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Classic Cruising with Larry D'Argis

Nine-year restoration well worth the effort

1948 Ford F-47 Panel truck retrieved from half-foot of mud

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The 1948 Ford F-47 Panel truck took nine years to restore.

Following the Second World War, getting North America moving was a priority and Ford hit the ground running with its new 1948 Ford F-1 and Canadian F-47 truck line. Completely new from the frame up the truck sported the new Million Dollar cab. So named for the lofty sum Ford invested in its development, it was all-steel and taller, wider and longer than previous models and featured a new one-piece windshield. It was also insulated from road noise and vibration by the use of rubber insulators at key vibration points along the chassis.

Styling was fresh and functional with recessed headlamps and a chrome horizontal five-bar grill. With a full half-ton capacity it was built for work, but it also offered a level of comfort never seen before in a truck.

For Jordan Zaporzan, his 1948 Ford F-47 Panel truck was much more than just an old truck. At 12 years old in 2007, Zaporzan knew his passion wasn’t with something newer and saw the appeal in older vehicles and was determined to get a vehicle from that era. "I never saw another one like it, it was unique and all there."

The ’48 Ford he found five miles west of Dauphin, Man. had sat for over 20 years, but with its pontoon fenders and blocky styling it was just what Zaporzan wanted.

After yanking the truck out of a half-foot of mud and emptying the grain out of the back, it was loaded on a trailer and headed for a full restoration. As …

A cool and collectible car

A look back at the evolution of the Dodge Charger

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The 50th anniversary of the Dodge Charger is this year and so today we will take a look at the second generation Charger built from 1968 to 1970.

Totally redesigned for 1968, the car bore little similarity to the ’67 model.

Stylists adopted the popular "Coke-bottle" shape and the concealed headlamps were now recessed in a new grille.

Available only as a two-door fastback coupe, the Charger retained its 117-inch wheelbase — along with the other Chrysler "B" body intermediates — and allowed seating for five with a roomy, comfortable interior and ample trunk space.

The new road and track or R/T model played on the suggestion that youthful car enthusiasts not only used their cars to get to work each week, but they also used it at the track on weekends.

With the R/T option, buyers received the 375-horsepower, 440-cubic-inch magnum V-8 or they could opt for the 425-horsepower, 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8.

The R/T also came with better brakes and suspension packages than the base model.

For 1969, there was little change in the Charger’s appearance other than the addition of a new rear taillight treatment and a divided front grille.

The model lineup expansion consisted of 4 sub-series ranging from base Charger to the Charger 500 and upscale leather clad interiors of the Charger SE or special edition.

In the performance camp, the R/T reigned supreme and engine options remained the same, with the exception of a new "Six-Pack" or three Holley two-barrel induction system option for the 440 Magnum V-8, which increased horsepower from 375 to …

What's Olds is new again

Restored classic is a bona fide beauty

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This 1956 Oldsmobile 98 two-door hardtop still has its original, two-tone paint colours of Citron Cream and Antique White.

Entrepreneur Ransom Eli Olds began producing automobiles in Lansing, Mich. in 1897. While some of his designs were questionable, he struck success in 1901 with a simple single-cylinder runabout, the curved dash Oldsmobile.

In 1908, Olds sold to William C. Durant and the Oldsmobile became part of the newly-formed General Motors Corporation. As a mid-price vehicle in the GM line-up, Oldsmobile was a leader in innovation and released many exciting features. 1940 saw the introduction of the Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, Futuramic styling for late ’40s models and the high-compression, overhead valve, Rocket V-8 engines.

Throughout the 1950s, the Oldsmobile continued to improve in styling and performance and increased sales among General Motors buyers.

Don Scharf of Winnipeg grew up with the Oldsmobile. Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, his father and brother exclusively drove Oldsmobiles and Don owned a 1952 Oldsmobile 98 hardtop. Since then, Scharf has appreciated the Oldsmobile marque and, over the years, has acquired a few prime models for his collection. But one that stood high on his list of wants was a 1956 Oldsmobile 98 two-door hardtop.

The ’50s Oldsmobiles are great collector vehicles, but very difficult to restore. An incomplete car can lead the owner on a years-long hunt for the one-year, one-model trim and chrome for which these vehicles are famous. The other consideration is rust or badly bent body panels. There are no reproduction panels manufactured for these cars and finding original, new-old stock — or even just good used parts — is not an enviable task.

"I had …

Tangerine Dream stands out in a crowd

Larry D'Argis takes a closer look at a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that blends Beetle chassis with Italian style

The future site of Audi Winnipeg, which will be located in the Seasons of Tuxedo retail development across from IKEA, was the scene for a groundbreaking ceremony March 1. Formerly St. James Audi, the new location will no longer share space with its sister Volkswagen operation.

Audi Winnipeg president Mark Warsaba spoke of the excitement from management and staff about having a stand-alone Audi store. "This has been in the planning for three years," Warsaba said. "This ground-breaking marks the beginning of a new era for the Audi brand in Winnipeg."

Warsaba reported the Audi brand has been steadily gaining strength in the city, a process he said is expected to accelerate even more this year with a host of new Audi models coming in the next few months.

The location of the new store will give it high visibility and easy access from the main road. At just over 76,000 square feet, the new store will be double the size of the current Audi store. The showroom will be able to accommodate 12 new vehicles. There will also be a customized Audi Sport display area for performance vehicles.

On the main floor will be two modern customer lounges stocked with fresh pastries and refreshments, a children’s play area, a drive-in service area with 14 service bays, six detail bays, a dedicated new-car delivery centre, an external drive-through car wash system and an express service lane for oil and tire changes. The new store will also have a 28,000-square-foot basement with three dedicated detail …

A fantastic flashback to the '50s

Flashback weekend a hit, raising thousands of dollars for charity

The 22nd annual Fabulous 50’s Ford Club of Manitoba’s Flashback Weekend went off without a hitch.

The Sock Hop Social on Friday drew a crowd of more than 400 to the Transcona Country Club.

The hall was decked out like a Buddy Holley concert and a pair of classic cars flanked the stage.

The dance floor was packed all night thanks to an endless stream of ‘50s and ‘60s hits performed by The Twilights band.

The huge silent auction in support of the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation was also a terrific hit.

Saturday saw club members escort more than 70 classic vehicles on a scenic cruise from Garden City Shopping Centre up Main Street to River Road and onto Lockport for an afternoon of fun and great food at the Half Moon Drive-In.

The cruise mirrored a drive many of us took in our youth to enjoy the delicious hot dogs and ice cream treats the area is noted for.

The weekend concluded Sunday at the Garden City Shopping Centre with the largest free car show in Manitoba.

The Garden City location has played host to the show for the past 21 years and has always been well attended by vehicle owners and spectators alike.

With sunshine and mild temperatures, the lot was filled with guests by 10 a.m.

There were T-shirt and hat sales, along with the Russell Lee band thumping out great tunes all afternoon.

It was a parking lot party like no other.

A 50/50 draw saw one lucky winner take home nearly $1,800 and the draw for a retro …

Life in the Fairlane

In the '50s, Ford restyled its vehicles and introduced a smashing success

In 1955, Ford fully restyled its models, but continued to offer buyers ball-joint front suspension and its new Y-Block overhead-valve V-8 engine. A new model line-up — the Fairlane — appeared in six variations, including sedan, hardtop, station wagon and the convertible. Named after Henry Ford’s mansion in Dearborn, Mich., the Fairlane was warmly greeted by buyers and sold better than any models built after production resumed following the Second World War.

For 1956, Ford decided to leave the leading-edge styling alone and concentrated on moderate style upgrades, giving the cars more flash. Also added were even higher horsepower engines to compete with other marques, a 12-volt electrical system and the introduction of new safety features. “Life-Guard” body packages included front seat belts, dished steering wheel, padded dash covers and padded sun visors, offering occupants more protection in the event of a collision.

Even with an economic recession on the horizon, Ford sales exceeded 1.3 million by the model year end. One successful sales campaign was spearheaded by then sales executive Lee A. Iacocca with the company’s $56 for a ‘56 Ford campaign. With a trade-in or modest 20 per cent down payment, buyers could pay the balance of their new Ford purchase at $56 per month over 36 months.

For Pat Fletcher of Winnipeg, the 1956 Ford’s timeless style has always screamed the ’50s. “I’ve always liked them,” Fletcher said. “My wife, Donna, and I had one in the early 1990s that was a nice car with a great ride, and …

Putting on a show

Weekend events help to make car hobby flourish

Looking over the 2016 Manitoba Association of Auto Clubs (MAAC) event guide, it’s easy to see show and shine events are generally held on Saturday and Sunday — offering car enthusiasts an entire weekend to get a car fix.

While at times it can look crowded — especially when rain dates come into play — with our short summer, having shows on both days makes sense.

The established shows are always well-attended and most are located in or around the city.

Many of the rural shows are within a one- or two-hour drive and allow car owners to stretch their legs. It never hurts to log some highway miles on your rides and it also allows clubs to plan breakfast runs and travel together.

Being able to choose Saturday or Sunday shows allows for the obvious growth of events and helps the car hobby flourish.

Summer Sundays can often become hectic with church, family gatherings and sporting events, so catching a Saturday show may be a better fit. Clubs and venues are able to expand charitable fundraising, as well.

Most shows have a charity represented at them and there has always been a positive thrust toward helping these entities move forward in their work with fundraising efforts.

An added spin off is as the hobby grows, the need for businesses and services increase to meet the needs of the hobby. Paint and body shops, parts suppliers, general maintenance shops, detailing businesses and more can all benefit from growth in the hobby.

When we look at growth of …

An American icon

Ford's Mustang has a long and storied racing history

In 1965, the Ford Motor Company approached legendary racer, car designer and entrepreneur Carroll Shelby about qualifying the Mustang as a sports car to compete in the Sports Car Club of America competitions.

As a result, Shelby and Ford created hundreds of GT 350 fastbacks for competition and for public sale. Shelby American even produced 16 coupes in 1966 that competed in the A/Sedan Group 2 class of racing. With the Mustang’s success, more began surfacing in competition, including the coupe model. Many individual racers saw the opportunity to take these lightweight coupes to the next level as racers and they often fared well in competition.

Today, the Mustang fastbacks and convertibles from the 1960s are coveted collectibles. The vintage coupe is also a player in the market, but can be had for much less of an investment, even though it offers much the same driving characteristics. Back in 1966, the coupe was priced only $231 less than the convertible and $191 less than the fastback — but today their values are far less than the other models.

Because of the price differential, the coupes are probably on the cusp of being a hot commodity. With their classic style, ease of maintenance and the plethora of restoration and performance modification parts available in today’s market, it makes them a great buy. Drag car, slalom racer, street machine, classic cruiser or pro touring — all are within your grasp equally with a coupe.

For Derrick Ramsey of Winnipeg, growing up in the ‘60s in Brandon, …


Vintage Vauxhall rare, capable cruiser

Vauxhall Iron Works in London had long been a boat producer before its first chain-drive runabout left the plant in 1903.

Not much more than a motorized carriage with tiller steering and no reverse gear, Vauxhall continued to improve.

By 1922, the Vauxhall D-type was seen as a reliable vehicle and capable of a top speed near the 160 km/h mark. Financial ills in the mid-1920s resulted in Vauxhall being purchased by General Motors — and that opened up a whole new market for the cars.

By the late 1940s, the popularity of economical and inexpensive compact vehicles began to take a foothold in the North American market and the Vauxhall was a staple in GM showrooms.

For 1957, the General Motors styling influence could be seen in the new Victor model. A squarish profile aimed at international sales, the Vauxhall featured lower glass lines, liberal use of chrome trim, and column-shifted manual transmission.

Sales continued to climb through the 1959 model and GM felt it was time for its own compact and introduced the European-inspired rear-engine, air-cooled, Chevrolet Corvair. Sales were slow at first and it was noted a good many buyers still wanted the conventional front-engine, rear-drive layout.

Vauxhall adopted a wider grille in 1960 with minor styling changes, but for 1962, it would see a total restyling. Five inches longer, with a two-inch increase in wheelbase, the Victor received a new wider grille that incorporated the headlamps.

For Tom Dudych of Winnipeg, the Vauxhall experience came in 1975, when his father, Joe, purchased a …

Hot SUMMER nights

Pony Corral Sunday night cruise a Manitoba tradition

Whether you call it hot August nights or the dog days of summer — August on the Prairies typically offers great weather for outdoor activities. Last Sunday with mild temperatures and not a cloud in the sky, the crowd came out in droves for Sunday Night Cruise Nite at the Pony Corral Restaurant and Bar, located at the Grant Park Shopping Centre on the corner of Grant Avenue and Wilton Street. Pony Corral owner Peter Ginakes is a longtime lover of all things automotive and has been welcoming the car community to his restaurants since 1986.

Event sponsors include Rondex, Piston Ring Service, BIG 97.5, CJOB, Coors, Coca-Cola and Willy’s Garage. In addition to all the great classic and special-interest vehicles on display there’s also onsite entertainment and fabulous prizes given away in both the weekly and final summer draws. With tasty burgers and hot-dogs available from the Pony’s food cart, aptly modelled after a Ford Model T, and great meals on the patio or inside the restaurant, there’s always plenty of options to take care of those hunger pangs.

For the past 10 years the Pony Corral has teamed up with the Fabulous 50’s Ford Club of Manitoba to manage the parking lot directly in front of the restaurant — where featured auto clubs showcase their member’s vehicles each week. In addition to the featured weekly guest car club member vehicles prominently displayed up front, there is also reserved parking for more than 300 classic and special-interest vehicles in Grant …