Saturday, January 23, 2010


I usually stick pretty close to cars here, even if I do drift a ways from everyone's fave 26 point five mighty mite. Today, I'm going way off topic.
Django Reinhardt was born one hundred years ago today. One of the greatest jazz musicians who ever played, Reinhardt developed a signature guitar style that set the standard for those who came after him. His life was a series of triumphs over adversity; at 18 he survived a fire that left him with several useless fingers and a paralyzed leg, leading to a unique fingering approach that allowed him to play with the use of only two fingers on his fretting hand. Django was on tour in the UK with the Hot Club of France when war broke out. Though he was a gypsy, and thus under threat of immediate deportation to a Nazi concentration camp, Reinhardt returned to Paris. Paradoxically, Reinhardt thrived under the occupation, playing and recording constantly with little trouble from Nazi authorities, probably due to the influence of a Luftwaffe officer who was a secret jazz fan.

Reinhardt died of a brain hemorhagge on May 16, 1953. He was 43 years old. He left behind hundreds of recordings and a legacy that is unmatched by any other guitarist.

Also today, I turn 44 years old. As I look back on a life spent with neither the tragedies nor majesty of Django's life I'm just glad that I can still hear him play.

Happy Birthday Django.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


This sold for $110,000 at Barrett-Jackson today???
What is this world coming to?

Friday, January 15, 2010


Good news: new downstairs neighbor is an old friend of mine, a good guy who won't complain if I get to playing my Sol Hoopii records too loud.

Bad news: he's got a big, fat cat who decided to jump off the fence onto my convertible. Sigh.

Monday, January 11, 2010

ThunderMug Hmod for sale!

Dale Tholen was one of the crop of specials builders that did Crosley proud back in the fifties and early sixties. His first build (currently owned by Bonneville racer Gerald Davenport, I think) was not only a terror on the tracks of 1955, it was one of the best looking homebuilts of all time- good enough to show up on the cover of Road & Track!
As great as the first car was, Tholen soon began thinking of improvements, and had another car built and on the track by the early sixties. That car was the ThunderMug, another good-looking hmod special, currently offered up for sale here. Once again Tholen created an elegant design, although the ThunderMug appears to be much more of a stripped racing thoroughbred than the comfortable boulevard racer the first car was. Tholen's 24 pound fiberglass body appears to owe a nod to contemporary Jabro designs, especially in the rear.
This time out Tholen foreswore the Crosley motor in favor of a handbuilt engine assembly largely based on parts from 3 Maico single cylinder motors. I'm assuming that engine was problematical since the car eventually received a Crosley powerplant, although the original engine is included in the sale.
If the custom powerplant perhaps underperformed on the track, it was responsible for the car's singular name- the engine's unique gurgling sound supposedly mimicked the sound of a flushing 'thundermug' (old-timey nickname for a toilet)!

Here's a link to a 1963 article from Today's Motor Sports.