truck is not for commuting, just for show and exhibitions, and has been featured in Hot Rod and Autoweek magazines and on Jay Leno’s Garage.

Shown alongside the Plymouth Air Radial truck was a hot-rodded version of a Clark CK20 aircraft tug from the same era as the truck and engine. The original tug was powered by a 122-cubic inch 4-cylinder Continental flathead engine which allowed the tug to pull up to 20,000 pounds.

Covercraft Industries in business since 1965 offers a full line of automotive covers – from car covers, seat covers, dash pads, sunscreens, front ends bras, and floor mats for cars trucks, boats. Covercraft says they provide “protection for whatever you drive.” You can reach them on the internet at

all photos by the author




Friday, May 18, 2018

 The "A-Steam"
by Jimmy Built
at SEMA 2017


On display at exhibit space provided by the Chemical Guys, a car detailing supply company was this “steam punk” six-wheeled creation built ironically enough by a high-tech industry executive, Jim Belosic co-founder of CEO of Shortstack, who calls his hobby shop “Jimmy Built.”

The powerplant is a twin-cylinder vertical marine engine with each cylinder having a 3-inch bore and 3-inch stroke which develops seven horsepower and 300 foot/pounds of torque.  The car is equipped with a 3-1/2 gallon boiler with 21-gallon reserve tank heated by a 250,000 BTU propane burner.

As the basis of his "A-Steam" Belosic used a set of lengthened 1928 Ford Model A frame rails and axles with the rear axle modified to use chain drive and assorted parts (such as lights gauges and the whistle) purchased off the internet auction site EBay Motors.  The car which has a claimed 15-mile range and a top speed of 22 miles per hour debuted at Reno’s “Hot August Nights” in early August 2017.

Photos by the author