1961 Aston Martin DB4

When it comes to project cars, you’ll be hard pressed to find one cooler than an all-original Aston Martin DB4. The slightly worse for wear Aston you see here was discovered in a barn in Mississippi, it was originally bought by the Castrol Oil Co. in 1961 and used as an executive car for senior company personel.

After racking up considerable enthusiastic mileage at Castrol, the DB4 was bought by Ronald Rawden – a well-known British enthusiast who personally removed the engine from the chassis and rebuilt it from scratch under close guidance from the Aston Martin factory.

Shortly thereafter the car was sold to an American collector and shipped across the Atlantic, the record of its life in the United States is unclear, all that’s known is that it was discovered in a Mississippi barn in 100% complete condition – right down to its original Caribbean Blue paint work.

Pristine Aston Martin DB4s are selling for prices in the $450,000+ USD range at the moment, meaning that the estimated hammer price of $300,000 to $375,000 on this car gives an astute collector the chance to restore it to a very high level and still make a little money on the deal.

If you’d like to read more you can click here to visit RM Auctions and see their detailed write up on the car, on the same page you can also register for the auction – should you be in the market for a serious summer project.

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Photo Credits: Erik Fuller ©2014 Courtesy of RM Auctions

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Yashica Mat-124 G

The Yashica Mat-124 G was produced by the Japanese camera manufacturer between 1968 and 1971, the model was fitted with a 4 element, 80mm F3.5 lens and shot images at 6 cm x 6cm. The Mat-124 G is a popular camera on the vintage market and film is still easy to come by, the one you see pictured here is currently for sale on Etsy at $350 USD and is described as being in near mint condition – potentially making it a great entry point into the world of vintage camera photography.

Click here to read more.

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1960 Porsche 356 Roadster

This 1960 Porsche 356 Roadster has just undergone a 3 year concurs-level mechanical and cosmetic restoration, it’s now being offered in better-than-new condition with a period correct Super 90 engine fitted.

The 356 has been largely overshadowed by the 911 that replaced it – that said, over 76,000 were produced and it’s thought that approximately half this number still survive.

From a design perspective the 356 wrote the book on Porsche aesthetics, the influence from the first 356 is still clearly visible in the latest 911. Porsche never brought the 356 back into production, which seems like a bit of shame really. I’m convinced that the modern Porsche Cayman should have been badged as the reborn 356, and that the Boxster should have been badged as the new 550.

I’m sure the marketing boffins in Stuttgart considered these names and have some wonderfully German explanation as to why it wasn’t a good idea, but when a company has a back catalogue as impressive as Porsche it’s always surprising when they don’t take full advantage of it.

If you’ve been looking for the perfect summer car for hammering along the mountain roads of California, this particular Porsche 356 is being offered for sale by Motorcar Studio on eBay – it isn’t cheap, but it is beautiful.

Click here to read more.

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Porsche 356 Roadster 1480x986 1960 Porsche 356 Roadster

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7’6″ Channel Bottom by Deus

The 7’6″ Channel Bottom by Deus is a design by Rich Pavel, it measures in at 7’6 x 3″ x 19½” and has a single, removable fin.

These boards are each shaped by hand in Bali and are finished to an exceedingly high level, Deus ship them to all four corners of the globe and if you’d like to buy one, you can click here.

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Norton Commando Tracker by Federal Moto

The Norton Commando is a motorcycle that I have a lot of time for, many consider it one of the greatest motorcycles of all time and I’d be inclined to agree pretty enthusiastically.

Originally introduced in 1967, the Commando won worldwide acclaim that continues to this day, it won the coveted Motor Cycle News “Machine of the Year” award for 5 straight years from ’68 to ’72 – staving of stiff competition from the new generation of motorcycles coming out of Japan.

The custom Commando tracker you see here is the work of Federal Moto, a relatively new Canadian custom motorcycle workshop based in Edmonton, Alberta and run by Justin Benson, Randy Venhuis, Shaun Brandt, and Kyle Nichols.

The expansively detailed write up the team at Federal Moto did for this bike is so good I’ve decided to post it here unedited. It covers every aspect of the build from start to finish and should interest those of you who want to know exactly what goes into building a custom motorcycle to this level.

So depending on the time of day in your part of the world, go make yourself a coffee or open a beer, then scroll down and have a read.

“We found this 1974 Norton Commando 850 on a farm in Rimbey, Alberta. It ran, barely, and had a ton of attitude. We wanted to create a surf style tracker that you could ride around the city, or cruise through the rockies all the way to the coast. We only had one condition: maintain the soul of the classic design and feel that Norton had built 40 years ago. We made some major design changes to the shape and feel of the bike, but the spirit is all still there. We can only hope that the employees at Norton would be fighting each other to take it for a spin if it rolled onto the factory floor.

We began by taking the bike down to the frame. Norton Commandos have a very thick centre tube that slants downward towards the tail of the bike, making it very difficult create the perfect line we wanted from headlight to taillight. First step was cutting the rear section of the centre tube out and re-shaping the frame to have one clean line. It took some engineering, but we’ve welded and formed the frame to be just as strong as the original. After that we shortened the frame by 18 inches in order to sit just in front of the centre of the rear wheel, and shaped a new rear hoop. This was the beginning of tracker shape we were going after.

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Once we had the frame shape settled, we got the wheels back on to gauge how beefy we could go with tires. We settled on 2x19inch Coker Diamond Tread tires that truly captured the era of the bike.

Once we had the shape and height of the bike down, we began chopping off every piece of excess from the frame and the original parts. This included all tabs, oil tank mounts, original fender mounts, centre stand, rear foot peg mounts, chain guard, battery box; anything that didn’t make the bike run. We cut nearly 30 lbs of weight. Before sending the frame to powder coating, we mounted brackets for our 71’ Norton oil tank, formed our seat pan, and machined mounting brackets for the fenders, lights, exhaust, and ignition.

Any original parts that were salvageable were sanded and polished in-house, restoring them to their original state. Any Norton parts that we needed to replace, were obtained through local British bike guru John Oland. This build would not have been possible without Johns unmatched willingness to share his knowledge of vintage motorcycles. The guy is a legend.

The engine itself is all original, aside from an electronic ignition. We pulled it completely apart and inspected, cleaned and polished everything, got the valves dialed in, bored the pistons, and replaced the piston rings. Well worth it considering it’s got more compression than an industrial trash compactor.

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Once we had the frame and wheels back from powder coating, we began assembly, and the detail work that makes The Ace the bike that it is. We got some mid 50’s Triumph Fenders from a junk pile, chopped them up, shaped them, and re-finished the paint matte black. For exhaust, we purchased 71’ Norton Commando SS pipes and chopped about 12 inches off of them before wrapping them and attaching 17” Reverse Megaphone cone exhaust from Modern Motorcycle Company out of Australia.

For lights, we went with 4 bullet signals and a bullet brake light, finishing it off with a 5 ¾ inch black headlight, substantially lowered to keep our line. These were all wired through the new wiring harness we created and hooked up to a new Antigravity 4 cell battery tucked under the seat. We got rid of the tachometer and replaced the speedometer with a mini version of the Smiths speedometer that can be seen on many vintage british bikes. The speedo housing was machined in house.

For switches, we got rid of everything original and drilled out the bars to install 12mm push buttons for the signals and horn, cleaning up the front end substantially. We then drilled a hole in the headlight housing and installed an on/off switch so that the 4 cell battery had enough power to kick-start the bike (as opposed to having the headlight on when the key is turned on). All of this was brought together with a BSA A10/A65 Low handlebar, sticking to the bikes British roots. Other final touches at this stage included 1970’s Tommaselli Natural gum rubber grips, ordered direct from the factory in Italy, and simple footpegs machined in house. We kept the original rear brake and replaced the front with a Tokico 2 Piston front brake and Katana 750 Rotor. We also machined a new bracket off of the forks to mount the new brake assembly.

The final pieces were the gas tank and seat. We designed a 2 tone italian leather seat, sewn to perfection by local upholster Tyler Wheeler, keeping the transition seam angled in-line with the frame piece that sits below it. For the tank, we sandblasted it, fixed all the dents and repainted it off-white with an original gold vinyl Norton logo. Last but not least, we sanded the crud off of the gas cap and coated it flat black to pop off the tank.

In the end, we could not be happier with our first build. We’re extremely excited to continue creating functional, one-of-a-kind machines for passionate riders.”

If you’d like to stay in the loop with new builds from Federal Moto, you can follow them on InstagramTwitter or visit their website here.

Norton Commando Tracker Side 1480x986 Norton Commando Tracker by Federal Moto

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Heuer ‘Super Autavia’ Dashboard Chronograph

The dashboard chronograph was an essential part of the instrument cluster on cars in the pre-digital age, in fact they were probably more important than either the speedometer or tachometer.

The Heuer ‘Super Autavia’ dashboard chronograph you see above is an original unit from 1959, it has a normal clock on the main face and a secondary stage timer on the two smaller dials, once recording hours and one recording minutes – useful for keeping an eye on your Mille Miglia or Targa Florio stage times.

It’s fully functioning and is due to be sold at the Quail Lodge Auction on the 15th of August 2014, click here to take a look at the listing.

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The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

We’ve talked about The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company on Silodrome before, it’s always a popular subject as we’re all prone to bouts of wanderlust and a little cabin on wheels that you can build in your backyard is the kind of thing that has broad appeal to adventurer inside all of us.

The tiny houses (or portable cabins) that you see here are all the work of the team at Tumbleweed – a company that specialises in selling both plans and turn-key tiny homes. Prices on the plans start at a few hundred USD and turn-key homes start at $57,000 USD, all of the homes are road-legal RVs that can be permanently installed onto a property if the owner prefers.

Click to see more from The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

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1979 Castrol International Rally

It’s likely that you’ve never heard of The Castrol International Rally, it was a local Australian rally held in the wilderness around Australia’s capital city of Canberra between ’74 and ’81. This film covers the 1979 event and it offers a fantastic look back at rally racing in the simpler, less technical era of the 1970s.

The full film is 50 minutes long and if you watch the whole thing, you’ll be sorely tempted to buy an old Ford Escort and go trail bashing. Which probably isn’t a bad pastime.

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Henry Ford Transmission Patent Poster

Henry Ford’s influence on industry in American and around the world has been colossal, he’s most famous for his Model T but his work popularising the concept of the production line was probably more important in the grand scheme of things. One of his other great innovations (that sadly didn’t catch on) was “Fordism”, defined as the mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers.

This patent drawing was the joint design of Ford and two of his senior engineers, it’s been saved for posterity and is available printed on 90 lb. card stock paper in a variety of colours.

Grab yours here

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