Thursday, May 21, 2015

Old Cars

Recently acquired a 35mm to digital gadget. I'm not happy with the quality but it is a learning process. Later, I will get better equipment. This is a car I owned before going into the Army in 1963.

The name is bigger than the car. Based on a Fiat 600, it is officially a 1958 Fiat Abarth Zagato M750MM Milano Coupe Sprint. Wonderful car! It would go as many as 5,000 miles on a headgasket. The Italians used Lucas factory rejected  wiring and switches. When the turn signals weren't working, and hand signals employed, your fingers were in danger of being stepped on. It was a huge chick magnet but so cramped inside.........

So, the big sports car man.
 On the left one of my cousins and on the right a high school classmate. The town rejoiced when we moved out of the area.
My daily driver wasn't as fancy, a 1956 Chevy Apache Panel, empty interior with just a drivers seat.
My dates, if they would go out with me, sat on a milk crate. (No, that isn't the truck. Have no pictures of it that I can find).

In Germany my first car was an English Ford. Somewhere I have some shots of it. When I made E-5 I was able to own this lovely item.
A 1958 Plymouth with a hemi! Unlimited autobahn speed limits be damned, between being detuned for 50 octane Commissary gas and suspect tires, I never went over 80 mph. In this picture we were coming back on a three day pass from Amsterdam. Parking that beast in Amsterdam was a challenge. 

Those who have spent time in Deutschland recognize the phrase, "alles in Ordnung ist". When "alles ist ordnung", the Deutschers are mellow. Disorder brings out their bad side.
On our trip back, the Zolls (Border Police) were conducting a car by car customs search. It was a warm day and the line was long. The Rads were pissed. Up rolls a car with five large and less than sober Combat Engineers. The Zoll controlling traffic took one look at us and motioned us into the VIP lane. We didn't even stop. Too bad, might have been an interesting German - American interaction. 

Going further down the memory lane, veterans might remember how the M -151(1/4 ton utility vehicle, aka Jeep) was dangerous to drive. The problem was the rear axles were independent and the tires had a positive chamber. If you took a corner too fast, the inside tire would become canted as the weight came off  and the vehicle could roll when weight was suddenly applied (engineers please forgive me, or leave a better description in the comments). It was a serious problem.

My Fiat Abarth had the same setup. We fabricated straps that limited the downward motion of the drive axle. Worked well. The car was already squirrely and was never meant to be a limousine so, to me, it didn't matter.

The Army was asking for suggestions on solving the M-151 problem. I carefully filled out the forms and had someone with art ability draw up diagrams pointing out how I addressed the problem with Abarth and submitted the paperwork.  Big mistake! A few days later I was in an office at the Group Headquarters having various field grade officers telling me what a dumb shit I was. Well fuck me running. The big issue, to them, was it would degrade the off road ability in a combat scenario. My rebuttal,

 "Why the fuck can't you get out and cut the fucking strap with a bayonet"? 

Didn't bring a positive response. Can't imagine why.

If memory serves, I later had a counselling session with the SgtMaj (who had been my 1st Sgt before his promotion). It may not have been his best performance as he couldn't stop snickering.
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