History Road at the Reynolds Alberta Museum

If you’re ever in north central Alberta, you don’t want to miss the Reynolds Alberta Museum. It’s a massive collection devoted to all kinds of moving machines, especially cars, trucks and aircraft.  June 8th and 9th this year was the History Road show, which had cars lined up by the year starting at 1903 and heading up into the 80′s. Vehicles were on hand from the museum’s vast collection as well as many enthusiast entries from all over western Canada – around 600 in total.

This was a great chance to see some of the lesser-know makes and models. While there was plenty of Detroit muscle around, some of the highlights were historical gems like the stalwart General Motors Truck, the luxuriant Locomobile, the Harley Earl finned masterpiece ’48 Cadillac and many more that helped make the 20th century American car geist.

1936 GMC 3/4 Ton

For working machines, patches, repairs and parts change-outs make the notion of “original” a tricky concept.  Suffice to say, this 1936 General Motors Truck (we call ‘em GMC now) isn’t the same as the day it rolled off the line in the year the Hoover Dam was completed, though it wouldn’t have been too far out of place.

1913 Locomoblie

Next to the $550 Ford, the 1913 Model 38 Locomobile at $4300 was very expensive indeed. Even so, this was the smallest, cheapest Locomobile that year. It featured a 477 cubic inch six of 43.8 horsepower, electric horn and electric lights. The particular car shown is thought to be the first car in Alberta equipped with these electric features. It’s been restored, but the leather upholstery is original.

1948 Cadillac

Harley Earl, head of the GM Design Studio, ruminated on the tailfins of the P-38 fighter until new designs could be produced after the war. His vision was borne out in the 1948 Cadillac, the first of a dozen-odd years of finned wonders.

We’ve got a bunch more pictures from this show here. Besides the static displays there were various moving vehicles to see. One of my favorite displays were these old-timers – a couple of Model T’s and a Massey-Harris:

More information:

Locomobile Vintage Print Ads

1948 Cadillac Brochure




The Blues Brothers’ Bluesmobile

The Bluesmobile

BDR 529. That’s the license plate of the Blues Brother’s (nearly) indestructible 1974 Dodge Monaco, the Bluesmobile, which starred in the 1980 Blues Brothers film. As Elwood said to Jake:

It’s got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. It’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas.

We spotted the real thing recently in Revelstoke, British Columbia. Well, maybe it wasn’t the actual car from the movie, but it was a real cop car with all the right stuff including the police ‘Pursuit Vehicle’ badge.

1974 Dodge Monaco police car

Pursuit Vehicle badge

More than just a replica, this car looked like it might have chased down a few perps in it’s day, judging from the original equipment inside, including the SCMODS (State County Municipal Offender Data System) display:

interior of bluesmobile 070

Note also the 140 mph speedometer. More info on 74 Monaco cop cars is here.

140 mph speedo in bluesmobile

Best of all, the Blues Brothers were there for the car show.  Well, almost… they were a really cool tribute act by the name of Blues Brothers Too. Check them out live at the car show:


Starsky & Hutch Gran Torino

(originally posted 22 July 2011; recovered from archive.org 17 May 2013)

I saw a nice example of the ‘76 Gran Torino in Starsky and Hutch garb at the Victoria, B.C. swap meet in late June. I remember one of these around town in the late 70’s when I was growing up there. Could this be the same one? The owner wasn’t around, so I couldn’t find out if it was an original Victoria car.

It was immaculately restored and even featured a Kojak light and police siren equipment under the dash. Note that 537 ONN is the correct license plate for the TV series car.

On the Old Car Manual Project, we have a 1976 Ford Foldout Brochure, but nothing showing the Starsky & Hutch option.  Anybody have one out there? Email me if you do!

Monarch and Meteor

(originally posted 2 July  2010; recovered from archive.org 17 May 2013)

1949 Monarch

I came across this 1949 Monarch at the Lethbridge, Alberta Early Bird Swap Meet last February.

In the 1949 model year, Lincoln-Mercury dealers in Canada got the Meteor – a 114″ wheelbase Ford badged as a Mercury, but retaining the Ford 100 HP 239 V-8 – while the Ford dealers got the Monarch.

The Monarch rode on the Mercury 118″ wheelbase and used the Mercury drivetrain.  It’s easily spotted here where you can see the Holley Model 885 carburetor of the ‘49 Mercury engine, with it’s unusual rear-facing horizontal air intake.

1949 Monarch engine compartment showing Holley 1901 carburetor

Ford models used the Model 2100, commonly called the ‘94′ because of the venturi size in inches usually cast into the main body.

There’s more on Canadian Mercurys including the Mercury truck, with pictures,  here1949  Monarch rear view

For a thorough review of most of the special post-war Canadian Fords, there’s a detailed article here.