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The ssSyvlia Project: Episode II

Curious as to what Mark Crowe and the gang at Streetscene Automotive have been up to since our previous episode?

Mark has been hard at work on this unique car, working to keep as many original elements of the Jaguar Mark IX as possible while still making it hands down the coolest handicap-accessible car known to mankind.

Thank you again to Cameron Costa for the excellent video production and marketing work he’s done for our team.

Follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our website by clicking the “follow” button to receive updates about ssSylvia along with other cars in our collection!

What would you like to see done to ssSylvia? Let us know in the comments!

Z-Car Takes Home “Most Unusual Car” Award

15000797_1227296880677174_4273602315962454884_oA lot of people have asked me what kind of car Scraper is. They’ve never seen one like it, so I thought it was time to put together a story on the Zephyr, which is based on a tribute to the 1939 Lincoln Zephyr V12.

Former HOT ROD editor Terry Cook has had a passion for classic cars since before his feet could reach the peddles. In the early 1980s, Cook began a years-long quest to create a car inspired by the Lincoln Zephyr, produced from late 1930s till the beginning of the second World War. The creation of his Z-Car took thousands of man hours, research and trial and error. He unveiled the final product after four years of collaboration with Ramsay Mosher. He came up with a car that was so unique looking that he showed it all over the world, including the SEMA show in Las Vegas and other car shows all over the United States. He was eventually invited to Pebble Beach, California, where the car was sold for $275,000 in RM Auction to the Robert E. Peterson Museum in Los Angeles, California, where it resided from 1990 to 2013.

To give you an idea of the uniqueness of the Z-Car, Hotwheels made a design of the car which immediately sold out. However, Cook was a smart man and had molds created of the car before he sold it. He then went on to found Deco Rides with the goal of creating these flowing, flamboyant cars like the Z-Car and the Boattail.

15068483_1227282310678631_8580132354545965267_oIn 2005, Deco Rides struck an agreement with Speedster Motorcars, based out of Florida. In the agreement, Deco Rides agreed to stop production of the Z-Car from their factory and instead allow Speedster Motorcars, based out of Clearwater, Florida, to produce turnkey Z-Cars.

That’s where our friend, Scraper, a Z-car inspired by the 1939 Lincoln Zephyr, was born. There were only 50 of his particular model made, so he’s a rare find indeed. He was created in the early 2000s and came to us as a part of the Thrasher collection.

We recently showed Scraper at the Cruizin-N-D-Cotton Car Show in Harpersville, Alabama alongside Nana Pudd. The Z-car took home the award for the most unusual/bad ass car. We hate to toot our own horn, but we have to agree- the Z-Car is startlingly unique and one of our favorites in the collection.15025241_1227288607344668_2450538561723962757_o

img_5741We had a fun day answering questions about our handsome hyper-fluid Zephyr. Since we purchased it, we’ve installed a back up camera to make driving the 48-inch tall, 16.5-feet long coupe a little easier.

Bluebird Chapter 2: The Restoration

As told by owner and collector Michael E. Stephens with Bobby Allen
Written by Kaitlin Candelaria

Bluebird is coming right along

The best place to start the story of the renovation of Bluebird is to back up to the work by Mark Crowe. The pictures below show the body of Bluebird removed so that we could totally renovate and restore the frame, engine, transmission and brakes with the idea in mind for the restored frame to ride under the body of Bluebird. In essence, we wanted her body to remain a survivor.


Mark painted the frame and the engine, did a few tweaks to the engine, rebuilt the brakes, added new tires and provided a dual stainless steel exhaust system. Miraculously, the engine only needed a few stuck valves released even after the car had been sitting for over a decade — the motor and rings were not seized up.

I was proud of driving a well running Bluebird, feeling comfortable with its reliability and what rested under her body. But as stated earlier, she did not reflect her potential beauty. That’s when it was decided that we would call Bobby Allen of Bobby’s Corvette and Classic Restoration — one of the most reputable Corvette restorers in America. Bobby accepted the car for his personal shop to do the renovations of Bluebird with his hands.

Bobby started working on cars at only 11 years old. He had a work ethic even at that young age and needed a pick up truck.

“I had bicycles — everybody had a bicycle — but you can’t haul hay and fertilizer with a bicycle,” he said. “You can’t make money with a bicycle.”

His father purchased a truck from a family member and told Bobby he could drive it if — and only if — he was able to pay him $125. This was in the spring.

“I drove it back to school in the fall,” Bobby said, laughing. “It sounds silly but I picked up bottles on the side of the road. I chopped hay. I picked cotton. When I paid him the $125, it was in nickels, dimes and dollar bills. He counted it out on the dining room table.”

Allen had an interest in Corvettes and set out to build one from the ground up. He found the perfect candidate — a ’59 Corvette sitting in someone’s backyard. The transmission was in the closet and the engine was in the garage, but Bobby wasn’t daunted.

“I bought the car and brought it home and started it,” he said. “When I finished it, from the first time it was shown, it was the highest scoring car in the US and Canada. It won every award it could win.”

That car still holds the record today with the National Corvette Restorers Association. After that, Bobby became somewhat famous for his Corvette expertise.

“If my customers will let me, I’ll do their cars exactly like I did my own,” he said. “More time, more research and as the years go by, more experience. I specialize in the 56-67 Corvettes — that’s my speciality and I don’t do anything else, which means I learn a lot more about them. Repetition is a good teacher.”

Since then, every car Allen has built has been awarded the Top Flight award or the DUNTOV Award of Excellence by the NCRS or been awarded at the Bloomington Gold Convention — both of which are considered top echelon for Corvettes.

img_6660We breathed a sigh of relief when Allen accepted Bluebird into his shop’s capable hands. He is now storing Bluebird at his home shop in order to focus on the car without distractions.

“I have more time to do more research and concentrate more on it there,” he said. “And, I’ve got a thing for ’59 Corvettes.”

Bobby says the car is in good condition, despite the fact that we’ve battled rust issues.

“I think when we get through, we can take it to the NCRS,” he said. “The metal structure is really good. Even the pieces that need to be restored are in great shape to be restored. It’s a great little car.”

Now, Bobby has started the restoration process. He began by disassembling the body.

“Once we get that done, we’re going to rework the body and make everything straight and everything fit,” he said. “Once we paint it, we’ll lift it from the frame and detail the frame. We’re going to rebuild and detail the engine. At that point, we’ll clean the bottom of the car and reset it and we’ll put all the trim, interior and gauges back in it and it’ll be back on the road again.”

Bluebird is rare for a couple of different reasons. She’s fuel injected, which is a rarity for this year and model. Not only that, but Bluebird also contains an automatic transmission, making it even more remarkable. The blue color also makes her uncommon.

Bobby and his team are already flying through Bluebird’s objectives. The before mentioned bowed front fenders have already been corrected, all chrome and interior has been removed and the paint has been stripped and body sanded.

It’s great that we made the decision to restore her when we did. Although we still don’t fully understand how a car with a fiberglass body could experience rust, you will see in the pictures below of Bluebird stripped that places hidden by chrome and leather were mildly rusted. Luckily, it was caught in time and did not progress to the destruction of the other parts of the car. Also, the body is totally stripped, which means that we will be building back from the base all aspects of the car and make the car a ground up restoration.

Stay tuned for what’s next in Bluebird’s journey.

Not Your Average “Joe”

It is evident from my comments about cars and the cars in my collection that I’m interested in a wide array of vehicles. I’ve enjoyed finding them, collecting them, working on them and I love the discovery of their unique mechanics.

For quite some time, I have had an echoing in my mind of a need to hear a Ford Flathead v8 engine purring along. Upon a visit to Leaded Gas Classic Cars, managed by my friend Eric Joiner, he cranked up a car they had on the floor – a 1939 Ford V8 – and just the sound of the engine confirmed that indeed I had to get my hands on one of these cars.

In studying Ford models starting in 1932, there are many different body styles — everything from a coupe to a sedan. Fords were known as the ideal car to convert into hotrods. We’ve seen a number of the ’32 duece coups, ’34 coups, and the ’40 Ford. However, I settled upon a ’38 Ford, which are somewhat rare. There was a recession that year in the United States, so there are not that many ’38 Fords in existence.

I found Joe in Texas. Joe is a ’38 Ford custom coupe with a V8 Flathead engine. It was maintained as a cruise-in car by a dedicated owner who provided it with an excellent paint job and a few other adjustments.

We were glad to find that it had no rust. Upon receiving the car in Birmingham, we decided that we should build an engine – a Ford V8 Flathead. We spent a few of those good male bonding afternoons souping the engine up. Now, we have the flathead motor in Joe with 2 Offenhauser heads, a mild cam, and two barrel carburetors as well as an electronic ignition pulling power from the 1951 engine we used to build the horsepower from 85 all the way up to 160. It sounds beautiful.

We’re waiting on the receipt of supplies to update the interior of Joe. In the future, we also plan on changing the mechanical brakes, putting in a new exhaust system and touching up the paint on the body. More to come as we progress on this refreshing of Joe.

Because of my excitement over Joe, I found his sister, Jolene, which is the most original ’38 Ford sedan I’ve ever encountered. At this time we’re mainly tightening up the screws and putting in some new floor mats and detailing her. Soon, she will step out with all the beauty of her raven black color.

The ssSylvia Project: Episode One

Our talented summer intern, Cameron Costa, is chronicling the journey of ssSylvia as she transforms from a lonely Jaguar Mark IX left abandoned in a barn to the belle of the ball.

Cameron is a marketing major at Mississippi College, where he is a senior.

ssSylvia is currently being restored by Mark Crowe, owner of Streetscene Automotive Restoration Company. Follow us on Facebook and check back on our blog frequently for ssSylvia updates.

Click here to watch Episode II.

ssSylvia

sssylvia

I’ve always been very interested in Jags. They have been unique to me and are indeed unique in that each seems to have their own personality. That’s why I’ve chosen to name them based on what their personalities reflect to me.

The first time I saw a Mark IX in halfway decent shape was an ad on a 1959 Jaguar Mark IX from California. While it was not in great shape, it did look very stylish and I bought it and brought it to Alabama.

Looking at it, I was at a quandary of what I should do to refurbish it because I knew what a major undertaking that would be. I had talked for a long period of time to Mark Crowe about renovating a car. After much discussion, I had zeroed in on the color that I wanted ssSyvlia to be which is presently two colors of blue as well as what engine I wanted to go into it, what types of brakes, what type of interior, audio system, etc. At that point I met with Mark and his wife Tami to put the finishing touches on a plan to renovate ssSylvia.

As fate would have it, I found a 1956 Mark VII at an auction in Florida with exactly what I wanted ssSyvlia to be. Although I had yet to secure it at this point, Mark and Tami told me that I’d be foolish not to just buy this car instead of investing the expenses in ssSylvia. Instead, I sent my friend Eric Joiner, the best gentlemen I know for securing classic cars, on a pursuit to southern Florida to purchase the car now known as Smokey. It is my favorite car in my collection.

But what to do with Sylvia?

I still was excited to do something with her to dress her up as she should be though many years she spent in a barn, so alone. I knew that bringing her out should be done in a festive way. I told Mark to go ahead and start the work to see the direction she was to take.

Now, we have progressed to the point on ssSylvia that all the chrome on the interior – everything but the actual body – has been removed from the car and the seven remaining pieces have been sent to Louisiana to strip and coat before putting back together.

ssSylvia now is back in Mark’s shop and he’s very excited on the direction we’re taking her. The mission is to make her more of a sporty sedan – for things like autocross racing and other types of events. The power she will have and the suspension she will have will make her superior to those who compete with her.

To date, Mark has put an LS9 Engine in her and a very accommodating 4L80 electronic transmission from Performance Automatic. We started with this brand new frame, which would be the foundation of the car. Interestingly enough, Jaguars have never had a strong frame.

After the frame, we added the engine, a transmission and a body. Things such as the trunk floor have been added. But unique to this car is an apparatus Mark has devised for the driver’s side. When the driver door opens, an arm will extend out to pick up my wheelchair with me in it and place me under the steering wheel. I’ll close the door and be able to drive off with my wheelchair secure. This is very unheard for a car, and a lot of the people who provide such apparatuses said it couldn’t be done.

But of course, as you’ll find elsewhere on this site, Mark is a very unique individual, so we’re proud to say it’s functioning very well at this point. You can follow our blog and Facebook page for more information on the development of ssSylvia as she grows and matures into a fine sporty sedan. You can check out Episode 1 of ssSylvia’s progress here.

An undertaking such as this is not an easy task from a decision making standpoint. We’re still discussing the color Sylvia should be and I encourage anyone to give us input on anything from how they have built cars with the LS9 engine to the color of the car. I encourage you to write in the comments and I look forward to giving you additional information.

Bluebird Chapter 1: How Dreams Turn Into Nightmares

As told by owner and collector Michael E. Stephens
Written by Kaitlin Candelaria

Unique to 1959 was the color arctic blue for Corvettes, which has always been a favorite of mine. I found Bluebird on a website of a well-known national venue that sells cars in the rough. Seeing that Bluebird was in fairly good shape, fuel injected and had been sitting in a barn for ten years, I thought to myself “How could you go wrong for this price?”

The nightmare with this car is reflective of the real life nightmares we sometimes experience when we go off chasing little bluebirds.

So, I called the organization and offered ten percent less and they took it. And when Bluebird arrived, she really didn’t look that bad. But we soon found that the engine was hard to crank and when finally we got it to crank, smoke billowed out of the exhaust.

But that didn’t discourage me – it had such a unique turquoise blue interior. I rapidly went to my computer and ordered all the things I thought she needed. I ordered a new bumperette on the rear, carpet for the cockpit and a chrome tag for the front.

Larry is a true mechanic of yesteryear. He went to work on the engine, and Chris, our young upstart, started on the interior. There were things that we decided not to worry about such as the carpet — the manufacturer specifications was a bit bright for my taste, but we let it ride. The paint job was fairly nice.

Our dear friend Mark visited the shop to see the Vette and remarked that it would be a nice car to sell or to keep. He referred to the Vette as what’s called a survivor. A survivor is one of those cars that has been driven and mired over the years without any refreshments or renovations. They have withstood time. They stand as a solid symbol of the past.

At this point, I was still very optimistic about the Vette. We started finishing up the car and getting ready to put it on the market. Then, Larry told me the car was experiencing a few rust issues. Rust? On a fiberglass car?

I assure you it was there. So, we started trying to solve the many problems, the first being the engine – the valves were stuck. Then, parts of the frame and other metal features on the car suffered from rust.

Surmising that it was a problem larger than us, we decided it was time to take Bluebird to Mark’s shop for the application of his knowledge and skills. Bluebird’s body was removed from the frame and the frame, motor, transmission, brakes and exhaust system were totally renovated and painted, leaving Bluebird in pristine shape.

The body was placed back on it. We still had the thought of this car as being a survivor, but in today’s time, we seem to be a society that doesn’t like the girl in the secondhand dress, in tattered clothing, in a coat of many colors. We like the new and fashionable. So when we continued to have problems with Bluebird even after Mark’s master makeover, I started to lose hope.

Fate had it that upon our last photo shoot, I was approached by Bobby Allen. Allen is indeed one of the finest restorers of Corvettes in the nation. Bobby has restored a 1959 Corvette that to this day holds the highest ranking and judgement among Corvettes in the United States. That car remains as an example in a museum of what of a Corvette should look like. So needless to say, he was just the guy to take on Bluebird.

After talking with Bobby about some issues we were having with the front fenders, I decided his shop was the place for her. She’s now gone to his personal shop to enjoy some renovations which will make her the belle of the ball. Bobby will be starting an eight month restoration of Bluebird and she will debut in summer 2017. We’ll be bringing you interviews with Bobby and pictures of Bluebird as she develops under his skillful hands.