The Truth About Cars » 1951 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 09 Dec 2014 15:05:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 1951 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1951 Frazer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1951-frazer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1951-frazer/#comments Sun, 09 Dec 2012 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469259 While I was photographing a burned-up ’61 Caddy hearse and buying a ’41 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan at the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard last week, I stopped to admire some of the many Kaiser-Frazer products scattered around the many acres of old iron. You’ll need to drop everything and read Ate Up With Motor‘s excellent history […]

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While I was photographing a burned-up ’61 Caddy hearse and buying a ’41 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan at the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard last week, I stopped to admire some of the many Kaiser-Frazer products scattered around the many acres of old iron. You’ll need to drop everything and read Ate Up With Motor‘s excellent history of Kaiser-Frazer before continuing with today’s Junkyard Find, so go do that right now.
The 1951 Frazer was just a use-up-the-leftover-Frazer-parts deal, done after Henry J. Kaiser forced Joe Frazer out of company management. A quickie facelift was thrown onto the ’50 Frazer’s snout, but otherwise this car is identical to the 1950 Frazer.
Only about 10,000 ’51 Frazers were sold, making this an extremely rare car today. Valuable? Probably not, but still cool for its historical value.
I seriously considered buying a Frazer instead of the ’41 Plymouth, but these cars are just so heavy that I’d need to use tougher (i.e., more expensive) running gear to get the performance I wanted.
Check out that horn ring!
The Brain-Melting Colorado Yard has so many Frazers (the hood ornament from a late-40s Frazer is pictured here) that it may one day serve as the reservoir for all the competitors in a future Spec Frazer race series. Hey, if we can have Spec Dynasty, why not Spec Frazer?

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Junkyard Find: 1951 Nash Airflyte http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1951-nash-airflyte/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1951-nash-airflyte/#comments Mon, 20 Aug 2012 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=456836 Why does a car need wheel openings in the front fenders, anyway? The Nash Airflyte, aka the “Bathtub Nash,” proved that long, low, and wide (and a postwar American car-buying public starved for anything with four wheels and an engine) would move the iron off the showroom floor in the late 1940s and early 1950s. […]

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Why does a car need wheel openings in the front fenders, anyway? The Nash Airflyte, aka the “Bathtub Nash,” proved that long, low, and wide (and a postwar American car-buying public starved for anything with four wheels and an engine) would move the iron off the showroom floor in the late 1940s and early 1950s. I’ve been thinking about building an Airflyte-based project car lately, so I returned to the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard to do some window shopping.
It turned out that the yard’s owner wants to keep this ’51 for himself, so I had to content myself with shooting photos instead of wheeling and dealing for a purchase. Fortunately, I’d brought the DSLR and a 25mm lens instead of my usual battered point-and-shoot, so these shots are a little sharper than what you’ll get in most Junkyard Finds.
The days of the flathead six as the standard powerplant for full-sized American cars were coming to an end by 1951, with just about all the Detroit major players working on (or, in the case of Cadillac and Oldsmobile, delivering) overhead-valve V8s.
Through the dust, you can just make out the gorgeous font used for the speedometer numbers.
AM radios were ungodly expensive options in this era, and you had to wait quite a while for the tubes to warm up before you could listen to Ike Turner singing the first-ever rock-and-roll song.
I’m a little disappointed that this car is unavailable, but I’ve got about a thousand more to choose from in this yard.

19 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1951 Nash Airflyte Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Road Trips: Cruising Oakland In a 40-Year-Old 1951 Chevy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/road-trips-cruising-oakland-in-a-40-year-old-1951-chevy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/road-trips-cruising-oakland-in-a-40-year-old-1951-chevy/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2011 18:30:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=402314 I’ve been scanning a lot of my old 35mm negatives and slides for the ongoing 1965 Impala Hell Project series (using a time-slows-to-crawl 1999-vintage SCSI film scanner), and I ran across this series of panoramic black-and-white photos that I shot in the early 1990s. I was a hopeless, if financially challenged, photography geek back then; […]

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I’ve been scanning a lot of my old 35mm negatives and slides for the ongoing 1965 Impala Hell Project series (using a time-slows-to-crawl 1999-vintage SCSI film scanner), and I ran across this series of panoramic black-and-white photos that I shot in the early 1990s.

I was a hopeless, if financially challenged, photography geek back then; for my darkroom, I’d tape aluminum foil over the windows in the bathroom, put the chemical trays in the bathtub, and set my ancient enlarger on the toilet seat. During this period, I was into low-tech artsy stuff: black-and-white 110 film (yes, such a thing existed), prying open disposable 35mm cameras and reloading them with hyper-grainy 3200-speed film, hacksawing off the lenses of thrift-store cameras and JB Welding beer-can-sourced pinhole lenses onto the wreckage, and so on. At some point, I picked up a $5.99 Malaysian-made point-and-shoot panoramic 35mm camera, complete with hazy plastic lens, 1/15th shutter speed, and light-leaky film door and went through 100 feet of half-price expired Kodak Tri-X film in it. Most of the resulting photographs sucked, but the effect worked pretty well for interior shots of a scurvy, property-value-lowering ’51 Chevy full of my scurvy, property-value-lowering friends.

The car was a Seafoam Green 1951 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe, and my housemate Anthony had inherited it from his original-owner grandmother as a teenager. This was the only car he had ever owned at the time, and so for him a very loose and rattly— though extremely original and unmodified— three-on-the-tree-equipped 40-year-old Chevy was a perfectly normal daily driver.

And drive it he did; his job required a 60-miles-each-way commute, Oakland to Santa Rosa, through some of the most apocalyptic traffic that the San Francisco Bay Area had to offer. The Styleline, while underpowered and primitive by 1992 standards, never missed a beat during all of those miles, requiring only regular tune-ups and oil changes.

Anthony was— and is— an anachronistic sort of guy, and so he never understood any of the complaints from passengers in his car about, say, the Styleline’s AM-only tube radio that took ten minutes to warm up, or the lack of seat belts, or the vacuum-powered windshield wipers that stalled under full throttle.To him, Grandma’s car did everything a car was supposed to do.

The ’51 Chevrolet was actually a perfectly competent motor vehicle by modern standards, provided that the driver planned ahead a lot more than he would with a newer machine. Uphill freeway onramps required a great deal of patience and the ability to spot the correct opening, and even fairly short downhill grades would cook the brakes in a hurry. But just look at it!
Image source: Old Car Brochures

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any exterior photos of Anthony’s Styleline other than this one; my negatives are much more difficult to keep organized than my digital photos. This is one way in which the 21st century is superior to the mid-20th.

I’m not sure where we were driving that day, but it involved a drive through Oakland to Interstate 580.

Zooming in on the last photo reveals a nice pair of Down Behind The Barbed Wire Fence finds.

All the photos show the dash clock stuck at 2:05. It would be too much to expect, a 40-year-old working clock in a Detroit car.

The one location I could identify in this sequence was this shot on MacArthurthur Boulevard near 72nd Avenue in Oakland, which was my neighborhood at the time.

Anthony still has the ’51, but it got T-boned pretty catastrophically in the late 1990s and has been in storage, awaiting major body/frame repair, ever since. His daily driver became an early S10 pickup, which no doubt seems quite futuristic to him.

51_Chevy_Adventures-12 51_Chevy_Adventures-01 51_Chevy_Adventures-02 51_Chevy_Adventures-03 51_Chevy_Adventures-04 51_Chevy_Adventures-05 51_Chevy_Adventures-06 51_Chevy_Adventures-07 51_Chevy_Adventures-08 51_Chevy_Adventures-09 51_Chevy_Adventures-10 51_Chevy_Adventures-11 51_Chevy_Adventures-13 Styleline_Brochure-550px 51_Chevy_Adventures-14 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Down On The Mile High Street: 1951 Chevrolet Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/down-on-the-mile-high-street-1951-chevrolet-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/down-on-the-mile-high-street-1951-chevrolet-pickup/#comments Thu, 17 Feb 2011 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=384080 This truck has been parked a block from my house since I moved to Denver in June, but early-1950s GMC and Chevy trucks are sort of like fire hydrants or street signs to me— they’ve been around so long that they just seem like standard street accessories, and I tend to overlook them. Finally, I […]

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This truck has been parked a block from my house since I moved to Denver in June, but early-1950s GMC and Chevy trucks are sort of like fire hydrants or street signs to me— they’ve been around so long that they just seem like standard street accessories, and I tend to overlook them. Finally, I went over and got some shots of this great-looking survivor.

How many 60-year-old vehicles do you know that still do work? Aircraft, sure, but light trucks? I’m putting this one down as a 1951 model, based on the lever-type door handles and lack of pop-out driver’s vent (yes, I’ve photographed a few of these things over the years), but junkyard parts swaps tend to blur model-year lines on workhorses like this; it might be a ’53 with ’50 doors, or it could be a ’49 with a ’52 cab… oh, hell, it could be a GMC with Chevrolet grille and emblems, and God only knows what weird engine is under the hood. I’ll leave that debate to the purists.

The half-ton ’51 Chevy pickup scaled in at a mere 3,120 pounds. The current Chevy Colorado weighs 3,735 pounds, so Model Bloat hasn’t been too bad over the last 60 years (though you could make the case that the Silverado is more the descendant of the ’51, in which case its 4,733-pound curb weight does trigger the Model Bloat alarm).

DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-10 DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-01 DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-02 DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-03 DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-04 DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-05 DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-06 DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-07 DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-08 DOTSD-SilverChevyPickup-09 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Book Review: Sports Car Racing In Camera, 1950-59 by Paul Parker http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/book-review-sports-car-racing-in-camera-1950-59-by-paul-parker/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/book-review-sports-car-racing-in-camera-1950-59-by-paul-parker/#comments Thu, 10 Feb 2011 15:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=383435 A proper coffee-table car book ought to be heavy on the grainy action photos, light on the words, and include photographs of Škoda 1101 Sports and Renault 4CVs at Le Mans. Sports Car Racing In Camera, 1950-59 qualifies for inclusion in even the most crowded coffee-table real estate. Normally, I give review copies away after […]

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A proper coffee-table car book ought to be heavy on the grainy action photos, light on the words, and include photographs of Škoda 1101 Sports and Renault 4CVs at Le Mans. Sports Car Racing In Camera, 1950-59 qualifies for inclusion in even the most crowded coffee-table real estate.

Normally, I give review copies away after I’m done with them, lest I run out of shelf space for my collection of Nixon biographies and Emile Zola novels, but this one is a keeper. In fact, this shot of Ak Miller from the 1954 Carrera Panamericana is going to be sliced out, framed, and hung on my office wall.

The book is broken down by year, with a chapter for each year of the 1950s and a breakdown of teams, drivers, and results for each year. Unsurprisingly, most of the photographs were shot at European events, though we do get a few from Sebring and other New World events. Here’s Jack Fairman behind the wheel of an XK120 at Dundrod in 1951.

Porfirio Rubirosa digging his car out of a ditch!

Those who enjoy drooling over photos of 1950s Ferraris and Maseratis will find their Italian car-porn needs amply satisfied with this book; there’s even something for the Osca aficionados.

This is a Haynes book, written by a Brit for the British market, which means that some of the photo captions contain near-disturbing levels of attention to detail. You’ll also get some double-take-inducing Anglocryptic turns of phrase, e.g., “…their dominance was interrupted by Jean Behra’s Gordini biffing Tony Rolt’s D Type up the bum at Thillois on lap 21.” Biffing up the bum! No matter— I’ll take this over the “Go Dog Go” style I slog through in some of the drag-racing books I won’t be reviewing.

This fine book earns a Four Rod Rating (out of a possible OM615-grade five). Murilee says check it out!

Sports Car Racing In Camera, 1950-59 by Paul Parker
SCRIC-14 9781844255528 SCRIC-01 SCRIC-02 SCRIC-03 SCRIC-04 SCRIC-05 SCRIC-06 SCRIC-07 SCRIC-08 SCRIC-09 SCRIC-10 SCRIC-11 SCRIC-12 SCRIC-13 Rating-4ConRods-200px Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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