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2020 marks our 51st Anniversary                 51 Years of FUN - driving Early Ford V8s             51 years of NO grass growing under Our tires!                    Our club, #24, keeps rolling On, and On - and has been for 51 years - WOW! !     
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Regional Group #24 of Georgia
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TECH-TIPS #2 of 3
Aug 1997 TFRB
                                Reading Spark Plugs
Looking at the white porcelain part of flathead's spark plugs - after it has run normally - can show you how the Heat-Range of your plugs is:
If it appears very white, perhaps with small dark spots, it may be burnt - Too Hot!
If it appears oily - it may be Too Cold!
   The Electrode can also tell you much the same.
The color of the porcelain will also tell you how the fuel-air mixture is:
It should be a very light, just barely brown.
If it appears very white, with no color, it may be Too Lean - not enough Fuel mixing with the Air - needs bigger jets.
If it is medium to dark brown, or sooty it may be Too Rich - too much fuel mixing with the Air - needs smaller jets.
   If it appears wet or oily, your rings may not be controlling the oil past the pistons.  This is also usually obvious as the exhaust smokes a bluish color.
Dick Anderson
Here are 2 good sites to see how to do this, with great colored pictures:  WikiHow/Read-A-Spark-Plug     YourMechanic/How to Read a Spark Plug
Sep 1997 TFRB
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Learn a bit (A LOT)about the venerable Scintilla Vertex Magneto
They are still used to this day on most Open Wheel Cars (sprints, Midget, Modifieds etc. - those that don't use a battery).
I can tell you from experience that this ad is NOT baloney!  I had a stock '51 Chrysler Saratoga, which came with the 331 Hemi, back in the 50s.  When I installed the Vertex Magneto, with NOTHING else modified, it accelerated considerably faster & had about 10 MPH more top speed - in fact, it might have been capable of even more, as with the Magneto it would go fast enough to "pump up" the hydraulic lifters, and it wouldn't come close to those RPMs with the stock ignition (which, by the way, was one of the better ignitions of the day as it came stock with dual points).  In retrospect, I should have put a higher rear end gear in it to see just what the top speed could have been.  Anyway, I was a Happy Camper because I could beat ALL the Fords, Chevvys, Mercs, Lincolns, Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs etc of the day if they were stock - or even close to it.
Did the Magneto, in itself, ADD HORSEPOWER?  The advance curve was faster, which undoubtedly help acceleration.  But, it probably wasn't the "hotter spark" that gave it more power - it probably was the FACT that it didn't miss at high speeds that added H.P.  I was always taught that a hotter ignition added nothing if the original one didn't cause missing!  In other words, perhaps any ignition that didn't miss would have given the same gains - no way of telling now...   Dick Anderson
Thanks to The Queensland Australia, RG#157, from their May 2019 Newsletter.
We are certainly hearing a great deal of discussion about electric vehicles just lately and the sales targets that are proposed to be met. Indeed KPMG have just done a study to suggest that electric vehicles are really just a stop gap and that fuel cell vehicles will take over from them. One thing is certain is that there is a vast difference in the pricing structure for similar sized cars , petrol versus electric, in some cases at least 3 times more.
    This is not new and in the case of the Owen Magnetic from 1915 it was about nine times the price of a Model T and would certainly have influenced the fate of the Owen Magnetic. In the early years of the 20th century, as in the 21st century, battery-electric cars competed with internal combustion and steam-powered vehicles for market supremacy. Each had its own advantages, but one manufacturer - Owen Magnetic - built a Series Hybrid auto-mobile that offered much of the convenience of an electric with the range of a gasoline-powered vehicle.
    Today if we talk about “hybrid,” we think of cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, both of which are Parallel Hybrids. Here the battery-electric drivetrain supplements the power of the engine to improve the fuel economy and range. Key points here are -- The primary propulsion is derived from the internal combustion engine, which works together (in parallel) with the batteries, regeneration system, and electric motor. 
    A Series Hybrid uses its internal combustion engine to generate electricity, which is then used to drive an electric motor and recharge batteries. Diesel-electric submarines are Series Hybrids, as are modern railway locomotives. The recently cancelled Chevrolet Volt was a Series Hybrid, though under certain conditions the car’s gasoline engine would provide supplemental power to the electric drivetrain.
     The Owen Magnetic, which entered production in 1915, used an innovative “electric transmission” coupled to a conventional six-cylinder gasoline engine. Instead of gears, the transmission assembly featured a generator and magnet assem-bly that replaced the flywheel, positioned opposite to an electric traction motor with its armature located within the magnetic field.  No direct linkage existed between engine and drive wheels, but instead, the electric motor provided propulsion, with the driver adjusting speed via a steering wheel-mounted rheostat (which also provided Neutral). This arrangement while a little complex had a number of key benefits. Once the gasoline engine was started, the Owen Magnetic was as easy to operate as an electric car and had no clutch to depress or gearshift to “row”.
     While the car used mechanical brakes on its rear wheels, a control lever turned the traction motor into a generator, slowing the car without the mechanical brakes and providing current to recharge the on-board storage batteries.  It was advertised as “the car of a thousand speeds,” but was hampered primarily by its high price.  In 1916, after the firm relocated from New York City to Cleveland and expanded its product range, the least expensive Owen Magnetic cost $3,150, with the most expensive model priced at $5,000. By comparison, the most expensive Ford Model T of the day, the town car, sold for $640, while the Model T runabout could be purchased for just $390.
     In August 1920, the Owen Magnetic Automobile Company went into receivership, re-emerging in 1921 as the Owen Magnetic Motor Car Corporation. This, too, went under, and the factory shut its doors for the final time in March 1922. At that point in history it was not so attractive to the customers, almost the same as today’s buying climate. Jaguar, however, are hoping their latest cat out of the bag, the “I - Pace”, an SUV, will be a sales success. One of the first electric SUVs it has the usual dynamic performance but their suggested range after testing looked a little optimistic. Interesting to note that for recharging, a normal house power point gives the Jag 8kms per hour or 35 kms per hour if you install the $2280 high voltage wall box.  One of my friends has just come back from a 6,000 km trip down to Adelaide and surrounds over the last three weeks in his Prado. It would have been an interesting exercise in planning to do the same trip in the Jag. I dare say things will change over time but this debate over electric cars certainly gives us plenty to think about.
     Returning to the start, the Ford Everest SUV costs roughly between $50 -74,000 while the Jag is about $160,000 that is a lot of fuel in the difference.  Lubricants company Fuchs Group has announced plans to buy Sydney-based automotive oil company Nulon Australia. The move is part of Fuchs’ expansion into the Australian automotive retail sector. Fuchs Australasia Managing Director said the Nulon name would be retained and its products will continue to be made in Australia.  Fuchs Group is the world’s biggest independent lubricant manufacturer. It was started in Mannheim in 1931 and now employs more than 5000 people worldwide at 58 operating companies.  Its main sales markets are Western Europe, Asia and North America.
     Originally built in 1921 according to an Albert Kahn design, the Highland Park Sales and Service building - often mistakenly referred to as the assembly plant’s administration building - sat adjacent to the 100-acre Highland Park plant that Ford built in 1910 after Model T production exceeded the capacity of the company’s Piquette Avenue plant.  Though Model T production eventually moved to River Rouge, the Highland Park plant continued to build tractors for decades afterward.
     In 1973, it made its way onto the National Register of Historic Places, followed by National Historic Landmark status in 1978.  Once thought to be saved as a museum, the building is now up for sale and its future is uncertain.  Let’s hope it can be saved as part of Ford history. 
     Oh dear, the latest sales figures show the F series trucks well out in front but the Dodge Ram has overtaken the Silverado pushing it back into third place. I’m sure that will stir the folks over at General Motors!

Adrian also wrote more about contemporary Electric Cars in the prior & following issues, which cover actual costs & effects of Ethanol in gasoline.
The following article, about Electric Cars, from the beginning, is excerpted from a really informative article written by Adrian Grant, President of the Queensland, Australia Early Ford V-8 Club RG#157, which appeared in their May 2019 Newsletter, Early V-8 Update.
Australia's view of Electric Cars
V8 Times JulAug1977
JanFeb 1978 V8 Times
JulAug 1978 V8 Times
SepOct 1979 V8 Times
SepOct 1979 - there are 4 pages - See or DOWNLOAD
MayJun 1980 V8 Times
JulAug 1991V8 Times    DOWNLOAD this article
I found this of great interest as I, Dick Anderson, made my career in Shock Absorbers too - Carrera Racing Shocks.  The Houdaille certainly was a great step forward during its time but was made obsolete by tubular design shocks
(at first known as "Airplane Type"), all of which are actually hydraulic dampers.
JulAug 1985
JulAug 1993 V8 Times
History of Houdaille Shocks
JulAug 1992 V8 times
JanFeb V8 Times
V8 Times 1996-7 - A 3-Part Article Combined - DOWNLOAD
MarApr 1998 V8 Times - They tested some shock oils made for Houdaille shocks.
They were quite "primitive" (compared to modern shock oils) for primitive shocks
DOWNLOAD 4-page article
JulAug 1999 V8 Times
MarApr 2002  V8 Times  (not done by Joe Smith, but be Cliff Green)
SepOct 2002  V8 Times  (not by Joe either)
MayJun 2003
JulAug 2003 V8 Times
JulAug 2003 V8 Times
MarApr 2008 (not by Joe Smith)
MarApr 2009
SepOct 1987
JanFeb 2014 - not by Joe Smith
JanFeb 2011  V8 Times
MarApr 2012 V8 Times - by our own Lance Bucky, Member #454
JanFev 2011  V8 Times
MarApr 2011      See/Download this 5-pg article
MarApr 2011
JulAug 2011 V8 Times
JulAug 2011 V8 Times
MayJun 2012 - Good advice for any old car
JanFeb 2013
MayJun 2013
SepOct 2013
July 1979
May 1979 Restoration Blues & News
This came from the L.I. RG#21 Newsletter 2019 June      Download
a 5-part article, over 6 months - May through Oct 1979 by Jack Henry

May 1979   - Restoration News
June 1979
July 1979
Aug 1979
Sep 1979
Oct 1979
June 2005 TFRB
June 2005 TFRB
Jan 1995  TFRB
March 1995 TFRB
Nov 1995 TFRB
DOWNLOAD this article
From Long Island RG#21 Newsletter Dec 2019
(reprinted from Skinned Knuckles Magazine May q 1992)