Who said all On Screen Cars had to be nice? Sometimes you just need something that works. That's the goal behind the British hit show Scrapheap Challenge. The show were teams of contestants are given the challenge of designing and building devices to complete varies tasks. You may also remember the show as Junkyard Wars on the Discovery Channel. I plan to feature more cars from this series. Growing up I remember tuning in every week to see what the teams were about to design and build. Now for Spy Cars!
In this episode the teams were given the task of building spy cars. Their spy cars had to be able to navigate through a warehouse setup as a super secret spy base. The warehouse err spy base, had several obstacles that the cars and the team had to take into account. The vehicles were required to hold all four team members while being low enough for clearance of some of the obstacles. The kicker was the fact the vehicle also had to be able to clear a high hump in the middle of the course without high-centering.
The blue team used a lawn tractor as a power plant while towing a trailer for the rest of the team. Not a bad choice for the clearance issues. I think I would be concerned about the lack of power. The back seat on the trailer folded down backwards so the team lay down for clearance. Note the outriggers on the lawn tractor. This can help the driver take in account how wide the trailer is when making turns. This also serves as a place for the driver to duck to when laying low. They navigate the course slowly but without any major problems. Until the team got to the hump. They took a penalty by disconnecting the trailer and pushing it over the hump. The lack of power I talked about earlier cost them a few points.
The pink team on the other hand didn't have power issues. They used two full size front wheel drive cars cut in half. The two front haves of the car were jointed near the back of the drivers seat. They joined the two cars using a huge hinge point. With the aid of hydraulics this allowed them to pivot the car upwards for the hump. By using the front haves they were also able to gain four way steering. They flew through the first part of the course. The four-way steering really made it sweet for turning corners. The team did well until, guess what.. the hump. A major mechanical failure caused their drive shafts to twist and sheer in two. You could hear them cracking up the motor but it wasn't pulling them along. The end of the road for the pink team.
Above is a commercial produced by General Motors in the early '80s. GM was really pushing "high-tech" in those days. Promoting features like digital dashes and on-board computer diagnostics. Well we can say that on-board computer diagnostics are here to stay. But not many cars use digital gauges. Just seems that it never caught on. But I do remember my brother telling me stories about freaking out the girls when changing the speedo readout from a MPH to KPH. You do the math but 65 looks more like a 100. But hey, it looked cool at 88 miles per hour right?
Pretty much every college student has taken a road trip some where. I was guilty of taking a few myself. But I can't say I jumped a car over a bridge like the guys in the movie Road Trip. A movie about four guys on a quest to drive half away across the country to prevent one of their girlfriends from seeing a explicit video tape. Along the way they're dealt a series of wild challenges and obstacles. The crew talk one of their nerdy friends, Kyle Edwards into borrowing their car (a 1991 Ford Taurus) for the 1800 mile trip from Ithaca, New York to Austin, Texas.
Things go wrong fairly early in the journey. They start off taking shortcuts that lead them to a bridge that's out of commission. Faced with the choice of either turning back and losing valuable time or going Dukes of Hazard style over the short gap in the bridge. As you can imagine the group chooses the later. Working out the physics of the car jump they predict they can clear the gap by approaching the bridge at 60 miles an hour. Nervous car owner Kyle reluctantly gets climbs into the backseat and puts on a crash helmet.
They back the car up and take off down the dirt road leading up to the bridge. They all brace for impact and the car hits the bridge. Like pure movie magic they clear the bridge and come to a hard landing. The grill and front bumper shatters on contact. They're all celebrating until all four wheels fall off and the air bag deploys. Thinking they've met the worst of the incident the car bursts into flame destroying the car and their stuff. Awesome!
Of course now they've gotta figure out what to do next. But we'll let that be for now. Don't wanta ruin the story for ya. But what about some of serious goofs we're seeing here? Could a 1991 Ford Taurus really jump a bridge? I'm sure the SHO package would help drastically! Well I guess you can jump anything that far with the right kinda power and if you hit it right. I did a little bit of research and I found a interesting article where someone talks about the physics behind the jump. Pretty interesting stuff. But the goof that stuck out the most to me was the misrepresentation of the actual weight of the car.
A 1991 Ford Taurus curb weight is roughly 3100 pounds. Sorry guys 1500 pounds is more like a sport car. Another site notes that the front wheels lift up unnaturally during the jump. I haven't been able to find any technical information about the jump yet. But I'm fairly sure this feat was pure movie magic. But none the less if it wasn't, I wouldn't be surprised if the car didn't end up like the one in the movie. But I felt this jump is worth mention. Road Trip is and always will be one of my favorite college movies. Till next time, don't go sending out video tapes that you wouldn't want anyone else seeing!
In the world of pawn, everything has it's price. Especially items of extremely rare proportions. During one episode of History Channel's Pawn Stars, owner Rick Harrison got a rare opportunity to buy one of the baddest collector sports cars ever built. The rare Shelby Cobra. Only problem is it wasn't complete. But does that mean it's still not worth something? Hardly. In Rick's case he was presented with an aluminum body shell. Even in rough shape an original aluminum body shell can bring a pretty penny. The owner obtained the body and frame while clearing some items out of storage rental on a contract. In other words, he was paid to haul it off. Not a bad gig if you ask me. But is it real?
That's a question left to experts. There are a lot of known continuation and replica cars out there. The show had an expert come on and explain how to tell. One way to tell is of course the serial number. All real Shelby Cobra's left the product plant with a serial number starting with "CSX". The expert on the show found the CSX serial number on the frame. Shelby serials are stored in a master database/registry that contains known details about each authenticated car. Once the car on the show was authenticated as being real a deal was made. After a few offers a price of $30,000 was agreed on. Quite a steal for the pawn shop. The expert felt the retail condition of the body/frame was at least $60,000. But if you've seen the show, you understand that a pawn shop must be able to turn a profit. Just because something is worth something doesn't mean it will be bought for the price it's worth. It's just business. But hey, what's the tow truck driver out? Notta!
The car was left with a team to be restored. Over the course of a few weeks (with the magic of hollywood) the car was built from the ground up. Looking to maintain maximum profit margins, the restoration crew cut a few corners. For starters they used "simulated leather" in place of real leather sets. Personally I wouldn't have made this move. Nothing like the real thing. Next they used a carburetor induction system instead of fuel injected. No harm here. A lot of the original cars used carbs. After restoration was complete. The Pawn Stars crew met at a local track to test it out. The old man made a lap at a extremely slow pace. Next was the son's turn. The credits roll.
I have a few concerns about the final product. It just doesn't seem like the body/frame that was bought in the beginning of the show. Some folks point out that if you look closely the finished car looks like a fiberglass kit car. Could this be a different car? Possibility. Thousands of these kit cars have been built. Another interesting fact. If you look closely near the end of the episode you can catch Carrol Shelby's signature on the dash. Did they have time to have 'da man' himself sign it? Why not mention this fact? It only makes the car worth a little more. But none the less it's still a very cool car. I would love to own even just a replica car. It would be too much fun to own. I remember as a kid owning a 1/18 die-cast replica below. Some where I'm sure I still have it. If ya haven't watched Pawn Stars yet, see our Amazon Ad to the left. Totally worth it! See ya next time.
Ahh the Mirth Mobile! The sky-blue 1976 AMC Pacer that belonged to Wayne and Garth in the movie Wayne's World. The movie that gave us hours of pop cultural phrases and references that would last through most of the late '80s and early '90s. Not! (just kid'n). The movie that taught us that being weird isn't a bad thing and that it doesn't matter what kinda car you drive. It just matters that you live to party! So party on guys, as we talk about the Mirth Mobile.
All About the Pacers
What was special about the Pacer? The Pacer is a Point A to Point B, basic transportation type car. AMC produced Pacers between 1975 and 1980. The no thrills base model only had about 90 horsepower. There was a V8 option for the Pacer, however due to the fuel crisis they were not in much demand. Let's face it the Pacer was built for fuel economy. Obviously the Pacer didn't make it long, due to its styling (bubble like), lack of power and low room for cargo or passengers.
Wayne's World AMC Pacer
What's special about Wayne and Garth's AMC Pacer? Well how many Pacers have you seen with a red licorice dispenser? In the first movie it shows Garth pulling a piece of string red licorice from a dispenser mounted on the head liner. Need a drink? No problem! Their Pacer had a full bar tap installed on the dash above the glove box. Need to jam down? At first the guys just had a in dash AM/FM Cassette Deck. But later in the movie they got their big break and Wayne splurged for a portable CD player with a cassette adapter. On the outside their Pacer wasn't just a regular run of the mill pacer either. It had mis-match wheels and tires. Not to mention a sweet little flame decal! Party On!
Next to Daisy Duke's 1980 AMC Golden Eagle Jeep CJ-7, the Mirth Mobile may be the most famous AMC featured in film or tv. If nothing else it wins the award for most famous AMC Pacer ever in film or tv! Being a child of the '80s and '90s, I don't know how many times I've watched Wayne's World. Not to mention how many times I sang the Wayne's World theme song. But I can tell ya that the Mirth Mobile wasn't high on my list of vehicles to own. Till next time, keep fighting for the right to party!