Locating Missing Cars

Looking for a particular vintage or classic car, you can actually do worse than searching through local barns and under trees in some back-forty. Though they will invariably be found under a layer of muck, brush, or worse, they are there to be found. Believe it or not, people don’t always think to protect these gems in the way you might imagine. Some have been found in the oddest places.

The Dino

A Dino was reported stolen in December 1974. A Dino, for those of who don’t already know, is a real-wheel drive car that was produced by Ferrari between 1957 and 1976. The car’s name was the nickname for Alfredo Ferrari, the son of the venerable Enzo Ferrari. The Dino finally turned up when two young boys were digging in their garden. How it ended up there, no one knows.

The Bullitt Mustang

The stunt car from the original movie Bullitt disappeared not long after filming, turning up later in a scrapyard in Mexico. When found, it was hardly recognizable as a Mustang. It was riddled with holes, whether it was used for target practice or maybe as an object for someone drilling holes, it’s a mystery. Not even being in a movie was enough to keep it from being abandoned by its owner.

The Cuban Falconwing

A Mercedes Benz, a Gullwing (also known as a Falconwing due to how its doors open like wings of a bird), was reported missing in Cuba only to turn up in a lot far away. It then disappeared again, later turning up under the shade of a banana tree miles away. The most famous gullwing is probably the DeLorean, a model of car that never sold well, finally ending with hundreds of models being scrapped, sending the manufacturer into bankruptcy.

The Largest Barn-find

In another amazing barn find, over three hundred cars were found in a large barn in Europe. The collection began in the 1970s and included a Bizzarani, which was created in the 60s, a race car which had been entered in Le Mans. Created by a joint enterprise between Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, this car was considered to be ahead of its time, likely being the reason why it didn’t last long.

How to Make your Own Barn-find

If you want to make your own barn-find, start with some research. Talk with people from the older generation, especially those who live out in the sticks – there’s no use looking for barn finds in the middle of Chicago, Dallas, or Seattle. It’s best to network your target area. People like mail-carriers, hairdressers, delivery drivers, and established real-estate agents may be the ones you need to get the break you’re looking for. Attending a swap meet or local holiday celebration or parade might just turn up the connection you’re looking for – putting you on the trail of the next big find.

Sometimes it’s just serendipity. You see a farm, miles from anywhere, one with a dilapidated old barn out back – maybe they have gems they don’t realize are there. Not sure where to start, pull up Google Maps, find an out-of-the-way community, and hit the open road.

Foreign Roads

Exploring foreign roads fully changes your perspective. It’s one of the best ways to expand your understanding of the different ways things we do every day can be done. The problem is navigating the things that are not the same as at home.

Every country does it differently:

What side of the road am I supposed to be on? What condition do they keep their roads in?

I bet you didn’t even thing to ask if the other drivers passed a recognized driving license test. Some countries let you buy your license which can be a surprise if you come from one that requires a test. It’s important to look into what other documents you need by law.

It’s a good idea to review the more obvious laws of the country they are driving in.

Next you have to consider what problems may affect the environment, anything from strong weather to natural disasters. Some roads in some countries flood routinely and locals hardly think to mention it.

It’s best to check and recheck the route of the journey beforehand. It’s a good idea to use a GPS it often updates with weather conditions accidents and the like. Look out too for GPS updates. It’s important that your system reacts to changes in speed limit.

If you rent a car check out everything including the headlights, tire tread, brakes, oil, water and so on. Take note of any scratches and dents you might see.

Some emergency equipment will be highly useful – everything from jump leads, the spare tire, a hazard triangle (again depending on the country), tow rope and extinguisher as well as the all-important first aid kit. In a number of countries, you can be arrested for not having the right equipment.

It’s a good idea not to speed, especially if the roads are unreliable. It’s never advisable to drive in a tired state.

Another easy to overlook item is that not all traffic police chase you in cars, some stand at the side of the road waving at you to stop. Also, not all of them are reliable – some may place a fake ticket on you-so it’s best to check it.

Look at getting fully comprehensive insurance – it may be the costlier choice, but it will be worth it.

It may be best to stay with the rest of the traffic as other drivers tend to know what they are doing. It may be wise to make a point to review what local road signs look like and mean before you go.

It should come as little surprise that most road accidents occur in countries with the lowest incomes, so road safety is important. In conjunction with the Red Cross and Red Crescent there are a number of projects out there to reduce the deaths in developing countries, whether by education, legislating or equipment.

One such enterprise is the 7% Campaign which finances motorcycle helmets for children from Thailand; only 7% of Thai motorcyclists currently wear helmets. This project is also supported by Save The Children and works with the public authorities of Thailand.

If your business involves logistics, it’s especially hard to drive a truck on more treacherous roads. It’s a good idea to become a member of the International Road Federation, a not-for-profit company which has been in operation since 1948. They provide information on roads around the world and advocate best practices. They also run a series of webinars.

Alternative Wedding Cars

The Rolls Royce may be described as overrated when it comes to the wedding car. So, what are the alternatives out there?

Bentley

Like the Rolls, a Bentley is all about luxury, especially when it is chauffeur–driven and there’s access to chilled champagne, though maybe most couples could do without items like massaging seats?

The Bentley is all about power and rapid acceleration with a pristine leather interior. Variations include the continental GT with its impressive sound system included.

The Bentley Bentayga has a large trunk, especially important if you are heading straight for the airport to catch a flight to the honeymoon destination.

Mercs

Think twice before you skip the chauffeur so you can drive yourself. Weddings are emotionally and physically draining.

Can you really say you’re able to give the road the attention it deserves?
Could you have a friend fill in if budget is a concern?
How bad would an accident on your wedding day be?

But if your mind is made up, consider a Mercedes-Benz. These cars are smooth and elegant with items such as radar cruise control will help you avoid fatigue related accidents.

His Dream Car!

McLaren

Let’s be honest. Weddings are super expensive, and the goal is to give the bride her dream day. The groom is expected to sign off on all the decisions and he’d better pretend to be excited because a lack of enthusiasm for planning is interpreted as a lack of enthusiasm for the marriage. Truth be told the lack of enthusiasm starts about the time the groom figures out that he’s going to be over-ruled on every decision, which he probably interprets as a bad sign of things will operate after the wedding.

One thing a thoughtful bride could do is rent her groom’s dream car to drive away in after the ceremony. There’s a lot of choices and this might require some careful questioning on her part. Or perhaps she could ask the best man.

Some men might want a Mustang, which has a great sense of luxury. If the budget allows, many men yearn to be behind the wheel of a McLaren or a Ferrari or even something like a Maserati. These types of vehicles tend to be at the top end of the wedding car rental market though.

If a bride is willing to put in some research it is possible to find a number of vintage cars out there in their original colors such as the cream Chevrolet Stylemaster or a scarlet Florida fire truck. Other examples include a Ford Charabanc from the 1930s with wood veneer.

Ford Charabanc

Some more information about the Charabanc: it was an early form of coach and the word comes from the French Char a bancs – literally carriage with benches. It generally wasn’t used beyond the 1920s except for special occasions.

If you are looking for the more dated version of vintage possibly you require a replica of an Oldsmobile from 1905 which unfortunately cannot travel faster than 20mph. One of the first mass produced cars, they had the original name of Olds automobiles.

Really Alternative Wedding Cars

Items such as yellow school buses and pickup trucks have been utilized in the act of getting to and from church.

Morris Minor

There’s also the bohemian VW camper van or even something like a Morris Minor or a taxi. A tractor may be too weird for most people though.

When looking for a taxi you can do worse than looking for a Checker cab and maybe the best Checker to go for is Marathon. Based on the Checker Superba’s shape it’s noteworthy for its improved interior and came in a four-door sedan or five door station wagon. A limousine version was also built, the Marathon Town Custom. Unfortunately, the last one was made in 1982 and Checker eventually folded as a company in 2010.

The Most Important Factors

Oldsmobile

If your plate is full in making the wedding come off without a hitch, having a rental car delivered straight to location is a great way to take something off your plate. Be sure to check the car can be delivered to your location. Some rental car companies that claim to deliver actually mean to say, only if it’s a hotel or airport. There are also cars which are delivered to custom locations (like a park or church).

If planning to use a car you or a friend owns, be sure it’s reliable and that you have roadside assistance as all cars are liable to break down at the worst possible time. Peace of mind is everything.

The good news is that nearly any car is hireable and even if you can’t find a certain car online given the right amount of money there is someone who can locate it for you and allow you to hire it for a limited period. Now all you have to do is agree as a couple what to use!

The Feeling Of Open Road And The Annoyance Of The Closed

An open road is a free road which doesn’t end. It is linked in our primal minds like open fields, illicium (Rome’s idea of heaven), or perhaps the inherent adventure offered, like Frodo leaving the shire.

A closed road in contrast is a road that is closed at one end, a dead-end road, or a cul de sac. It may be a temporary closure for repair these frustrate us, because if your desired destination isn’t on that short patch of street you’ll have to turn around (and you know it’s going to be a three-point turn).

Dead End Roads

Dead end roads can be seen in Egypt around 1885 BC with roads ending in a wall and going no further. There is a limited size to cul de sacs as they can be no longer than 500 feet. They are rather claustrophobic according to Christopher Alexander and force interaction with your neighbours.

Open Roads

The freedom of the open road forms part of a quote from Aaron Lauritsen. The quote goes on to point out the lure or seduction of the road as well as the feeling of liberation. He also mentions serendipity, playing by chance.

Today many road trips are planned and there are many reasons for this. What happens if you reach a place which runs out of road, and you have to waste gas retracing your journey? And as you are using serendipity you may not even retrace your journey correctly and become lost? Or what happens if you are trying to catch a plane or get to a certain place on time? In which case serendipity is not the best option. But Aaron Lauritsen doesn’t seem to worry about this. To plan a trip is to some degree, to rob it of openness.

The Call of the Open Road

Tracing the term “the call of open road” seems to be linked to just after the Great Depression. It’s not as if they could go very far, there weren’t that many restaurants or service stations. Still, there was a feeling of adventure and a yearning to see the sights of the USA. Perhaps people had felt hemmed in, without options, during the depression and the idea of changing locations felt like freedom.

People imagine traveling in vintage cars as romantic, whether it is by road or by other byway but these are the very cars which are liable to break down. It’s such a good feeling behind the wheel though when the car behaves itself.

It was only after the Second World War that Americans went a-traveling as an interstate system began to form, and with it a glut of roadside attractions. The pattern was specifically to head West.

It was only when fuel became short in the 70’s that numbers diminished and hotels and restaurants in turn became more nondescript. It was good while it lasted. The good part was at least cars were less liable to act up.

There’s much to be said about the open road. It goes beyond a sales pitch and to somewhere else.

A Look Into Construction Trucks

There are many different vehicles involved in construction and related industries such as mining and transportation repair including items such as bulldozers, cranes, excavators and so on. Many of these vehicles can be hired (assuming you have proper endorsements to drive them) for short term, long term or alternately for a fixed period. Any piece of heavy equipment may be referred to as a “plant.”

This article is focusing on the heavy vehicles suitable for the highway such as dump trucks and dumper trucks. They tend to be used for moving sand and gravel to specific locations.

First to look into safety

Definitely the more important aspect of heavy vehicles. When a dumper truck reverses it’s more likely to hit a person, object or vehicle. Indeed, any vehicle reversing should be treated with suspicion, the “skip” tends to be the cause of most incidents. A “skip” is an open container, common to dumpers & side dumpers. This large object creates massive blind spots. Obviously, a dumper is designed to be able to back up accurately, not just for travel, but to deliver a load to exact right spot.

To assist with reversing a spotter is advised – someone who can tell you whether it’s safe to go backward.

Next there’s a problem should the dumper truck tip over. This can be avoided by keeping it under a safe load – it’s vital to know how much a dumper truck can carry. When you drive on an uneven road you will definitely encounter slopes and other areas of uneven ground. This type of environment is more likely to lead to vehicle upturning. There are special manufacturer’s guidelines which will tell the highest gradient that the truck can operate.

You should never drive when the skip has not been lowered as it will be especially likely to tip over due to a weight change, which could be even a small blast of wind. It’s not designed to be driven like this; the tip mechanism should only be operated when the truck isn’t moving.

Inexperienced drivers are less likely to follow a set of operating instructions and may cause accidents, even fatal accidents.

Rollover Protection

Some trucks have roll over protection which is used in case a vehicle overturns or rolls over – either roll cage or roll bars. The first vehicles to use this type of protection were tractors in the 1920s. It may interest you to know that these are tested to destruction, in other words they face a destructive test including working at a lower temperature. Even if a vehicle has a roll cage it is still extremely hazardous.

Types of Dump Vehicles

A high skip dumper is useful if there’s not much space. They are approximately a tonne in weight. A heavy-duty front tip dumper is similar, but they are for larger tasks.

A dump truck has the material stored in the trailer box at the rear. Various types include:

A rigid dumper truck which is both durable and fast but can operate on the open road.

An articulated dumper truck is for the harder type of terrain, but they aren’t very good with heavy terrain.

The tracked dumper truck works by flattening the ground and means you don’t have so many problems with difficult terrain.

You can purchase a mini dumper truck for garden projects and items like extensions and so on, but you may be better served by a tractor with a trailer attachment. They’re are much more user friendly than the bigger trucks.

Many children have a fascination with these types of vehicles, but it is important to teach them to be wary, they are after all, not toys.

Off-roading – Dealing with Emergencies

What happens when off-roaders get into difficulty? There are various problems that could occur.

Before you start off:

It is vital to tell someone where you are going and also when you believe you are returning, just for safety’s sake.

To reduce the damage of any off-roading exercise it is best practice to lower the tire pressure before you begin off-roading and get ready with the spare tire or the repair kit if something bad happens.

It’s a good idea to find an official off-road driving course, or “space” to practice.

There are other changes that will improve your vehicle such as changing your front fender and back fender to stronger examples. One thing you may not expect to need is a winch, but this is vital if you get stuck. It’s important that you get a new enough winch that it won’t rust up otherwise it’s no use to you.

Crossing Water

Rivers can prove tricky – is the bottom solid enough or is it a mixture of shallow and deep water? If it’s the latter, then it’s best not to cross.

Beware of traversing water that has strong currents, because even 4x4s aren’t cut out for them. Always move slowly through any water. When you leave the river check that the brakes haven’t been damaged. Most people don’t know that if you traverse through cold water you will need to change the oil.

If you plan to go into deep water, you will need to protect the car’s radiator somehow. This is one of many reasons why it’s dangerous for a novice to do so.

Hi / Low Gearing

The 4×4 HD High gives a day-to-day speed as well as splendid torque or traction. The 4×4 HD Low as you’d expect is low end power but is better if you are traveling long distances.

It is hard to understand what locking differential is – it’s to do with moving the right and left wheels at the same time. A differential allows your wheels to turn at a different rate which makes cornering a lot smoother when your tires are gripping asphalt. By locking the differential in a 4×4 you force the tires to turn at the same speed which can increase traction since a tire will continue to spin even when it’s broken lose from gripping the ground beneath it.

Some incidents with the transmission perhaps through wear and tear may occur, causing you to hear noises when you try to shift gears.

Undercarriage and Tires

People forget that the undercarriage, the area under the car, could get damaged. Bits are liable to leak, and parts could fall off. You may also be faced with a strange rattle that you need to investigate.

After going through various rocks and ditches your wheels may misalign. You should let go of your steering wheel and see if it pulls to one side. Driving over rocks may cause specific damages including scratches to the bodywork. It may be advisable to get stronger tires, it is best to talk to an expert.

In fact they make tires for rock climbing that are very different than tires for mudding. If you know you’ll be mainly doing one or another you should buy the best kind of tire for that use.

Off-Road Courtesy

It is always a good idea, if you see an off roader changing a tire, that you offer to help. Don’t worry, you won’t be running into other off roaders all that often. But it’s good karma all the same, and it’s an accepted courtesy among 4×4 enthusiasts.

Climbing Cars

Can a jeep climb vertically up a cliff, say a sheer surface? A video showed one climbing up a cliff in Utah, though there are some viewers who believed it to be fake.

To perform this trick, you need considerable stunt knowledge. As it was performed in rainy conditions, reportedly this makes the job harder. It needs to be a 4×4 in order to maintain the required grip.

It’s so much easier at a smaller scale, hence the number of remote-control toys performing this type of stunt. When you scale things up you increase the numbers, but the gravity part of the equation doesn’t change.

Aerodynamics

Mini Cooper

Intuition says that rugged looking vehicles are best for a cross country adventure but aerodynamics are still vital to whichever car you choose to negotiate a mountain road. Weight, size and power all play a part. When it comes to climbing mountains, a sedan is too close to the ground for rocky areas, despite their smallness. Ironically, a compact, like the Mini Cooper, is useful as it is the right size to handle country roads and also an extensive trunk space for any mountain gear. Maybe it’s not going to dig you out of quick sand, but for the average logging road it should perform well.

How about SUVs or crossovers? Yes, they can get you up there but as with any mountain traverse it helps if you have some experience. Remember that driving on rocks and fields is much harder than driving on a road. And many SUV’s are intended to look like a mountain vehicle but suited only for the city.

Here are further cars suitable for a mountain drive – Mahindra Scorpio and Vitara Brezza.

The Mahindra has a brilliant red shade and is built for negotiating the toughest of rocky roads in all but the worst weather.

Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza has a similar scarlet colour and has enough suspension to deal with the bumps in the road as you edge towards the mountain’s peak.

Uphill Racing

Just outside Nice is the beautiful town of La Turbie, site of the first uphill race in the world, also known as speed hill climbing. The sport fell slowly out of favor in France but eventually it was revived in the 1980s. There have also been races in Austria (Gaisberg) and the UK (Harewood) and various locations in the US. There have been races as far afield as Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza

Some races use racing cars while others use a kit car to race. There are smaller races out there which use everyday cars with some of them undergoing modification. The modification may be a roll cage or a rollover protection system which will protect the driver should the vehicle overturn. Sometimes cars are protected with the ability to prevent a rollover, such as anti-lock brakes and traction control, the kind of safety system you might need when negotiating a hill, but this goes against the spirit of hilltop driving.

The smaller races are in speed-trial format with competitors having two attempts to tackle the hill.

If you wish to explore the early days of hilltop driving, including pictures of the racers themselves you can do worse than browse specialist racing magazines like, Uphill Racers. Even the UK’s Stirling Moss, linked more to Formula One racing, has taken part in the hilltop driving culture. So, hilltop drivers are in good company.