EP024 ’59 Edsel, ’55 Chevy Gasser, and a Killer Restomod at Greaserama

In Episode 24, find out who started muscle cars (arguably)…how the 24 Hours of Lemons wants to be electric…why this is not your father’s Volvo…and discover a new auction site from one of the big boys in classic cars.

PLUS- in segment two of Road Muscle Radio, Catfish Groves and Brett Hatfield share a recap of Greaserama 2020, the massive Midwest car show celebrating it’s 20th year of grease, gears, and good times. Catfish was there, and recorded three interviews with folks from the car show, who talk about their ’59 Edsel, ’55 Chevy Gasser, and a wicked cool 1936 Restomod.

(PS- many thanks to the folks at Greaserama, including Shawn Spiwak, and to our three interviewees- Rodney Creed, Jim Dentler, and John Barr!)




Muscle Cars- whose fault is THAT?  According to Hotcars.com- it’s Oldsmobile’s fault.

When Olds launched the “Rocket” overhead valve V8 engine in the late 1940s, V8’s, rather than straight 8’s, caught on like fire. Hot-rodders, racers and soon enough, manufacturers competing with Oldsmobile started working on their own OHV V8s.

You could argue that that engine alone is responsible for the true start of the muscle car wars.

But there’s more to the story than just an engine

The phrase “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” has become synonymous with a number of racing series that ran modified versions of road cars that ordinary people could buy.

Nowhere was this more evident, at least in America, than in NASCAR. Back when “stock car” actually meant something and the cars you saw tearing around oval circuits looked a lot more like the cars you could buy from a dealership.

We can trace the idea that that phrase presents – the winning car will sell better than the rest – back to 1949, when Oldsmobile launched the “Rocket” V8 engine in the 88 coupe, thus creating the “Rocket 88,” a car name so good Ike Turner wrote a song about it in 1951.

Crucially, the Rocket V8 was an overhead valve design, which gave it much more power and efficiency than the “flat-head” V8s that most other manufacturers were using at the time. The engine had much higher compression than most, giving it massive performance potential, which, paired with the lightweight of the Oldsmobile chassis, “rocketed” the ’49 Olds to the front of the grid in NASCAR, winning six races in 1940, ten in 1950 and a staggering 20 race wins in 1951 before the competition began to catch up.

It wouldn’t take long before other manufacturers took notice. Chrysler launched the HEMI V8in 1951 and GM put out the legendary Chevy small-block V8 in 1955.

Sure, the other automakers had their eye on the V8 prize- but Oldsmobile got there first, and that’s makes them the daddy-o of muscle.



When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But when 500 bucks gets you a lemon, make a freakin’ race car.

From baltimoresun.com comes an update on the 24 Hours of Lemons.  We’ve talked about it before on Driven Radio Show- 24 hours, in a craptastic car, making hilarity in racing history. Of sorts.

How does it work? Start with a $500 car. Cheaper is fine, but no higher. Then decorate it outrageously. Maybe with a giant rubber ducky, or a flying pig. Now put it on a racetrack with scores of other half-broken art-cars — and drive it fast as hell for 14 1/2 hours.

The  24 Hours of Lemons has been going on since 2006, with a grand prize of a rusted trophy, and a 500 dollar bag of nickels.  It’s a multimillion-dollar franchise held in dozens of cities across the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Winning is mostly irrelevant. What is actually tested (and celebrated) is the ability of resourceful hobbyists — armed with only basic tools and their wits — to revive a worn-out vehicle for a weekend of low-rent, high-speed high jinks.

The most recent change to the 24 Hours of Lemons- is electrifying. Literally.

A year ago Lamm put up $50,000 to create a prize for the first pure electric car to win any 24 Hours of Lemons race. To up the ante, electric cars are exempt from the $500 limit.  But, to retain a certain sense of ethical and moral purity, Lamm said the electric vehicle prize would be paid exclusively in nickels, delivered to the winner’s driveway by a dump truck.

Of the approximately 15,000 cars in Lemons races since 2006, only two have been electric. A converted half-century-old Datsun 1600, equipped with a 23-horsepower forklift powertrain, was quickly pulled from the race. It was too slow and a hazard for the rest of the field, which averages 55 to 60 mph during a race.

A second team fielded a 1981 Plymouth Horizon TC3 wired to golf-cart batteries. Battery chargers previously used for Chinese crop-dusting drones were stationed in the team’s pit area. Errant electrical fields attracted an army of fire ants, which swarmed the lining of the driver’s race suit right before he put it on.

According to the article, Lamm sees the future of vehicles written in electricity, and wants to keep the fun alive, and keep the race relevant.

Winning Lemons with an EV will be more difficult. It will require an ultra-durable endurance car and an apparatus capable of speedy battery swaps. Blueprints don’t exist.  And it’s the most expensive way to do it. Some battery swapping strategies are in the 100,000 dollar price range. Pretty heavy for a race against 500 crapboxes.



The Volvo P1800.  You’ve seen them occasionally rusting out in a yard or under a tarp. Pretty cool looking – a cross between Danger Mouse’s ride, and an off-brand James Bond car.

Never thought of it as a muscle car?  Think again. According to classiccars.com, the P180 is being reborn in carbon and steel, with 420 horse under the hood.

Take the classic P1800, modernizes the lines a little- but not a lot.  Then add a 2.0 liter twin-turbocharged 4-banger.  It’s not from Volvo, though, but from Cyan Racing, a 3-time World Tour Car champion and former Volvo vehicle development partner.

“Our company was founded in 1996 to race Volvo cars in Sweden, and the Volvo P1800 Cyan is closing the circle for us,” Christian Dahl, Cyan Racing founder and chief executive, is quoted in the team’s news release.

The new version also is a solution to what might have been had Volvo’s fate worked out differently, Dahl said, noting that the original P1800 launched in 1960, a year before the Jaguar E-type, two years before the Ferrari 250 GTO and three years before the Porsche 911.

Dahl also said they could have made it electric, but, quote, “we decided to slow down time and freeze a part of it in our own time capsule. To take the best from the golden ’60s and combine it with our capabilities of today, keeping a pure yet refined driving experience.”

Yeah, we approve.  No electronic stability control, ABS, or brake booster.  Just you, the road, 420 horses, and Jesus as your copilot.  No word on pricing- you have to be in the buying process to find out the cost.




Also from Classiccars.com, a new online auction platform started this week.

The Collector Car Network, the parent company of ClassicCars.com and of the ClassicCars.com Journal, has started AutoHunter, an all-new online auction destination for collector cars.

AutoHunter shifts the way you buy, sell, and enjoy collector cars by providing consignors, bidders, and interested enthusiasts with the safety and customer service that only years of experience in online vehicle sales can provide, according to the article

You should be able to find dozens of collector vehicles listed on AutoHunter each week, with live bidding available to registered bidders for a standard 7-day auction. The first 15 vehicles will be up for auction for 12 days as part of the grand opening to allow for additional bidding opportunities.  AutoHunter will provide assurances that no other auction house offers to bidders to set itself apart.

One such guarantee protects all winning bids under AutoHunter’s exclusive Buyer Protection Program, which covers losses that could result from unlikely scenarios of seller misrepresentation.

A live customer service and support team will be available to all customers during regular business hours over the phone and by email. Additionally, AutoHunter offers consignors a dedicated account representative for their listing, who will act as a direct liaison for all questions and concerns during the consignment process.

To list a vehicle with AutoHunter, submit a free no-obligation consignment request form on AutoHunter.com. No fee will be required until the vehicle is accepted into the auction. Once the vehicle is confirmed for sale, a standard consignment listing fee of $128 is due with no seller commission fee. There are several convenient upgrades available for an additional cost, which include a professional onsite photoshoot of the listing and an option for enhanced marketing.

Registering to bid is free and can be completed at AutoHunter.com. The bidder fee on an auction listing is 6.5 percent of the hammer price, with a fee-cap at $6,500. This fee is collected from the winning bidder’s account immediately after the winning bid is announced.

Visit autohunter.com for all the info.



3 interviews captured at Greaserama from owners of 3 sweet rides, along with the sounds of their 55 Chevy Gasser, 1959 Edsel, and a surprising custom classic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *