Monday, November 20, 2017

Today I Smiled

Today I smiled, and all at once
Things didn't look so bad.
Today I shared with someone else,
A little bit of hope I had.

Today I worked with what I had,
And longed for nothing more,
And what had seemed like only weeds,
Were flowers at my door.

Today I loved a little more,
And complained a little less.
And in the giving of myself,
I forgot my weariness.

~ author unknown ~

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Peoples Grocery

The Peoples Grocery was a grocery located just outside Memphis in a neighborhood called the "Curve". Opened in 1889, the Grocery was a cooperative venture run along corporate lines and owned by eleven prominent blacks, including postman Thomas Moss, a friend of Ida B. Wells. In March 1892 Thomas Moss and two of his workers, Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell, were lynched by a white mob while in police custody.

Leadup To The Lynching:

By the 1890's there were increasing racial tensions in the neighborhood and increasing tensions between the successful Moss and white grocer William Barrett, whose grocery, despite its bad reputation as a "low-dive gambling den" and a location where liquor could be illegally purchased, had had a virtual monopoly prior to Moss' venture.

On Wednesday, March 2, 1892, the trouble began when a young black boy, Armour Harris, and a young white boy, Cornelius Hurst, got into a fight over a game of marbles outside the Peoples Grocery. When the white boy's father stepped in and began beating the black boy, two black workers from the grocery (Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell) came to his defense. More blacks and whites joined the fray, and at one point William Barrett was clubbed. He identified Will Stewart as his assailant.

On Thursday, March 3, Barrett returned to the Peoples Grocery with a police officer and were met by Calvin McDowell. McDowell told them no one matching Stewart's description was within the store. The frustrated Barrett hit McDowell with his revolver and knocked him down, dropping the gun in the process. McDowell picked it up and shot at Barrett, but missed. McDowell was subsequently arrested but released on bond on March 4. Warrants were also issued for Will Stewart and Armour Harris.

The warrants enraged the black residents of the neighborhood who called a meeting where they vowed to clean out the neighborhood's "damned white trash", which Barrett brought to the authorities' attention as evidence of a black conspiracy against whites.

On Saturday, March 5, Judge Julius DuBose, a former Confederate soldier, was quoted in the Appeal-Avalanche newspaper as vowing to form a posse to get rid of the "high-handed rowdies" in the Curve. That same day John Mosby, a black painter, was fatally shot after an altercation with a clerk in another white grocery in the Curve. As reported in the paper, Mosby cursed at the clerk after being denied credit for a purchase and the clerk responded by punching him. Mosby returned that evening and hit the clerk with a stick, whereupon the clerk shot him.

The Peoples Grocery men were increasingly concerned about an attack upon them, based on Dubose's threat and the Mosby shooting. They consulted a lawyer but were told since they were outside the city limits they could not depend on police protection and should prepare to defend themselves.

On the evening of March 5, six armed white men (including a county sheriff and recently deputized plainclothes civilians) headed toward the Peoples Grocery. The white papers claimed their purpose was to inquire after Will Stewart and arrest him if he was there. The account written by five black ministers in the St. Paul Appeal said the men arrived with a rout in mind for they had first gone to William Barrett's place then divided up and surreptitiously posted themselves at the front and back entrance to the Peoples Grocery. The men inside, already anticipating a mob attack, were being surrounded by armed whites and did not know they were officers of the law.

When the whites entered the store they were shot at and several were hit. McDowell was captured at the scene and identified as an assailant. The black postman Nat Trigg was seized by deputy Charley Cole but shot him in the face and managed to escape. The injured whites retreated to Barrett's store and more deputized whites were dispatched to the grocery where they eventually arrested thirteen blacks and seized a cache of weapons and ammunition.

Reports in the white papers described the shooting as a cold-blooded, calculated ambush by the blacks and, though none of the deputies had died, they predicted the wounds of Cole and Bob Harold, who was shot in the face and neck, would prove fatal. The St. Paul Appeal said as soon as the black men realized the intruders were law officers they dropped their weapons and submitted to arrest, confident they would be able to explain their case in court.
On Sunday, March 6, hundreds of white civilians were deputized and fanned out from the grocery to conduct a house-to-house search for blacks involved in "the conspiracy". They eventually arrested forty black people, including Armour Harris and his mother, Nat Trigg, and Tommie Moss. The story in the black paper contended that Moss was tending his books at the back of the store on the night of the shooting and couldn't have seen what happened when the whites arrived. When he heard gunshots he left the premises. In the eyes of many whites, however, Moss' position as a postman and the president of the co-op made him a ringleader of the conspiracy. He was also indicted in the white press for an insolent attitude when he was arrested.

Upon news of the arrest armed whites congregated around the fortress-like Shelby County Jail. Members of the black Tennessee Rifles militia also posted themselves outside the jail to keep watch and guard against a lynching.

On Monday, March 7, Tommie's pregnant wife Betty Moss came to jail with food for her husband but was turned away by Judge DuBose who told her to come back again in three days.

On Tuesday, March 8, lawyers for several of the black men filed writs of habeas corpus but DuBose quashed them. After news filtered out that the injured deputies were not going to die the tensions outside the jail seemed to abate and the Tennessee Rifles thought it was no longer necessary to guard the jail grounds, especially as the Shelby County Jail itself was thought to be impregnable. But, as Ida B. Wells would write in retrospect, the news that the deputies would survive was actually a catalyst for violence for the black men could not now be "legally" executed for their crime.

The Lynching:

On Wednesday, March 9, at about 2:30 a.m. seventy-five men in black masks surrounded the Shelby County Jail and nine entered. They dragged Tommie Moss, Will Stewart, and Calvin McDowell from their cells and brought them to a Chesapeake & Ohio railroad yard a mile outside of Memphis. What followed was described in such harrowing detail by the white papers that it was clear reporters had been called in advance to witness the lynching.

At the railroad yard McDowell "struggled mightily" and at one point managed to grab a shotgun from one of his abductors. After the mob wrested it from him they shot at his hands and fingers "inch by inch" until they were shot to pieces. Replicating the wounds the white deputies had suffered they shot four holes into McDowell's face, each large enough for a fist to enter. His left eye was shot out and the "ball hung over his cheek in shreds." His jaw was torn out by buckshot. Where "his right eye had been there was a big hole which his brains oozed out." The Appeal-Avalanche added his injuries were in accord with his "vicious and unyielding nature."

Will Stewart was described as the most stoic of the three, "obdurate and unyielding to the last." He was also shot on the right side of the neck with a shotgun, and was shot with a pistol in the neck and left eye.

Moss was also shot in the neck. His dying words, reported in the papers, were, "Tell my people to go West, there is no justice for them here."


Cover of Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases
The murders led to increasing grief and unrest among the black population, along with rumors that blacks planned to meet at the Peoples Grocery and take revenge against whites. Judge DuBose ordered the sheriff to take possession of the swords and guns belonging to the Tennessee Rifles and to dispatch a hundred men to the Peoples Grocery where they should "shoot down on sight any Negro who appears to be making trouble." Gangs of armed white men rushed to the Curve and began shooting wildly into any groups of blacks they encountered, then looted the grocery. Subsequently the grocery was sold for one-eighth its cost to William Barrett.

The lynching became a front page story in the New York Times on March 10 and countered the image of the "New South" that Memphis was trying to promote. The lynching sparked national outrage and Ida B. Wells' editorial embraced Moss' dying words and encouraged blacks to strike out for the West and "leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood when accused by white persons." This sparked an emigration movement that eventually saw 6,000 blacks leave Memphis for the Western Territories. At a meeting of one thousand people at Bethel A. M. E. Church in Chicago in response to this lynching as well as two earlier lynchings (Ed Coy in Texarkana, Arkansas and a woman in Raiville, Louisiana), a call by the presiding minister for the crowd to sing the then de facto national anthem, "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)" was refused in protest, and the song, "John Brown's Body" was substituted. The widespread violence and particularly the murder of her friends drove Wells to research and document lynchings and their causes. She began investigative journalism by looking at the charges given for the murders, which officially started her anti-lynching campaign.


Robert Reed Church

Robert Reed Church (June 18, 1839 – August 29, 1912) was an African-American entrepreneur, businessman and landowner in Memphis, Tennessee who began his rise during the American Civil War. He was the first African-American "millionaire" in the South. His total wealth probably reached $700,000, not a round million. Church built a reputation for great wealth and influence in the business community. He founded Solvent Savings Bank, the first black-owned bank in the city, which extended credit to blacks so they could buy homes and develop businesses. As a philanthropist, Church used his wealth to develop a park, playground, auditorium and other facilities for the black community, who were excluded by state-enacted racial segregation from most such amenities in the city.

Charles B. Church, His Father

The son of a mixed-race mother and white father, Church began working as a steward when his father, a steamboat owner, took him along on his route between Memphis and New Orleans. Robert Church bought his first property in Memphis in 1862. He was well established by 1878-79, the years of devastating yellow fever epidemics which resulted in dramatic depopulation in the city. With property devalued, Church bought numerous businesses as well as undeveloped land, with the long-term view of their appreciation as the city recovered. He built his great wealth on this real estate. He purchased the first $1000 municipal bond to help the city recover from bankruptcy after it was reduced to a Taxing District.

Early Life:


His home at the corner of Lance and Lauderdale in Memphis, TN.

Robert Reed Church was born a slave in 1839 in Holly Springs, Mississippi, as the son of Emmeline, a mixed-race woman from Virginia. His mother was a slave and his father was Captain Charles B. Church, a white steamship owner from Virginia who operated along the Mississippi River.
 According to family accounts, Emmeline was the daughter of an enslaved "Malay" Malagasy princess and of a white planter from Lynchburg.
Robert's mother Emmeline died in 1851, when he was 12. His father Captain Church began taking Robert along on his river journeys to and from New Orleans. The youth worked as the steward of the steamship's mess hall, picking up business acumen and contacts, including future Louisiana political leader James Lewis and saving money earned. In 1862 Robert Church bought a bar in Memphis, which he eventually traded for a saloon and billiard room. (He must have been free by then to buy property, and his father may have vouched for him.) In 1860, the black population of the city was 3,000, but it rapidly increased as fugitive slaves fled from rural plantations to Union lines in the occupied city. Church had many customers for his businesses and became influential in the developing black community, which reached 20,000 by 1865.
The next year, postwar tensions in the city erupted in the Memphis Riots of 1866, when a white ethnic Irish mob attacked South Memphis, killing 45 blacks and injuring many more, and destroying houses, churches and businesses. The dramatic demographic changes had resulted in competition among ethnic Irish, who dominated the city's police and fire departments; decommissioned black Union soldiers who had been stationed nearby, and other African Americans. Church was shot and wounded in his saloon during the riot. A total of two whites died.

Real Estate Empire:

By 1878-79 Church had acquired considerable wealth. Familiar with the high death tolls from the 1873 yellow fever epidemic, he moved his family to safety outside the city during the even worse epidemic of 1878, as well as the following year. As the city was depopulated by the flight of 25,000 people during the 1878 Yellow Fever epidemic and death toll of more than 5,000, the land was devalued. Church saw a great opportunity in Memphis real estate and had the resources to buy up property holdings throughout the city. He acquired commercial buildings, some residential housing, and bars in the red-light district, as well as undeveloped land. It is estimated that in later years he was able to collect approximately $6,000 a month in rent from his properties.
Multiple sources refer to Church as the first black millionaire, although it is now generally accepted that his wealth reached about $700,000.  Popular myth holds that Church bought the first $1,000 bond that aided restoration of the city's credit after the epidemic, but city records do not support that.
With his immense wealth, Church funded the development of high-quality facilities for black Memphians, who were excluded by the state law of racial segregation from many white institutions at the time. He developed a public park, a playground, a concert hall, and an auditorium. Church used the properties for related philanthropy: he helped sponsor graduation ceremonies, political rallies, and shows in the parks for the city's African Americans. He also hosted and funded a free annual Thanksgiving meal for the black poor. In 1906, Church, Josiah T. Settle, M. L. Clay, and T. H. Hayes established the Solvent Savings Bank, Memphis's first black bank, and Church served as founding president. He ensured that blacks could gain access to loans for businesses and homes, to advance their lives.

Beale Street First Baptist Church

Personal Life:

Not much is known about Church's personal life. He rarely, if ever, wrote personal correspondence, and never made a public speech, despite his wide popularity and influence in Memphis.
Church married three times. His first wife, Louisa Ayers, was of mixed-race, born into slavery. They both supported education for their two children, a daughter and son. Their daughter Mary Church Terrell was one of the first black American women to earn a college degree. She became a teacher, then a principal, as well as a civil rights activist. In 1909 she was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and in 1896 the first black woman to be appointed to the school board of a major city (Washington, DC).  Church and Louisa divorced.
Secondly he married Anna Wright. They also had a son and daughter. Their son Robert Reed Church, Jr. became a businessman, taking over his father's enterprises. He became politically influential, establishing the Lincoln League in 1916 to work to register black voters, in part by paying their poll taxes. Within a short time, he signed up 10,000 new black voters in Memphis, and worked with E.H. Crump and his machine politics. Church served as an adviser to Republican presidents in the 1920s but declined any political appointments.  Church eventually married a third time, after Anna died.
The senior Church generally chose to stay outside the politics of his era, which enabled him to maintain influence among both white and black Memphians. He was chosen as a delegate for William McKinley to the 1900 Republican Convention.


Church died August 2, 1912, after a brief illness. He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery on the south side of downtown Memphis.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Reminising - Dad's 1940 Ford

1940 Ford

1940 Ford, excerpt from ad below. Image courtesy of

[Editor’s note: This “Reminiscing” story, edited by Richard Lentinello, comes to us from Hemmings Classic Car reader Thomas Murphy.]

One memory that I will never forget is about my father’s 1940 Ford Opera Coupe. It had the jump seats in the rear which, when not in use, folded up parallel to the sides of the rear compartment. Back in 1950, those jump seats were usually occupied by my brother and I; I was just five years old at the time.
My father was one of the original hot-rodders. The Ford had a flathead truck V-8 block which was bored out – apparently truck blocks allowed for thicker cylinder walls for purposes of over boring. The engine was equipped with a 3/4 racing camshaft, high compression Granatelli aluminum cylinder heads, a four-barrrel carburetor, exhaust headers and dual exhausts and Lincoln Zephyr gears for the second gear.
That old Ford would wind out to 90 miles per hour in second gear before shifting to third was required due to those Zephyr gears. There was not much on the street in 1950 that would touch it. The Ford looked stock, being a black 1940 Deluxe Coupe. Only two rusty exhaust pipes sticking out the rear belied it was not stock.

One day we were on a touring vacation in Canada in the Fall of 1950. We were stopped on a gravel road which had an overhead stop light hanging from a wire traversing the intersection on a four-lane road. What pulled alongside us at the light was a brand-spanking new Powder Blue Oldsmobile “Rocket 88” fastback coupe. The Olds still had the price and equipment sticker on the rear-side window. When I looked over from my jump seat out the side rear window of the Ford, the driver of the Olds was smiling like a Cheshire cat and glancing at his buddy in the passenger seat, while revving the Oldsmobile’s engine.
When the light changed, my father, who was never one to ignore a challenge for a race, took off. From the light we were side by side with the Oldsmobile. In First gear we were fender to fender, and the Olds owner was looking a bit quizzical at our evenness. Bear in mind that the loser of this gambit would be eating the winner’s dust from the gravel road. In Second gear I remember the Ford winding out to 90 miles per hour, and it ended up two car lengths ahead of the now vanishing Olds when the shift to Third gear occurred.
So much for the much-heralded Rocket 88 Oldsmobile. That ’40 Ford was fast!

Source: Richard Lentinello on Jul 12th, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Glenview Historic District Is A Neighborhood In Memphis, TN

Glenview Historic District is a neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district in 1999.The neighborhood is between South Memphis and Midtown and bounded by the Illinois Central Railroad on the west, Lamar Ave on the east, Southern Ave on the north and South Parkway on the south.

Glenview was one of several suburban residential subdivisions in Memphis that were created during a building boom in the early 20th century. Architecture is representative of suburban development of that period, including bungalows, cottages, Foursquare, Colonial, Dutch Colonial Tudor and Spanish Revival styles.

Glenview has many well-kept houses and is majority African American. It is also home to Eternal Peace Missionary Baptist Church, The Willet Apartments and Glenview Community Center. Home sizes range from about 1,000 square feet (93 m2) to 3,000 square feet (280 m2).


The Anderson Coward House, Memphis, TN

 Anderson-Coward House.JPG

The Anderson-Coward House, also known as Justine's Restaurant, is a historic mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.


The mansion was built circa 1852 for Nathaniel Anderson, a planter. It was designed in the Italianate architectural style. It was purchased by H.M. Grosvenor, until it was acquired by William C. Coward as debt settlement. It was passed on to his son, William Holliday Coward. After his death in the early 1900's, it was inherited by his daughter Ida and her husband, Robert O. Johnston, a lawyer and banker.

The mansion was repurposed as a restaurant in 1958.


First Baptist Church, Lauderdale, Memphis, TN

First Baptist Church MEMPHIS.JPG

The First Colored Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, also known as First Baptist Church—Lauderdale, was built in 1939 in a vernacular Colonial Revival style, with design attributed to Rev. Thomas O. Fuller.
Front of the church
It is a rectangular brick building with brick laid in common bond. It has a limestone fence separating its parking area from the street, which is a c.1890 fence from the former Second Empire-styled Sanford house on the property.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. It was deemed significant for its association with Thomas Oscar Fuller (1867-).


Annesdale Neighborhood In Memphis, TN

This home is located off of Peabody Avenue in Memphis in the Annesdale Neighborhood in Memphis TN.

This is another home that is located on Peabody Avenue in the same neighborhood. It is called a foursquare style home.

You will also find in this neighborhood the oldest Cemetery in Memphis. This is where many of the Confederate Soldiers are buried as well as the Yellow Fever Victims.

This is the Church Tomb, located in Elmood Cemetery. Robert Church was one of the first Black Millionaires in Memphis.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

20 Legendary Muscle Cars

legendary muscle cars (1)

The 1987 Buick GNX is a luxury mid-size car that first came out in 1973. However, it continued to create good reputation even after the 80s and 90s. Buick manufactured the GNX until 2004 and by then, it has already gained a name as one of the legendary muscle cars in the world. The car shared the same powertrain and body with the Buick Century. Hence, you can be sure that it is sturdy and muscular for any type of driving.

In 1987, Buick offered a lightweight WE4 (Turbo T). A powerful car, it was also a rare muscle car. Buick released only 1,547 of these legendary muscle cars. Major differences from its predecessors included interior trim package, wheels, exterior badging, and aluminum bumper supports. Additionally, its aluminum rear brake drums was different to the Grand National’s cast iron, making the WE4 a lighter and faster car.

Moreover, the model year 1987 was only when the LC2 Turbo option was available. Hence, it gained a limited edition badge with a vinyl landau roof and a power bulge turbo hood. To make it even more exclusive, owners can order with many options with most having chrome external trim but for $35. Due to limited edition status, these legendary muscle cars had very luxurious interior with plush carpeting and optional bench pillow seats and a column shift.

The 1971 Dodge Demon 340 is a premium performance car who roots goes back to the Dodge Dart. They designed it to go head to head against its Plymouth cousin. Its arrival was timely because that was when the muscle car era was moving towards its peak, in the 60s and 70s. Sales for muscle cars skyrocketed during that era and the spotlight was on the Charger, Challenger, and Daytona. Still, the unique Demon 340 had its fair share of the limelight.

Dodge jumped from providing cheap cars into creating Mopar-standard legendary muscle cars. They stated with the GTS, which they released only in a limited run due to its late release in the year. To have an idea of its power, the car carried Dodge’s 340ci V8 engine. After that, Dodge released the Swinger and Swinger 340. These legendary muscle cars came with massive 440ci V8 engines. They came optional with 383ci engine.

Initially, the Demon came from Beaver. However, since it appeared to be slang for “female anatomy” they changed it. Still, it continued to be a controversial name especially for religious people. Dodge received pressure to change the name but they decided to just continue with it. To fit the new Dart Demon into their lineup, Dodge shifted the Swinger name over to the custom 2-door Dart model and introduced the Swinger Special name to replace the Dart Swinger moniker.

The 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 was the car to have during this model year. Also known as the “Jet Smooth,” this car is very popular such that even the Beach Boys made a song about it. One the legendary muscle cars of its time, it arrived with a squared stance and sophisticated styling. As a premium Chevy, it offered glamour and comfort all the way down to its performance. This car remained the top of the line model offering, followed by the mid-line Bel Air and then the affordable Biscayne. After initial offering, its production continued to soar.

Afterwards, Chevy separated the Impala from its original line. Then, it became the second most expensive car for the auto maker in that model year. The car came standard with extra thick foam cushion seat, bright aluminum front seat end panels, bright instrument panel insert with nameplate molding, electric clock, and parking brake warning light. Moreover, it had an Impala center emblem on steering wheel, and special padded arm rests for front and rear seats.

Under the hood, this muscle car has a 425-hp 409 engine with Twin 4 barrel carburetors. With its powerful engine, it can truly perform on the road. Even though they released it in the mid-60s, its power is way ahead of its time.

The 1969 AMC AMX 390 is a two-door and two-seat muscle car that first came out in 1968. AMC produced this car up until 1970. Popular as a muscle car, they also classify it as a sports car. A unique car, it was one of the few two-seat cars in the market at that time, following the Ford Thunderbird. To a certain degree, the AMX was the direct competitor of the Chevrolet Corvette. It arrived with a high-compression medium block 390 cu in (6.4 L) AMC V8 engine. Hence, it offered top-notch performance at an affordable price.

The 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427 is a product of the deep experience of Chevy among legendary muscle cars. Chevy released the first Corvette in 1953 and it has gone a long way since. The 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427 is a perfect example of the experience and expertise the auto maker has. From the outside, this car may look like a sports car but underneath it is a potent 235 cu. in., 150-horsepower “Blue Flame” six and a two-speed Powerglide transmission. It may look cute but it performs well on the road.

The 1969 Mercury Cougar 428 Eliminator is a move away from the pony-style among legendary muscle cars. This car came with a sharp crease along the flanks that started at the nose and tapered down each side. The design ended just at the leading edge of the rear wheel arches. Hence, it is not that much different from the Buick Skylark of the era although it distinguished itself from a Chevy Chevelle. A high-performance car, it carried a 290-hp-rated engine.

The 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner 426 Hemi is a mid-size muscle that has great focus on performance. It arrived a time a when original muscle cars were moving away from simply offering cheap, fast cars. Auto makers started putting more features, which resulted to an increase in price. Hence, Plymouth developed this car to market a lower priced, basic trim model to its upscale GTX. Still powerful, it is one of the legendary muscle cars come to with a massive Hemi engine.

The 1969 Ford Torino Talladega 428 CJ is a racing version of the base Torino Talladega. It carries the same aggressive stance as the base muscle car but has a more potent engine underneath. Powerful and reliable, it still maintained capability as a street car. Hence, this muscle car is legal to drive on the road. Its engine can produce high torque at low RPMs, rather than being a high-revving race engine.

The 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 455 HO is a specialty package for the base model that transforms the muscle car into an out of this world machine. The package brings an upgrade on handling, suspension, and horsepower. It also brought minor appearance modifications such as exclusive hoods, spoilers, fog lights, and wheels. Engine choices included a L98 5.7 liter (350 ci) TPI (Tuned Port Injection) V8 mated to GM’s corporate 700R4 automatic transmission or the 5.0 liter (305 ci) TPI V8.

The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 is an iconic muscle car. It paved the way for pony legendary muscle cars to thrive in the market. Many manufacturers followed suit after it launched pony-style muscle cars. It may not be as powerful as Hemi-powered muscle cars, it excelled well in other areas especially on looks. Although less potent, it can still deliver that kind of power to make it roar.

The 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 426 Hemi is part of the second-generation of this line of legendary muscle cars. This vehicle comes with a massive 425 bhp (316.9 kW) 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi engine. Designed for the road and track, hence the name, this Challenger can blow minds when it comes to performance. Aside from this, it is a luxurious ride with leather seats, a vinyl roof, a smaller ‘formal’ rear window, and an overhead interior console.

The 1969 Oldsmobile 442 Hurst 455 is the return of this iconic muscle car. Originally released in 1968, it is one of the legendary muscle cars to hit the pavement. One of the biggest modifications on this car was the switch from the silver and black paint scheme of ’68 to a new Firefrost gold on white paint scheme. Future Oldsmobiles followed this color scheme. Under the hood, this muscle car has 455 the cubic-inch Rocket V8 (W46), producing 380 horsepower (280 kW) and 500 lb/ft of torque.

The 1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge 400 Ram Air is part of the second generation of this muscle car lineup. Pontiac implemented many changes on this car including the removal of front door vent windows. They moved the ignition key from the dashboard to the steering column. Moreover, the gauge faces changed from steel blue to black. It carried a Ram Air III engine rated at 366 hp (273 kW) at 5,100 rpm. The top option was the 370 hp (280 kW) Ram Air IV.

The 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda 426 is an iconic muscle car is a two-door muscle car that first came out in 1964. The 1971 model year is part of the third generation of this car. This fastback A-body coupe started moving away from the Valiant during this time. Under the hood, it carried Chrysler’s 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi engine. As one of the legendary muscle cars then, it received upgraded suspension components and structural reinforcements to help transfer the power to the road.

The 1970 Buick GSX 455 Stage 1 is proof of the peak of Detroit power among legendary muscle cars. It came at a perfect time because during its launch, General Motors lifted its self-imposed engine restriction for intermediate platforms. Truly an impressive car, it can run fast and it can run far. Conservatively rated at 350 hp, the Stage 1 option gave the car a higher-performance camshaft and more, netting an increased rating of 360 horses.

The 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 CobraJet is one of the smallest and lightest legendary muscle cars. Often called simply as “Cobras,” they are Ford-powered AC-based two-seat sports car. It uses the Cobra emblem, similar paint scheme, and the optional “Cobra” valve covers. It features the K-Code 271 hp (202 kW; 275 PS) 289 cu in (4.7 L), modified to produce 306 hp (228 kW; 310 PS). Although not built for comfort, this car came out to race.

The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO 427 carries the mightiest among engines, the aluminum block, 427 cubic inch V8 engine. Fitted on this Camaro, the muscle car could run circles around most of the Corvettes on the street. A powerful option even for drag racing, this Camaro is only for racers who brave the speed. This muscle car has a 396 SS body but had the F4l suspension, ZL2 cowl-induction hood, heavy duty front springs, and heavy duty front brakes.

The 1968 Shelby GT 500 KR is a vintage high performance muscle car. It is powerful because it has a version of the 428 engine known as the “Cobra Jet”. Due to its performance, it got a nickname “King of the Road”. Hence, it has KR on its name. Ford rated its engine at 335 horsepower (250 kW). However, with 440 foot-pounds of torque at 3400 RPM, many claim Ford under reported its horsepower.

The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 is one of the roughest legendary muscle cars to hit the road. This car has a more aggressive squared-up stance following the coke bottle styling. Inside, it received an upgrade from its predecessors. A powerful beast, engine choices ranged from the standard 155 horsepower (116 kW) six-cylinder and 200-horsepower 307-cubic-inch V8, to a pair of 350 V8s and a pair of 402 engines.

The 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum is a pop icon reference during its time. They used this car on The Dukes of Hazzard TV series from 1979 to 1985. On the show, the car did spectacular jumps in almost every episode, and the show’s popularity produced consumer interest in the car. The car has two options for engine – two different 383 engines available for the 1969 model year: 2-barrel and 4-barrel. The 2-barrel was rated at 290 hp while the four barrel engine was rated at 330 hp.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Tri State Fair

1951 . Science exhibit at the 'Colored Tri-State Fair'. Booker T. Washington High students Sylvester Butler and James Wheeler.

African Americans had attended and participated in the Tri-State Fair well into the 1870's.  Following the collapse of Reconstruction and the 1896 "separate but equal" legalized segregation,  Memphis blacks and whites occupied two separate societies.  In 1911, prominent African-Americans founded, organized, and ran their own fair called the "Negro Tri-State Fair". It was held at the Fairgrounds a few days after the white fair closed.  This was an important event in the black community for decades.  When the white fair changed its name to the Mid-South Fair in 1928, the black fair became simply the Tri-State Fair until it was discontinued in 1959.  The Mid-South Fair was integrated in 1962.

Tri-State Fair   .    Mid-South Fair
Fairs have been held continuously in Memphis for 152 years - up to 2008 when the city wouldn't renew the lease of the Mid-South Fair.  The first fair "Shelby County Fair"  was staged in Memphis in 1856.  It ran for two days.  In 1858 attendance picked up and it ran for four days.  This was the period when traditions were being started, such as harness racing, which would continue until the 1930's.  By then the Montgomery Race Track had become a part of the fair's history.  Between 1873-1877 attendance dropped dramatically because of the yellow fever epidemic.  From 1880-1906 was a time of rebuilding after the Civil War. 

In 1908 the fair as we know it was born and the name was changed to Tri-State Fair.  The newly organized fair leased the grounds of Montgomery Park for five years.  Since gambling had been outlawed in 1905, the racetrack had been mostly out of use.  In 1912, the city bought Montgomery park from the Memphis Jockey Club, and from that date, The Fairgrounds Park was established.  The Tri-State name change was a measure to entice more people around Memphis to attend. 
In 1929 the name was changed again to the Mid-South Fair, and it was the main attraction in Memphis for many years.   In addition to the traditional attractions associated with fairs, the Mid-South fair included a Carnival midway and rides, concerts, and a talent show.   The fair was not only popular among people in the Memphis area, but also those in adjacent cities in Tennessee, as well as neighboring states of Mississippi and Arkansas.  In 2008 when Memphis wouldn't renew the lease, the Mid-South Fair moved to northwest Mississippi.  

Source: Internet


William Pitt Deaderick


Tennessee, USA
Death: Apr. 2, 1889
Shelby County
Tennessee, USA

Son of John George Deaderick and Eliza G.E. Dunn. Husband of first Rachel J. Hays, with one son dying in childhood, and second married Martha S. "Mattie" Park. They had 3 daughters. John G. Deaderick and family owned a large plantation that is present day Orange Mound in Memphis, Tn.

Family links:

  John G Deaderick (1791 - 1831)
  Eliza E G Deaderick (____ - 1845)

  Martha "Mattie" S. Park Deaderick (1844 - 1929)*

  Samuel Hayes Deaderick (1855 - 1867)*
  Virginia Barron Deaderick Fleece (1868 - 1919)*
  Elsie Garland Deaderick (1869 - 1961)*
  Elise Garland Deaderick (1870 - 1961)*
  Anna Mae Deaderick Clarkson (1874 - 1925)*

  Michael David Deaderick (1822 - 1881)*
  William Pitt Deaderick (1827 - 1889)
  Mary Elizabeth Deaderick Speed (1832 - 1898)*

*Calculated relationship
Elmwood Cemetery
Shelby County
Tennessee, USA

Created by: Sarah Perry
Record added: Nov 24, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44757536

Saturday, February 11, 2017

1955 Huffy Radiobike

Christmas has come and gone, and some of us may not have gotten exactly what we were wishing for. Many of us receive Christmas money from grandparents, and other relatives, fueling our desires to get that one thing we really wanted for Christmas, like this bicycle. This 1955 Huffy Radiobike is a great survivor that is rare, and complete. The Radiobike was made for 1955 and 1956 making some very lucky kids the coolest kids on their street, being able to have portable music built right into their bicycle. Unfortunately, not long after the Radiobikes release, the transistor radio came out making it very easy to take music with you any, and everywhere. This rare two wheeled mercury vapor tube radio is offered at $1,800. Find it here on ebay out of Ohio.

Within this tank lies a narrow mercury vapor tube radio. There is a volume knob, as well as a tuning knob, and the key is a locking on/off switch to prevent others from draining your batteries when you aren’t with your bike. The white tube coming out of the bottom of the tank is the antenna. Wearing the lovely “Flamboyant Red” color, the Huffy Radiobike was also offered in “Flamboyant Green” and “Flamboyant Blue”. Although the Radiobike was offered for 2 years, it is speculated that there were only 8,500 bikes made. 8,500 doesn’t sound like too low of a number, but the Radio built into the tank was not cut out for the outdoors, and many fell subject to failure. Upon out living their usefulness as a radio with wheels, the transistor radio would become a quick replacement, and the “Muscle” bikes of the 1960s didn’t do the Radiobikes any favors, making them appear old and outdated.

Fortunately, this radio looks to be in fair health, needing to be cleaned and tested. Also fortunately the on/off switch key is with this bike as well. This 3 tube radio was designed, and manufactured by Yellow Springs Instrument Company.

In nice survivor condition, there are areas where some surface rust has developed.  The radio side of the tank has some minor surface rust, but much of the paint, and graphic on the tank is present. There is also some surface rust forming on the chain guard as well as the rear fender. The battery pack compartment is very clean. Thankfully someone removed the batteries preventing corrosion to the battery area.  The 1955 only headlight is nice with no rust, or paint issues. The handle bars and fork crown are beautifully shiny, although the wheels have not aged as well. There is some corrosion, and even minor rust forming on the rims. These wheels are likely suitable to ride, but they are just a bit ugly as far as condition goes. But we aren’t too picky, we would gladly welcome this 2 wheeled find to our collection. How about you?


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The True Magic of Stradivarius Violins

A Stradivarius is a violin or other string instrument, such as a viola or cello, produced during the late 17th and early 18th centuries by members of the Italian Stradivari family. They are widely regarded to be the best-sounding string instruments in the world. In this article, we will not only explain why this violin is so special, we will demonstrate and even test you! Scroll to the bottom to see if you can pick a Stradavarius violin from others!
The master luthier, Antonio Stradivari, was born in Cremona, Italy in 1644. Historians estimate that he produced some 1,116 instruments during his long lifetime (he lived until he was 93 years old). Some 960 of his creations were violins. In the present day, about half of the instruments he created survive, with some 450-510 of these being violins.
So how much are they worth, and why? 
An original Stradivari string instrument, with particular reference to violins, can fetch hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars at auction, and this is because of the pervasive belief that they are the finest instruments of their kind ever created.
Many cite the beautiful sound and the construction of a Stradivarius violin as the two key factors that make it worth paying millions of dollars to acquire, however many scientific experiments comparing a Stradivarius violin to its contemporaries in both period and quality of construction have not found any noteworthy difference in sound quality.
If that's the case, then why do people pay tens of millions for them? 
Many of the world’s greatest violinists, such as Joshua Bell (pictured), swear by their Stradivarius violins - perhaps quite understandably considering the millions of dollars they spent acquiring one or more of the instruments.
Back in 2003, scientists at Columbia University in the USA cited a higher-than-usual wood density with superior acoustical qualities for the distinctive sound produced by Stradivarius instruments. This increase in wood density was due to reduced solar activity in the 17th Century, which has not been repeated in the time since. Trees that are less exposed to sunlight grow at a slower rate than those that get plenty, thus their density is higher.
The best-sounding Stradivarius violins of all are said to be the ones that have been set up properly, with modifications or additions such as the thickening of the wooden plate, the movement of the sound post and bass bar.
Listen to Anne Akiko Myers play the ex-Napoleon Stradivarius:
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But what makes a Stradivarius violin stand out over others?
The shape of the instrument is said to make a big difference to how it sounds. The many varying Stradivarius shapes are reflective of the master luthier’s pursuit of perfection. Stradivari was constantly trying to produce better and better wares, and took the feedback he was given from musicians who played his violins very seriously.
Above all else, experts agree that the key differentiating factor that Stradivarius violins have over others is their sheer clarity of tone. However, they add that every single instrument produced by Stradivari has a very strong personality of its own, therefore even the best violinist has to take the character of the instrument into account to reap the rewards it can offer.
So which one is the one to have?
The most expensive Stradivarius violin sold to date is the Lady Blunt (pictured above). It fetched $15.9 million at auction back in 2011. It was created during Stradivari’s so-called “Golden” period – between 1700 and the early 1720s – when the master is widely believed to have been producing his very best work. It is one of the two best-preserved Stradivarius violins in the entire world.
Can you pick a Stradivarius violin from its sound alone? Find out with this next video: 

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

20 Classic Cars You Probably Don’t Know (But Should)

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

The 1966 Toronado was the first American-build front-wheel-drive car in three decades and there was nothing else like it when it was introduced in 1965.

Dubbed as a ‘personal luxury car’ it featured a sleek profile and an extremely masculine styling that perfectly complemented its 425-cubic-inch V8 engine that generated 385 hp and propelled the 4,000-lb beast to a top speed of 120 mph.

The 7.0-liter V8 was mated to GM’s new Turbo-Hydramatic three-speed automatic that sent power from the engine to the front differential. Half shafts then directed the power to the front wheels.
In this four-wheel-drive form, the transmission was called the TH425 which featured a torque converter connected to the planetary gearset by a chain-drive system called the Hy-Vo.

The first generation Toronado lasted from 1996 to 1970. Olds used the Toronado name for 26 years, spanning four generations. Annual updates gave each model year a unique look, particularly up front. Interior styling also changed to give drivers something new to sit behind.

The 1966 model featured a pointed grille and a long nose. The headlights were of the popup variety and the front fenders stretched past the grille. These gave the car a sleek and a one-of-a-kind look.

1969 Dodge Coronet Super Bee 426 Hemi

1969 Dodge Coronet Super Bee 426 Hemi

The Super Bee name has been associated with the Dodge Charger, but the original Super Bee was later used on the Coronet, which was based on the Plymouth Road Runner. The car was produced from 1968 to 1970.

The name “Super Bee” was derived from the “B” Body designation pertinent to the mid-sized cars of Chrysler, including the Charger and the Road Runner. The design of the original Super Bee was inspired by the 1968 Coronet convertible, while the car’s cabin was crafted by the Alexander Brothers.

Although the Super Bee and the Road Runner are similar in terms of looks, the former was slightly heavier  and rode on a 117-inch wheelbase compared to the latter’s 116-inch wheelbase. Aside from trivial external variations like bigger rear wheel openings, fancier grilles, bumblebee tailstripe, and taillight ornamentation, the Super Bee also made use of diecast chrome-plated “Bee” medallions.

The 1968 model was only available as a two-door coupe with two engine choices, the base 335 horsepower 383 Magnum, and the 426 Hemi that blasted out 425 hp. A hardtop version joined the coupe in 1969 and an optional twin-scooped air induction hood became available. This option was called the “Ramcharger”and was the counterpart to the Road Runner’s “Coyote Duster” air induction hood.

A “six-pack” version of Dodge’s 440 cubic-inch engine was added mid-year. These special order 1969 1/2 Super Bees were referred to as A12 M-code cars. The A12 package equipped the cars with a Dana 60 axle, a ‘lift off’ flat black scooped hood, heavy duty automatic or a four-speed gearbox.

Other features of the A12 package included heavy duty internal engine components, 11-inch drum brakes, and black steel rims wrapped in high performance G-70 15″ tires. The 1969 model year included the base 383 Magnum, the 440 Six Pack, and the 426 Hemi.

1971 Stutz Blackhawk
1971 Stutz Blackhawk

1971 was the first production year and generation of the Blackhawk, an American luxury car manufactured through 1987. These hand-crafted cars were marketed as pure luxury with an initial price tag of $22,500. Each of these classic cars took approximately 1,500 hours to build.

The Blackhawk was powered by Pontiac’s 7.5-liter V8 mated to a General Motors TH400 three-speed automatic. With the engine tuned to generate 425 hp and 420 ft·lb of torque, the 5000 lb Blackhawk can accelerate from standstill to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph.

Aside from the name, the car bears no other other resemblance to the original Blackhawk. The Stutz Motor Company was given a new lease on life in 1968 by James O’Donnell, a banker from New York.
He collaborated with retired Chrysler designer Virgil Exner who penned the new Blackhawk. Exner’s style included a a massive grille, freestanding headlights, and a spare tire that protruded through the trunk lid. Ghia prototyped the new Blackhawk in Italy to the tune of $300,000.

The Blackhawk made its debut in early 1970 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. All early models were coupes, but rare sedans were built later. The convertible versions were known as Bearcat and D’Italia. Stutz Blackhawks were the preferred rides among elite entertainers of the day.

By 1976 Stutz had sold a total of 205 Blackhawks and six units were hand-built every month in Italy and then shipped to the United States. By 1980, 350 Blackhawks had been sold and when production ceased in 1987, approximately 500 to 600 of these classic cars had been produced.

1958 Buick Century Caballero Station Wagon
1958 Buick Caballero Station Wagon

The Caballero is one of the automotive world’s rarest and most expensive wagon ever produced. It was only manufactured from 1957 to 1958 and was called a ‘pillar-less’ hardtop. Buick positioned it near the upper end of the market.

Under the hood was the company’s new ‘Nailhead’ V8 that cranked out 300 hp on the Century models, and 325 hp with the optional ‘tri-power’ carburetion. The engine is mated to a Dynaflow automatic gearbox with a new Variable Pitch feature. These classic cars were quick and endowed with an extensive list of equipment and luxury amenities.

With a design inspired by the Centurion’s 1956 ‘dream car’, Buick released an all-new line of automobiles for 1957. The cars were easily distinguished with their elegant interpretation of Buick’s conventional ‘Sweep Spear’ side trim, dipper rear beltline, and full wheel openings.

Vertical grille bars, ‘Venti-Port’ trims on the front fenders, and vertical rear taillights were all in keeping with the latest Buick design trends at the time. The wagon has a curb weight of 2120 kg, but it has decent acceleration and fuel economy rating.

It can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 9.9 seconds and blitzes the quarter mile in 17.4 seconds. Theoretical top speed has been pegged at 116 mph.

1969 Marcos 3.0 GT
1969 Marcos 3.0 GT

New at the 1968 London Show was the more potent Marcos 3-liter. Equipped with the double-carb Ford Essex V6 and transmission from the Ford Zodiac, production kicked off in January 1969.

Maximum power is 140 bhp and aside from the badging, the car is easily recognized by the huge central hood bulge that was needed to clear the massive engine.

The 3-liter came with a 4-speed manual with a Laycock-de-Normanville Overdrive for the third and fourth gears. A twin-carbureted 3-liter Volvo B30 straight-six was offered in December 1969. Two years later, 11 or 12 cars were powered by the 150 bhp Triumph 2.5-liter straight-six.

These engines were called the Marcos 2.5-liter. Since the hood was a close fit over the bigger engines, a corresponding variation in the hood design was needed with regard to the modifications intended to clear engine air intakes.

All inline-sixes required an angular bulge right of center on the hood in order to clear the carburetors. Later in 1969, V6 cars, like their four-cylinder counterparts, were given a new steel chassis. The original monocoque chassis was made of high-grade plywood. Either 100 or 119 of these wood-chassied six-cylinder cars were produced.

The Ford V6 variant accelerated to over 120 mph, but the Volvo-engined model wasn’t far behind it. With sales in the United States going strong, production of the Marcos 3.0 was up to three per week so the automaker had to invest in a larger facility in 1969.

Cars for the North American market were powered by Volvo’s inline-six cylinder, 3 liter engines bolted to Borg-Warner Type 35 automatic transmissions. They have a higher ride height and no headlight covers – all of these were made to attain US road certification.

1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II
1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II

The Spoiler II was a special edition model built to satisfy the burgeoning performance car market of the 1960s. It was was specifically designed and developed to meet NASCAR’s certification requirement and go toe-to-toe against Ford’s Torino Talladega.

The car was based on the Mercury Cyclone “Sportsroof” two-door hardtop and it was only sold to the public because homologation rules required at least 500 cars (the minimum back in 1969) be produced and offered for sale to the public. All production models were built during the first few weeks of 1969.

The design featured a flush-mounted grille and a stretched, tapered nose. The car also had re-rolled rocker panels so it could be lowered without violating the ride-height requirements of NASCAR. Two trim packages were offered: the Cale Yarborough Specials in Candy Apple Red over Wimbledon White, and the Dan Gurney Special in Presidential Blue and Wimbledon White.

The exact number of Cyclone Spoiler IIs that were produced is unknown, but it is believed to be somewhere between 300 and 500. These classic cars were powered by the 351 cubic-inch Windsor engine rated at 290 horsepower. Also produced was a standard-nosed model called Cyclone Spoiler, which was available with the same trim packages.

A sleeker front end was added to make the Spoiler II more aerodynamic at high speeds. Regular production Cyclones had an insert grille and headlights, but the Spoiler II had the nose replaced because it fared poorly in wind tunnel tests.

In a secret design move, the car’s rocker panels were reshaped and rolled so Mercury teams can run their racing cars approximately an inch closer to the ground while remaining within NASCAR regulations. This also significantly improved the car’s top speed by lowering its center of gravity and reducing wind resistance.

1965 Rambler Marlin
1965 Rambler Marlin

American Motors advertised the Marlin as the latest addition to its self-designed “Sensible Spectaculars” model range. Based on the 1964 Rambler Tarpon, the Marlin was officially introduced to the public on February 10, 1965 and released to dealer showrooms on March 19.

New car introductions back in the 1960s were a big deal and were frequently accompanied by extensive publicity and special invitations. As such, the Marlin was advertised in 2,400 newspapers on its debut and the news releases of American Motors positioned it as intended for buyers who want a sporty fastback that was also comfortable and roomy.

The Marlin was American Motors’ first model after the muscle car launches of the ’60s and the car was meant to outflank rivals as a vehicle they didn’t offer – a strategy now known as “niche marketing”. It was also one of the first American classic cars with front disc brakes as standard.
The Marlin followed the trademark design cues of the Plymouth Barracuda, Mustang 2+2, Ford Galaxie “Sports Roof”, and the 1965 fastback models from GM, including the Chevy Impala “Sport Coupe” models.

Standard equipment included deluxe exterior trim, front and rear center armrests when bucket seats were chosen, individual reclining front seats, and interiors from American Motors’ two-door Ambassador model, including the instrument panel and the dashboard.

1977 Lancia Scorpion
1977 Lancia Scorpion

The Lancia Scorpion is actually an imitation. In Europe it was known as the Beta Montecarlo and had 120 hp, but due to regulations when it came to the U.S., the car’s output dropped to a measly 81 hp. At the time Chevrolet already had the Monte Carlo name in the bag, so it went with Scorpion.

Spider versions of the Montecarlo sported a unique roll-back targa style convertible top that was manually operated. Based on the Abarth 030 prototype, the Montecarlo was known as the X1/8 while in development. It was aimed to be a Fiat-badged sibling to the Fiat X1/9. It had the same mid-engined setup, with a bigger engine and more spacious interior.

The car was handed over to Lancia and was built by Pininfarina in Turin, Italy. Production ran from 1975 to 1979 for the first series (S1). The second series (S2) was launched in 1980 but production ceased the following year.

The American market Lancia Scorpion differed from the Monte Carlo in several ways. It was powered by a smaller engine (1756 cc) because the 1995 cc motor in the Monte Carlo failed to comply with U.S. emissions standards. Due to the decrease in engine size and the installation of smog equipment, the Scorpion’s power output was significantly reduced.

The Scorpion featured semi pop-up headlights and the 1976 cars had solid rear buttresses. All Scorpions had the convertible top, and unlike the Monte Carlo, it only saw one production run. A total of 1,801 of these classic cars were built in 1976.

1965 Plymouth Belvedere II
1965 Plymouth Belvedere II

In 1965, Plymouth decided to make the Fury a full-size car again, so the Belvedere became the marque’s intermediate size offering, though it saw little updates and most dimensions remained the same. The Plymouth Fury was simply enlarged to restore a full-sized range which Plymouth had been lacking.

The Belvedere line was categorized into the Belvedere I, Belvedere II and the potent Satellite subseries. The latter was only offered as a convertible or as a hardtop coupe. These classic cars were powered by the 4.47-liter “LA block” V8 as the standard engine. Additional V8s were also offered including the 318, 361, 383, and the 426-S Wedge Head.

The Belvedere I was available as a station wagon or a 2- and 4-door sedan. The Belvedere II added a convertible and a nine-passenger station wagon.The Satellite convertible was the lineup’s most exclusive bodystyle, with production numbers reaching 1,860 units.

The sales figure was almost matched by the Belvedere II convertible, which saw 1,921 units built for 1965. The most sought after were the four-door sedans, with 35,968 and 41,445 units built for the Belvedere I and Belvedere II, respectively.

For 1965, the Belvedere name was dropped as a level of trim designation. It was used instead on intermediate size cars. Aside from the additional bodystyles, the differences between the Belvedere I and Belvedere II were extra accessories.

The Belvedere I had a heater, defroster, seat belts in the front, and blackwall tires. The Belvedere II came will all the standard equipment on the Belvedere I, plus special trim and upholstery, carpeting, foam cushions, and back-up lights.

1959 DeSoto Firedome
1959 DeSoto Firedome

Everyone knows the sleek and stylish Cadillac Eldorados from the 1950s. The DeSoto Firedome was an equally good-looking car which was often overlooked at the time. Owned by Chrysler, DeSoto manufactured the Firedome from 1952 to 1959.

Under the bonnet of the 1959 DeSoto Firedome was an overhead valve 383 cubic inch V-8 that produced 305 horsepower and 410 lb-ft. of torque. DeSoto offered four bodystyles including a convertible coupe, a two-door Sportsman, a four-door sedan and Sportsman.

Only 299 units of the convertible coupe were sold in 1959, making it the rarest in the Firedome range. The most coveted was the four-door sedan, of which 9,171 examples were produced. A three-speed manual transmission was standard with an automatic offered for an additional cost. Swivel front seats and silver color sweeps were also optional.

Standard list of amenities included all the equipment found in the Firesweep, plus variable speed windshield wipers, back-up lights, wheel covers, rear foam cushions, and carpets in the front and rear. Midway through the production year, the automaker added a padded dash, plaid upholstery, and custom steering wheel.

With an estimated curb weight of 1820 kg, the Firedome was pretty fast, accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and topping out 119 miles per hour. Average fuel consumption was rated at 14 miles per gallon.

1962 Studebaker Avanti
1962 Studebaker Avanti

The Avanti is a luxury coupe produced by the Studebaker Corporation from June 1962 to December 1963. The automaker advertised the Avanti as America’s only four passenger high-performance car. It was also described as one of the most important milestones of the postwar auto industry.

The Avanti smashed 29 records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The first private owner was Rodger Ward who received the car after winning the 1962 Indianapolis 500. The Avanti was officially introduced to the public in April 1962, simultaneously at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting and at the New York International Automobile Show.

The car was developed under the supervision of Studebaker president Sherwood Egbert. The design theme of the Avanti was the product of sketches Egbert drew casually on a jet-plane flight, 37 days after he became president of the company in February 1961.

Formal design was made by Raymond Loewy’s team of Bob Andrews, Tom Kellogg, and John Ebstein. The Avanti featured a fiberglass body mounted on the modified convertible chassis of the Studebaker Lark Daytona. The car was powered by a modified 289 Hawk engine.

The complex body shape of the Avanti would have been difficult and expensive to build in steel, so Studebaker decided to mold the exterior panels in fiberglass. The work was outsourced to Molded Fiberglass Body in Ashtabula, Ohio. It was the same firm that manufactured the fiberglass panels for the Chevy Corvette in 1953.

1967 DeTomaso Mangusta
1967 DeTomaso Mangusta (Ghia)

The Mangusta is a sports car manufactured and marketed by Italian automaker De Tomaso from 1967 to 1971. The word “mangusta” is Italian for mongoose, an animal known for its ability to kill cobras.
Rumor has it that the car was so named because De Tomaso was engaged in talks with Carroll Shelby about replacing the Shelby Cobra with a racing car to be produced in Italy.

However, no agreements were signed because Shelby became busy with the Ford GT40 racing program. Nonetheless. Argentine-born Alejandro de Tomaso and Carroll Shelby were buddies and business is business, so it was also speculated that the first batch of engines for the Mangusta may have been provided by Shelby.

A total of 401 Mangustas were produced, about 150 of the European model and the rest were the North American version. The first cars were said to have a more potent Ford HiPo 289 cu-in. engine, while the later cars were all powered by Ford 302 engines.

For the European version, the Mangusta was originally equipped with a mid-mounted Ford 289 V8 engine rated at 306 hp. In the North American market, the Mangusta was available with a 221 hp Ford 302 V8, driving through a five-speed ZF transaxle.

Giorgetto Giugiaro was responsible for the design of the car, which is easily distinguished by its gull-wing doors over the engine and luggage compartment. The Mangusta’s independent suspension, all round disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, were ahead of other automakers of the time.

1956 Buick Centurion
1956 Buick Centurion

The Buick Centurion Concept was another GM/Buick car with fighter jet aesthetics. It was introduced to the public at the 1956 Motorama Show. The body had been crafted from fiberglass, while the cabin drew inspiration from the cockpit of an airplane.

The Centurion’s full glass bubble roof was a daring and dynamic design move. The aerodynamic features start up front and graciously flowed through the rest of the car. The two-tone paint job was highlighted by the red interior and white-wall tires.

Power was supplied by a 325 horsepower V8 engine concealed under the long hood which sloped toward the grille. The headlights were were part of the body shell and mounted far behind the bumper. Inside, the passengers receive fresh air through twin air scoops located near the sides.

The rear of the Centurion was just as revolutionary, with its ‘wing-type’ fenders that later appeared on the 1959 Buick and Chevy models. There was also a TV camera in the rear that reported traffic updates to the driver through a TV screen mounted on the dashboard.

The cabin was trimmed in brushed bright metal and red leather. The front seats automatically slide back when a passenger opens the door, offering added space for easy entry and exit.

1964 Sunbeam Tiger
1964 Sunbeam Tiger

The Sunbeam Tiger is a high-performance variant of the British Rootes Group’s Sunbeam Alpine roadster, which had four cylinders compared to the Tiger’s eight. The car was designed in part by legendary American race car driver Carroll Shelby and it was produced from 1964 to 1967.

Shelby had conducted a similar V-8 conversion on the AC Cobra, and at that time he was hoping to be offered the contract to build the Tiger at his factory in the United States. However, Rootes decided to contract the production work to Jensen Motors Ltd at West Bromwich in England, and pay Carroll Shelby a royalty for every car built.

The Tiger was developed with the objective of competing against the Jaguar E-Type, so that tells you a lot right there. Two versions of the Tiger were produced: the Mark I (1964 to 67) which was powered by a 4.3-liter Ford V8; and the the Mark II which came equipped with the bigger Ford 4.7-liter engine.
Two prototypes and highly modified versions of the Mark I were entered into the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans, but neither managed to complete the race. The Tiger also competed in European rallies with some success, and for two years it was the AHRA’s record holder over a quarter-mile drag strip.

Production ceased in 1967 shortly after the Rootes Group was acquired by Chrysler, which didn’t have an engine that could replace the Ford V8. Thanks to the ease and affordability of modifying the Tiger, a few examples have survived in standard form.

1969 Saab Sonnett II
1966 Saab Sonnett II

In the early 1960's, Walter Kern, an engineer at MIT, and Björn Karlström, an aircraft and automotive illustrator, independently proposed a two-seat roadster with Saab parts and a two-stroke engine known as the “Shrike”. Two prototypes were built: the Saab Catherina by Sixten Sason and the Saab MFI13 by Malmö Flygindustri.

After some changes, the MFI13 was put into a limited production run in 1966 as the Sonnett II. A total of 28 units were made at the Aktiebolaget Svenska Järnvägsverkstäderna in Arlöv. All were were left hand drive and equipped with 841 cc three-cylinder two-stroke engines.

Another 230 units were produced in 1967, but as the 2-stroke engine became uncompetitive in the American market, the Ford Taunus V4 was used instead and the model was renamed the Sonnett V4.
Aside from the engine, the Sonnett II and Sonnett V4 share multiple components. Roughly 50 percent of the Sonnett II production survived and had been preserved or maintained by collectors, museums, and race enthusiasts.

The fiberglass body of the Sonnett II was bolted to a box-type chassis and a roll-bar was added to support the hard top. The front hood section moved forward to provide easy access to the engine, gearbox, and front suspension.

When powered by a three-cylinder, two-stroke engine rated at 60 hp, the Sonnett II accelerated from zero to 62 mph in 12.5 seconds, with a top speed of 93 mph. The Sonnett II successfully competed in Sports Car Club of America races against other European roadsters like the Triumph Spitfire and the Austin-Healey Sprite.

1958 Firebird III
1958 GM Firebird III

General Motors built the Firebird III in 1958 and introduced it to the public the following year at Motorama. It was the most influential of the Motorama Firebirds and the only member of the Firebird trio to have a direct impact on the design of GM production vehicles.

It is a lavish concept with a titanium skin and seven short wings and tail fins that went through rigorous wind tunnel testing. It is a two-seater driven by a 225 horsepower Whirlfire GT-305 gas turbine engine. A two-cylinder 10 horsepower gasoline engine powered all the accessories.

The exterior styling features a double-bubble canopy and some technical headway to make it more practical, like air conditioning, cruise control, and anti-lock brakes. The car also featured “Space-Age” innovations like special air drag brakes similar to those found on an aircraft.

The brakes emerge from flat panels in the bodywork to slow down the car from high speeds. Other amenities include an “ultra-sonic” key that opened the doors, and an automated guidance system to help prevent accidents. Steering was controlled through a joystick located between the two seats. This gave the Firebird III a more futuristic feel and mimicked the experience of flying an airplane.

The Firebird III broke several styling rules of legendary GM designer Harley Earl, and this was one of the reasons the car became such an integral design. There were no parallel lines and the car came with very little chrome.

1955 Cadillac LaSalle Roadster II
1955 Cadillac LaSalle Roadster II

The LaSalle Roadster II is a concept car developed by General Motors. During the mid ’50s, some GM executives decided to revive the LaSalle nameplate which was a sister brand to Cadillac. GM design chief Harley Earl was delighted with the idea and instructed his crew at the Art & Colour Section to come up with two different concepts.

One was a small roadster that was introduced alongside a six-passenger sports coupe. Both vehicles were named LaSalle II to signify the reemergence of the brand. Buck Rogers handled the styling of the new LaSalles and he used some bold design cues, together with some features from LaSalle’s production cars.

The concept was officially unveiled at the 1955 GM Motorama. Some of the car’s peculiar traits included a vertical slatted grille, side exhaust, open rear wheels, and floating Dagmar bumperettes. None of these features were worthy of production, but they helped in distinguishing the LaSalle from the car it borrowed a lot from – the Corvette.

GM engineers devised a unibody construction that depended on strength provided by the side sills of the chassis. These helped in containing the exhaust which likely easily overheated the cabin, particularly in the coupe. Sadly, GM installed fake V6 engines with a concept valve train which included dual overhead camshafts.

1955 Chevrolet Biscayne XP-37
1955 Chevrolet Biscayne XP-37

The Biscayne XP-37 was a showcase car for the new 4.3-liter V-8 Chevy engine, which would later play into Corvairs, Corvettes, Eldorados and Rivieras. General Motors touted this 4-door, 4-passenger, pillar-less hardtop as ‘an exploration in elegance.’

Featured in the 1955 Motorama, the car wowed the press and the automotive world in general with its futuristic styling cues. The front end certainly drew the most attention. Whether it looks like Hannibal Lecter’s mask or Bane’s mask, it’s a face that commands a second look.

With a panoramic windshield, a series of vertical grille bars, thin mustache bumpers, long fairings for the headlights, side coves that wrapped around the rear, swiveling front seats, suicide rear doors, and a brilliant Atlantic Green paint job, the Biscayne implied some future Corvette design nuances.

The Biscayne’s wraparound windshield curled into the roofline, which in turn drifted rearward into the triangular-shaped C-pillars. The essence of the Corvair is also apparent, especially in rear views of this concept.

There were no side windows, and the switches for the power windows were dummies as were the instruments. As a matter of fact, aside from some motors and servos that opened the doors on the show floor, there were really no electrical systems. The Biscayne didn’t even have a fuel tank or a conventional car battery.

1974 AMC Javelin AMX
1974 AMC Javelin AMX

The Javelin was introduced for the 1968 model year, but it was only in 1971 that American Motors Corporation launched a marketing campaign, advertising the car as “the closest thing you can buy to a Trans-Am champion.”

By mid 1974, Chrysler had left the pony car market, while Ford decided to replace its original Mustang with a 4-cylinder version. Other pony car manufacturers followed suit and downsized their engines. The big engine option of the Javelin soldiered on until production of the model came to an end in October/November 1974.
The 1974 AMX didn’t fare well when compared to the new Camaro, the downsized Mustang II and the Firebird – all of which saw increased sales. Meanwhile, Javelin production hit a second-generation high of 27,696 units, of which 4,980 Javelin-AMX models were built for the final model year.

The cowl-induction fiberglass hood was no longer offered for 1974, and the power output of the 6.6-liter V8 engine dropped by 20 ponies. A new feature was the seatbelt interlock system which prevented the car from starting if the driver and a front passenger were unbuckled.

A number of factors contributed to the demise of the Javelin, primarily the economic situation at the time. Unlike the Camaro and the Firebird, 1974 Javelin models were not exempt from the new front and rear bumper standards.

According to AMC’s estimate, about $12 million would be spent in design and engineering work to revise the bumpers so they would comply with the new standards for 1975. American Motors also launched the new 1974 Matador coupe that competed with the Javelin for “boss” muscle car styling”.

1956 Pontiac Club de Mer

1956 Pontiac Club de Mer

The Club de Mer was an experimental, purpose-built car that was developed by Pontiac for the GM Motorama in 1956 to celebrate the company’s commitment to futuristic design.

The ‘de Mer’ was a two-door sport roadster that integrated innovative styling such as the sleek, low-profile body housing a massive engine, a design trend that was widely used in LSR trials at Bonneville Salt Flats during the 1950's.

A ‘de Mer’ prototype was built and introduced, along with a ¼-scale model, in Miami. As per General Motors’ kill order, it was scrapped in 1958. Only the model owned by Joseph Bortz of Illinois exists today. The model was sold by Bortz for $75,000 to renowned car collector Ron Pratt in 2007 at the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction.

The design of the “de Mer” drew inspiration from contemporary aircraft construction of its time. It featured a stainless steel monocoque, individual windscreens, concealed headlights, a single rear-deck dorsal fin, and an aerodynamic fascia that drifted down from the hood to cover most of the grille.

Also used were two “silver-streaks” that cascaded into low-profile hood scoops. The overall design of the body was a smooth profile, similar to a supersonic jet fighter, with nearly no protrusions or recesses save for the fin and the out-vents on the leading edge of both doors.