Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Esoteric Mechanisms

A new, even nerdier project of mine.

Yes, it's very sparsely designed and that's probably how it will remain--HTML is a nightmare and I don't have time or patience to make another pretty site.

Don't fret, ANF lives and may even see more frequent posting. In the meantime run around the corner and check out the new shit.

Slammed Zaporozhets ZAZ 968

No, these cars' little air-cooled V4's didn't actually run Bakelite internals. Yes, they really were used as Soviet tank starter motors,

I'm not normally a fan of this style, but this thing looks incredible. I'd probably feel differently if it was something more pedestrian. Russian me would hate it, but he's a drunk Imperialist.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Turbine New Yorker - How the World's Most Unappealing Car Was Almost a Hero

Automotive history is scattered with experimental oddities, technically intriguing engineering exercises, mechanical oddities, bizarre engine configurations, over-the-top, blue-sky novelties of design and construction—pure engineer's dreams unfettered by the cold economic realities of a manufacturer's bread and butter product lines.

Many of these experiments—fixed crankshaft, rotating cylinder radials, opposed piston engines, double sets of counter-rotating reciprocals (what?), sleeve valves, rotary valves and moredate from the dawn of the industry. Like with any nascent technology, these were times for wild experimentation, when nebulous ideas had only just begun to deposit their best attributes, sediment-like, into the soil of impending rules and standards.

Not all of them, though. Born on the drafting tables of one of the world's largest car builders during an era when the norm had already been cemented for nearly four decades, arguably the most ambitious design experimentation of them all still resonates 30 plus years after its unceremonious cancellation.

Chrysler began experimenting with turbine-powered cars as early as the first years of the 1950's, with engines ran on test cell dynamometers and in stock-looking sedans racking up thousands of largely trouble-free hours and miles of operation.

Encouraged by an unexpectedly straightforward and successful development program—including the small, glorious run of now-legendary semi-production cars—Chrysler came within what was likely weeks of building turbine-powered New Yorkers on a large scale in 1981. Design was complete, tooling was underway, and Iacocca had given the green light. 

Unfortunately, continuing government oversight put in place two years earlier as part of Chrysler's first once-in-a-lifetime financial bailout thought it too risky, putting the kibosh on the most exciting and ground-breaking development in wheeled transport since the advent of mass-production itself.

The poster car for the Malaise Era came within striking distance of being one on of the most important and desirable automobiles ever built, anywhere, at any time. Marinate on that.

You can read much more about this, as well as the Mopar turbine's near 30-year long development program here on Allpar's excellent history write-up.

picture a world where this is a desirable classic

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tamerlane's Thoughts Interview - All About My RX-7

Friend and The Truth About Cars/Hooniverse writer/lawyer/world traveler/good food eater/NY Times featured adventurer and all-around cool guy Jim Yu recently asked me some great questions about my old Mazda. 

Check out the full interview here on his excellent personal blog, Tamerlane's Thoughts--one of the major inspirations behind the foundation of this site.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Graphical Representation of My Wrenching Skills & How it Solicited Jalopnik's Comment of the Decade

So I saw this on Facebook and laughed, and thought it might evoke a similar response from appreciative Jalops over on Oppositelock.

This is my favorite response. To anything, ever:

"If I related this to my car, it would show me pouring the milk in a glass, but then the glass leaks. So I pour it into a tupperware bowl instead. I open the fridge and grab the chocolate syrup, but the bottle is empty. So I go to the store to buy more, but they don't make that syrup anymore, so I have to buy another bottle, but it's organic gluten-free, kosher, and 'fair-trade' chocolate syrup that costs $2.89 per ounce. It's the only syrup available, though, so I suck it up and buy it.

Then I go back home and find a fly and six ants floating in my bowl of milk. So I pour it out and go to pour more milk, only to knock the tupperware bowl off the counter and in my surprise I stumble and step on it and it shatters. So I pull out a small metal pot to pour the milk into while on the phone with the tupperware lifetime warranty no-break department. I pour the organic, gluten-free, kosher, fair-trade syrup into the pot of milk and reach for a spoon, only to find a drawer filled with nothing but forks and used chopsticks.

I grab a fork and start stirring, listening to the smooth jazz hold music. It's so soothing and I'm on hold for so long that I begin to daydream and doze, still stirring the entire time. When a representative comes back on the line, I get startled, which makes my arm twitch, which causes the pot to fall off the counter, landing on my foot and causing milk to splatter all over myself and the kitchen. I reach down to grab my foot in pain, only for the phone to fall and somehow land in such a away that it turns onto speakerphone mode.

I try and step over to grab the phone, but step on the tines of the fork in the process and begin yelling and screaming because one foot has been smashed by a pot of milk and the other is now copiously bleeding from a grievous fork-wound. The phone representative hears me swearing in the background and calls me an 'impossibly rude asshole youshouldbeashamedofyourself' and hangs up on me. 

At this point I throw the phone across the room- straight through a weak spot in the drywall. I yell "Oh fuck it!" and grab the now-half-empty gallon of milk, pour $5.00 worth of fair-trade kosher chocolate syrup into it and an proceed to shake it, only to realize I forgot to put the lid on, resulting in half-mixed chocolate milk spraying me in the face.

30 seconds later, after much swearing and blaspheming, I'm huddled in the corner, drinking half-mixed chocolate milk out of the jug, weeping, sobbing "At least I made it myself!" between swallows."

Bravo, Desu San-Desu, Bravo.

Monday, July 21, 2014

ANF Fleet's Latest Addition - 1979 Mazda RX-7

So I bought an old RX-7. Took a 400 mile round trip to the desert for a 23,000 mile, rust and accident free original in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition. Paid about 10 cents for every mile it's traveled since leaving Hiroshima the year of my birth.

Plans are to tend to a few minor needs and flip it, but I'm damn tempted to keep it for myself. We'll see. Enjoying the hell out of it in the meantime, quirks and all.

Photos and video from Instagram (@franzkoviak), excuse the quality.

#Mazda #RX7 #1979 #Wankel #rotary #startup

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dakar Sand Trap Rescue - Tatra T815 Rally Truck

While researching this short BaT piece about a similar tribute truck, I stumbled across this video of what appears to be an authentic Tatra works racer extracating itself from some loose Senegalese sand.

Shockingly simple but ingenious, I'm not sure if this is a unique or novel idea, but I've never seen anything like it before. Super-cool.

excuse the poor resolution video still

And here it is in action. Skip ahead to 0:13 if you like, but then you'll miss out on the air-cooled turbodiesel V12 soundtrack and hard working swing axle action.