FEBRUARY 25, 2011: WHAT DO YOU SAY TO AN ORPHAN CAR THAT NEEDS A HEART TRANSPLANT?

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Lately the idea of a car that is powered by something other than an engine from its family tree has become a hanging offense in car circles.

 

  But what about the orphan brands that used to roll down yesterday’s roads?

 

The solution is made difficult by the fact that many of these brands fall within the “they don’t make them like they used to” category. In fact, they don’t even make them.

 

So what’s a car guy to do if he wants to be true to his school?

 

The best solution is a heart transplant from an orphan donor car. The drawback is that the donor may have serious heart failure and require an expensive round of surgery.

 

But at least a car guy would have something to fit into the big empty cavity under the hood that would carry on the family tradition.

 

A few very solid brick walls or insanely expensive choices might put the idea of an original family mill under the hood into the somewhere-over-the-rainbow category. The next best bet is an examination of the family tree to find a blood (or marriage) link.

 

Orphan brand names like DeSoto, Plymouth, Pontiac, Mercury and Oldsmobile are pretty easy because they were limbs that were simply cut off the main family tree.

 

 

It gets a little more complicated with names like Hudson, Rambler and Nash, but a quick study of history will point in one direction: Chrysler. The boys from Mopar have a direct link to these refugees from American Motors.

 

 

They were absorbed by Chrysler ostensibly to get the Jeep brand under the Pentastar umbrella. So a car guy that puts a high performance Hemi under the hood of his Ambassador would actually have a politically correct sleeper/monster ride.

 

The Packard and Studebaker brands present a different dilemma for car guys. The two names were merged into the singular Studebaker name which quietly passed away after the 1966 model from its Canadian plant.

 

 

But Studebaker used Chevy power under the hood during its final production years, so the General’s popular 350 engine would not be a crime against nature for car guys. It’s a bit more of a reach but you can’t argue with history, so a Lark with a built GM mill would be an acceptable combination. Especially if the famous Paxton supercharged Studie mill was unavailable to mere mortals.

 

 

The idea of a segregationist policy in car engine choices has gained a little steam over the past few years. The value of a vehicle can increase simply because they didn’t stray away from the family compound.

 

The aforementioned rides are still under a family tree-mostly by marriage.

 

Jim Sutherland

 

BOB:”These stepchildren never got any respect back in their day,but now they look a little more interesting. The fact they’re still around and in good shape makes them important”.

GENE:” George Barris——-”

 

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