Author Archives: Rusty

Dad Was A Pontiac Man


There may not be gold in them, there hills, but there’s Sylva! OK, bad pun, but I couldn’t wait to use it. My wife and I were visiting one of our daughters in western North Carolina this weekend and spent some time, on Saturday, in Sylva. A small town that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time 50 years. As luck would have it, among the antique shops and restaurants, there was a car show by the Western North Carolina, Early Times, Pontiac-Oakland club showcasing cars associated with the mark from 1920′s to the 1950′s. There were several stunning cars, but what really stood out to me, was how much work the early driver had to go thru to, just to drive. The earliest car there was a 1917 Oakland, that was little more than a horse carraige with an engine. But the most shocking bit about it … Continue reading

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Gadgets To Help You Get There Faster and Safer

I’ve never heard the word “Derecho” before, but evidently it’s a storm. A bad one. With very strong winds and no warning. At least that is how I will remember it. June 29th, 2012 I was driving most of my family from North Carolina to New Jersey. We left around 5:30pm so as to avoid the dreaded traffic in DC at rush hour. Unfortunately we ran into a backup long before we got to DC and detoured onto 301, thereby avoiding DC and sending us up through Maryland to Baltimore. The weather was hot. At one point on the Yuk’s thermometer, it showed 109 degrees. That is WAY HOT for the humid east coast. Other than that, it was clear and calm. That is until about 10:30pm. I was following a semi up near Annapolis when I began to see debris flying around between his rig and my truck. The … Continue reading

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Deep Breathing Therapy

Ram Air GTO Judge

Today it is not uncommon, when modifying any modern car, to start with a CAI, or Cold Air Intake. If you’re a gear head, seeing the paper, fluted cone underhood is almost standard. But making an engine breath better, and getting cooler, denser air to an engine is not a new idea. As a matter of fact, the manufacturers used to be at the forefront of that horsepower trick. I was fortunate enough, today, to attend the Southern Classic Car Auction. It’s a car auction at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, that was begun by Mike Leith, a self made business mogul and major league car guy. I will probably have many posts from this event, but today I’m talking about intakes. My favorite era of automotive influence has to be from the late ’60′s, thru the early seventies. So I’ve taken a few photos to show how the era of cartoon colors … Continue reading

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Driving Lights, Bright Idea or Dim Witted?

The LED matches the blue of the bright light indicator

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve been here, my apologies. Let’s get to it. Since I was a kid, I’ve noticed those that like to modify their vehicles really love to install fog lights. There are as many types as there are cars. Fog lights can be extremely useful…well…in fog I suppose, but I find they are most useful on a rainy night on roads without street lights. Even when I had younger eyes, seeing the edge of the road, on a rainy night, was much easier with fogs. However, what I find REALLY helpful are driving lights. I heard that! What’s the difference? They are two completely different animals. Fog lights illuminate the road IMMEDIATELY in front of your vehicle. Let’s say 25 feet in front, and nearly 180 degrees from where your hood ornament would be if cars still had those. Like I said, that can … Continue reading

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How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways…

Ferrari at Daytona small

Nope, I’m not trying to pass this title off as original, but since beginning this blog, I’ve seen numerous ways that guys and gals are car guys. I’ve got a buddy, who is a Ferrari nut. He owns a mid ’80′s 308 Quatrovalve ala Thomas Magnum. Fortunately for us, he doesn’t share Magnum’s proclivity towards too short shorts nor the mustache. I was turned on to a web forum about garages. These range from the normal to the amazing. The guy with the Porsche in the green garage steals the show in my not-always-humble opinion. Check them out at, you’ll find something you like. I’ve been to car shows and met a neighbor and his ’69 Road Runner he bought in high school for $800, and saw the crayon drawing his 4 year old daughter made of it. I think it’s pretty cool that he displays that drawing with his … Continue reading

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Rules to Mod By, or Don’t Screw Up Your Car

08 DENALI lights on glamour

I’m sure this won’t come as a big surprise to you but, I just LOVE to modify my cars. I really like doing things differently than most others. I spend a lot of time, on a new car, considering what could possibly be done to improve the vehicle, that isn’t like everyone else. Or what could possibly be done that I have never seen on another car. If you look at your car long enough, you’ll see it. But I am governed by an internal, unwritten rule book. So I’m thinking about writing some of them down. Each change must meet one or more of the following criteria. Here goes: 1: Do no harm! Each change must improve the usability of the vehicle. 30 inch wheels without a brake upgrade is a sin and ruins the usability and ride of your vehicle. 2: Improve a single function. If you are going … Continue reading

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A New Life for an Old Fad…I said FAD!

Cobra 75 installed neatly and out of the way

In a continuation of the last post, let me quickly show you how I added a red-necky CB radio in a Denali without making it look like Larry-the-Cable-Guy did it. First, I have two CB’s left from older rides. One a Cobra 29 LTD. You know, the big box with all the knobs, chrome face, hanging microphone, straight-from-the-Kenworth CB. (I know truckers don’t use Cobras, let it go) It’s been slightly modified to have a bit more power, a la Tim Taylor. It puts out about 30 watts max, not massive, but better than 6. It is very functional and has a great range. However, it would be horribly out of place in a modern Denali. AAAAnnnnddd there’s no place to put it other than inside the console. The other radio is a smaller Cobra 75. It’s an all-in-one unit that has all the displays, knobs, and everything in what would … Continue reading

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“How ‘Bout ya Southbound. Ya Got It On?”

Little Cobra 75 Tucked Away

So last week I posted a few things that any driver should be thinking about when they are driving. This week, let me show you something that I use quite frequently on long trips. Back in the ’70′s a song came out that subsequently turned into a movie. ‘Convoy’ was about a group of truckers, talking on the CB radio, that got together and drove lawlessly across country. Now I don’t recommend driving lawlessly anywhere, but there are ways to make your trip a little quicker. Enter the lowly CB radio. Used by over-the-road truckers for decades to get directions, stay awake, find local information, and discuss the finer points of 4 wheelers, seat covers, countie mounties and beavers. Anyway, our little family has had the opportunity to spend an enormous amount of time on the open highway due to travel soccer, swim and dance teams. Listening to the CB has … Continue reading

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The ‘Cool’ Uncle’s Car

Perfect Muscle Car

I would guess, if we all thought hard enough, we would be able to trace back to a first real memory of a time when we realized our affection for the car. Mine would be visiting an uncle and his family. I remember a beautiful black ‘car’, with a gold bumble-bee stripe around the trunk area. I remember thinking how menacing that car looked with it’s chrome Cragar wheels. Then I heard it rumble! What a sound! “CAN I RIDE WITH UNCLE ED, PLEASE, CAN I RIDE WITH UNCLE ED”? I remember begging my mom and dad. I felt like a million dolllars riding in the back seat of that little Mopar. But the sensory input of the bumpitty exhuast note, the smell of unburned hydrocarbons was enough to help me remember that thrill. From then on, whenever we were near uncle Ed, I wanted to be in that car. … Continue reading

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What the Hell Were You Thinking?

Jersey barrier separates traffic

“Where’d you learn to drive you !#!@+!!”  “What were you thinking?” Since 1983, I’ve yelled these same phrases dozens of times. If not out loud, then certainly in my head. (It depends on who else is in the car). It got me to think, what and how are we teaching, not just young drivers, but any drivers today? It feels more like we are teaching to a test, rather than giving young folks examples of what they should be doing, and thinking, while they are driving. Driving 101 tells us, get in the car, adjust the mirrors, put on your seatbelt, start the car, use your turn signals, hands at 10 and 2, now 3 and 9 with the advent of airbags, red means stop, green means go, yellow means slow down and procede with caution blah blah blah. Really elementary things. How about if we can move the instruction up to a 200 or 300 level course. No … Continue reading

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