Sunday, May 28, 2023

Automotif CCCLXXVI...

The lack of "455" badges would indicate that this 1971 Fire Red ragtop is a base GS 350.

For 1971 the 4bbl small-block Buick 350 in the GS had its compression reduced from 10.25:1 to 8.5:1, although it still had a functional cold air intake and dual exhausts. For that model year, General Motors ad copy quoted both SAE gross and net horsepower figures, and the GS 350's mill was rated at 260 and 195 bhp, respectively, down from the 315 SAE gross of 1970.

A Buick GS 350 was hardly the stoplight terror its bigger 455 cube sibling was, but it's still a pretty grand sport.


Got a couple internet marketing guys in my email inbox, inquiring about the "article publishing fee" on the blog.

When I don't reply to their cold emails...because why would I?...they send a series of increasingly miffed-sounding followups, demanding to know the cost of posting an article for their client here on VFTP. (Well, they never refer to the blog by its name, only by its URL. They're somewhere in Lahore or Mumbai or Jakarta. They don't actually read the blog; they're just doing cut-rate web marketing for a third party.)

There's no point in replying "Bro, you can't write in my diary," so I just keep round-filing their emails until they take the hint.

Sometimes it can take a while.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Automotif CCCLXXV...

Here's a car born of intramural rivalry at General Motors. In 1964, John DeLorean and the gang at Pontiac introduced the GTO as an option package for the midsize Tempest LeMans, replacing the 326 cubic inch V-8 normally found in the midsize model with the 389cid motor from the full-size Bonneville.

Oldsmobile, the next brand up in General Motors' internal hierarchy, saw all those sweet, sweet sales to the burgeoning sporty car market and came up with a performance package for their own midsize car, the Cutlass. It had a performance version of the Olds 330cid Rocket V-8 and a bunch of suspension upgrades. They called it the "4-4-2", for its 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed transmission, and dual exhausts.

With the second generation of both cars in 1968, the GTO and 442 became their own models, and the base V-8s in each had swole up to 400 cubic inches, which was GM's self-imposed displacement limit at the time for motors in midsize cars.

The car in the photos is a 1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 convertible in Ebony Black with some classy racing stripes.

Depending on the option boxes checked, the 400 cubic inch Olds Rocket V-8 in the '69 ragtop could put out anywhere between 325 and 360 SAE gross horsepower, and could be had with the 4-speed manual, 3-speed manual, or 3-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission.

Olds built 26,357 4-4-2's in 1969, of which 4,295 were convertibles, making this ride relatively uncommon. There certainly can't be that many left in such nice shape out driving around.


Friday, May 26, 2023

Never Get Out of the Boat

What Claude Werner would call a "negative outcome" occurred recently in the southwestern New Jersey town of Mantua.

The homeowner saw a couple of dudes rummaging around in his shed and his pickup truck, and one of them had a gun. He went outside to try and scare them off by, of all things, lobbing firecrackers at them. Then he went back in the house, retrieved what he told the 911 operator was a ".45" his grandfather had left him, and inexplicably went back outside to await the officer's arrival with sadly predictable results.
"In a five-minute call with two law enforcement officials on Sept. 14, 2021, Mr. Sharp told officers that he had spotted two men from his window at about 1 a.m. One was in his shed, holding a silver gun. The other was trying to get inside his truck.

He explained that he had thrown firecrackers toward the men to try to scare them away, but that had not worked. And he said that he owned a gun, passed down to him by his grandfather.

“I don’t know what I’m allowed to do with it,” he said in the recorded call. “So I threw a couple quarter sticks at them. Maybe that’s not the professional thing to do, but — ”

Then a burst of gunfire can be heard on the 911 recording.
That's right. The officer, amped up and primed to find a man with a gun in his hand, did in fact arrive and find a man with a gun in his hand.

He unassed his squad car and, without issuing a challenge or anything, shot Mr. Sharp dead right there in his yard.

Adding insult to fatal injury, the ".45" Mr. Sharp was holding was apparently a "detailed replica".

The officer is being criminally charged in the shooting, but that doesn't help poor, dead, Mr. Sharp any.

I know I've said this before, but:
Once the cops have been called, you don't need to be running around outside with a gun in your hand. The chances for a blue-on-blue shooting skyrocket in incidences like that. Plainclothes officers get shot all the damn time in similar circumstances. It's easy to tell who the responding officers are because they show up in a car with blinking lights and they're all dressed the same. You want to not be on the playing field wearing the other team's uniform when they show up.
And for heaven's sake, don't try to bluff or scare someone with a toy gun. You might put them in reasonable fear for their life.

Could you tell these were toys? From thirty feet away? In the dark?

Recent History

Watching this clip, it's kind of appalling how recent this history is. This isn't the mists of the distant past; December of 1970 is within the lifetime of us older members of Generation X, albeit we were still in our toddler years. Maddox was the governor of Georgia immediately preceding Jimmy Carter and, in fact, went on to serve as Lieutenant Governor under Carter, before Zell Miller. This is well within living memory for Boomers.

Ol' Lester doesn't exactly bring credit to the Peach State, there. It's hard not to cringe watching him talk. Jim Brown was a model of composure by comparison.

Thursday, May 25, 2023


You know those dystopian cyberpunk sci-fi novels where the superrich oligarchs have themselves cloned so that they can use the cloned bodies as sources of organs for transplanting, in order to stave off aging?

Yeah, this is way too close to that.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Point-Shooting Myth

You gotta wonder how many people who reference Fairbairn & Sykes have ever read the source material. Shooting to Live With the One-Hand Gun is available at BezosMart, you know.

Check this post out over at The Tactical Professor:
We need to keep in mind what Fairbairn and Sykes wrote their system was capable of, i.e., their performance standards. The hits had to be somewhere on the entire silhouette target; whether the legs were included is not explicitly stated but neither was it disavowed. The shooting distance of their Programme did not exceed 4 yards at any point and nearly half took place at 2 yards.
“The qualification we require before the recruit’s course can be successfully passed is 50 per cent. of hits anywhere on the man-sized targets employed. Time has shown this to be adequate for the purpose in view.”
These are standards which would be considered unusually rudimentary for any CCW "qualification" course.


Automotif CCCLXXIV...

This nice, clean 1966 Pontiac GTO convertible is painted Candlelight Cream. That's a very soothing and easy-on-the-eyes color, in my opinion.

'66 was the last year of the original 389 cubic inch V-8 in the Goat, and it could be had in a normie 335 horse setup with a single 4-barrel carb, or with the 360bhp "Tri-Power" package, featuring triple Rochester 2-bbl carburetors. 

The hood scoop remained purely ornamental, although you could order a kit that converted it to a functional "Ram Air" setup. As low-profile as that scoop is, I don't know how much air would get rammed, even at speed, but you could at least hear the healthy whooping of three deuces sucking down high-test and converting it to noise and tire smoke. (And since both the 4bbl and Tri Power packages sported 10.75:1 compression ratios, you were definitely buying the good stuff at the Sunoco.)

With the wide range of options available, a GTO could be perched anywhere along a broad spectrum of the stoplight hierarchy. A four-barrel car with the 2-speed automatic transmission and the standard 3.23:1 final drive ratio had a lot more bark than bite, while a Tri-Power Goat with the optional close-ratio four-on-the-floor gearbox and 4.33 rear end would flatten your eyeballs when the signal went green...and probably turn in single-digit MPG numbers at highway speeds.

Dig the 1966 Indiana Sesquicentennial license plate.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

While You Still Can

Mas Ayoob has a list of some scholars and trainers in the handgun defense world whose names should not be forgotten.

I was fortunate enough to train with several on that list: William Aprill, Louis Awerbuck, Todd Louis Green, and Pat Rogers. (In fact, the photo of Dr. Aprill there is one I snapped of him while he was teaching at Paul-E-Palooza 4.)

There are a lot of elder statesmen in the training world who aren't going to be actively teaching forever. If you want to get out there and take a class with them, sooner is better than never.


QotD: The Upside Of Dunning-Kruger Edition...

Greg has a good piece up on the gendered differences in self-confidence and their effects on training.
"In essence, the article suggests an attitude of “just do it.” I think that’s great advice. In the context of firearms or self-defense training, women need to recognize that their fellow students aren’t likely paying much attention to them. They are too busy doing their own things. Go to class. Just do it."

Automotif CCCLXXIII...

In 1970, Pontiac offered the same basic midsize coupe in several gradations of grooviness. In ascending order of desirability, the lineup went like this: Tempest, LeMans, LeMans Sport, GTO, and GTO Judge.

The car in the picture is a LeMans Sport convertible in Starlight Black. The base engine in the ragtop LeMans Sport was Pontiac's 250 cubic inch overhead cam inline six, with an optional 350cid 2bbl V-8 or the 400cid V-8 in 2bbl or 4bbl flavors.

The rocker panel badges on this one indicate it's got the 350 cubic inch V-8, which was rated at 255 SAE gross BHP. While there's no straight conversion factor that can be applied to go from SAE gross numbers to SAE net, you'll usually be pretty close if you assume that the net rating is about eighty percent of the gross numbers. Figure probably around 200 horsepower in modern terms, to lug a 3700 pound convertible away from stoplights. But it looks good doing it!

The late '60s and early '70s had some of the nicer examples of Detroit styling, before the sharp angles and straight lines of the later Baroque Period that produced such stylistic snoozers as the Fairmont and Aspen.



Monday, May 22, 2023

Do you remember rock & roll radio?

AM radio's had one foot in the grave for a while, and automakers have slid a banana peel under its other foot.

Former deejay Tom Cochrun has written a wonderful retrospective on the AM rock radio biz from his vantage point in the heyday of Hoosier broadcasting.

It's worth a read.


Sex on Wheels

I was sitting there at Twenty Tap enjoying a leisurely lunch on Saturday afternoon, catching up with email and reading LikeWar, when I heard it.

The unmistakeable rumble of a big Detroit V-8 through side pipes was audible before the low-slung  roadster that was trailing it was visible among the dull transportation pods rolling up to the traffic light there at 54th and College Avenue.

I about fell over the railing and onto the sidewalk as I contorted myself into position to get a good shot or three as it went by...

Those safety-wired spinners on the Hallibrands are just...*chef's kiss*

The Cobra's certainly a replica, a kit car. They only made a few hundred of the originals. Of course, if you want to be philosophical about it, even the originals were kit cars, cobbled together from hand-built English bodywork and American driveline components; they were all slightly different and hardly any remained stock after delivery.

As it motored off, side pipes bouncing to the big block backbeat, the older lady at the table next to mine shook her head and said aloud "I just don't understand cars like that."

"That's okay," I replied, to nobody in particular, "Fortunately you don't have to."


Because the internet loves dog pictures...

Bobbi is still getting over the 'Rona and wasn't feeling up to cooking last night, so I picked up some carryout from Fat Dan's for dinner: a brisket sandwich with a side of slaw for her and a BLT for me.

While I was waiting out on the patio for the food, I got to meet this handsome fella. His name is Doc, "as in Holliday", his people informed me.

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV & EF 24-105mm f/4L IS