Jun 2010

Postwar Indy Pace Cars in Hemmings Classic Car

I really love the photos of the orphan Indianapolis 500 Pace Cars in the July 2010 issue of Hemmings Classic Car.

At Torq-O, I collect vintage motion picture film of orphan cars, and I’ve been looking for 16mm footage of the 1947 Nash Ambassador pace car for a long time. (I had an eBay opportunity to get a film about the ’47 race once, but my bid got clobbered.)

I’d also like to find some great color footage of the 1952 Studebaker Commander pace car, but I’ve never seen a thing. Maybe the Studebaker Museum in South Bend has some film.

DeSoto is a murky brand to me. No one ever writes about it with much excitement or enhusiasm. Maybe that’s why I’ve never found media associated with the 1956 DeSoto Pacesetter. Writer Jim Donnelly notes that this car represents maybe the first Big Three car to be marketed as a pace car replica in DeSoto dealerships.

Since Pontiac is a recent addition to the Torq-O Garage, I’ve never really searched for footage of the 1958 Pontiac Bonneville.

Now that there are many new marques to celebrate, I’ll have to keep an eagle eye out for the 1960 Oldsmobile 98, the 1965 Plymouth Sport Fury, the 1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone, the 1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2, the 1972 Hurst Olds, the 1974 Hurst Olds, the 1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88, and the 1980 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am. (Oldsmobile owned Indy in the 1970’s!)

I left out one car on purpose. Last year, I bought a 16mm film about the 1962 Indy 500 called 33 Men. In it, you several great color shots of the 1962 Studebaker Lark Daytona. One down and a dozen (or more) to go.

Pontiac Milestones in Pontiac Enthusiast

I was just leafing through the July 2010 issue of Pontiac Enthusiast, and I really like the conversation-starting editorial by Jason Scott.

Scott lists his best-of-breed Pontiacs from the last 46 years.

It’s a good list, but since Pontiac has a beginning, middle, and end, could the list possibly include pre-1963 Pontiacs? Sure, they wouldn’t be muscle cars, but I’d like to believe that Pontiac’s history started before the GTO.

Still, it’s a good list. Hey, it got ME talking, and I’m no Pontiac expert.

Mercury, take your spot in the Torq-O Garage.

The last sandwich-filler brand from the Big Three is finally, finally, finally about to join the Great Automotive Marque-heap. Mercury, take your grease-stained spot in the Torq-O Garage (right next to the Merkur).

First Plymouth sputtered to a stop in 2001. Then Oldsmobile did the Alero Aloha in 2004. And, at long last, Ford has announced the end of the line for Mercury. (Look closely at that last link. I love the emphasis of growing the Lincoln brand by “ending Mercury production.”)

I can’t wait for the classic car writers to start entertaining me with incredible stories of the...Comet? The Montego? The Bobcat? (At least Mercury had the Cougar.) Like all of the other filler brands, Mercury really lost its reason for existing years ago.

But we’re happy to finally have a Ford orphan to talk about that isn’t the Edsel.

Since Mercury is a middle brand in the middle of the alphabet, should we re-park all of the other orphan cars in the garage down one spot or up one?