© 1999-2020 Kenneth J Anderson Made with Xara
Half Fast ken anderson’s motorhead pages

This is a place for

some personal

history, thoughts, pix,

links to some

interesting stuff. Feel

free to poke around

and enjoy some of

my best memories of

fun with two wheels

and four.

As a little kid, I was fascinated with cars. My relatives had a Chevy dealership, and it was by far my favorite place to hang out, kick tires, read sales brochures, and absorb everything I could learn about cars. Started driving (illegally) about age 10, legally on my 16th birthday (1959), got my first car (1965) just as I was about to graduate from college, and my first motorcycle a year later. Have had some great cars and bikes, wish I could have ‘em all back. Still love to be on the road, two wheels or four, and stick shifts always!
1920 Anderson Six Convertible Roadster more info
Old Boys, Old Toys - Vintage Racing Ten days after my high school graduation in 1961, my parents let me take their car and a couple buddies for a weekend at Road America, the beautiful four- mile road racing track at Elkhart Lake WI. I’d been reading and dreaming about this track even before it opened in 1955, and had driven past it with my dad several times when it was under construction. My interest has always been in sports cars and road racing, and that first trip became an annual event for me for many years, sometimes even several times per season, while living in Upper Michigan and later in Minnesota. I’ve lived in Sheboygan WI, about 17 miles from the track, since 2007, and continue to attend multiple events each year, especially vintage races for cars and motorcycles. I’ve seen IndyCars, Formula One cars, LeMans prototypes, the legendary Can-Am series in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and much more. Could never afford to go racing, but sure appreciate the folks who can afford to own these beautiful historic beasts, race ‘em for fun, and fix ‘em if they break. The photos in the slide show above were all taken in and around Road America and Elkhart Lake. I’ll periodically add or swap a few for variety.

Logos of

Cars & Bikes

I’ve Owned

motorcycles
you can simply swipe up and down rather than using navigation menu
Welcome, Motorheads!
ken anderson’s motorhead site
© 1999-2020 Kenneth J Anderson Made with Xara
Half Fast

This is a place for some personal history, thoughts, pix, links to

some interesting stuff. Feel free to poke around and enjoy some of

my best memories of fun with two wheels and four.

As a little kid, I was fascinated with cars. My relatives had a Chevy dealership, and it was by far my favorite place to hang out, kick tires, read sales brochures, and absorb everything I could learn about cars. Started driving (illegally) about age 10, legally on my 16th birthday (1959), got my first car (1965) just as I was about to graduate from college, and my first motorcycle a year later. Have had some great cars and bikes, wish I could have ‘em all back. Still love to be on the road, two wheels or four, and stick shifts always!
1920 Anderson Six Convertible Roadster more info
motorcycles
Old Boys, Old Toys - Vintage Racing Ten days after my high school graduation in 1961, my parents let me take their car and a couple buddies for a weekend at Road America, the beautiful four-mile road racing track at Elkhart Lake WI. I’d been reading and dreaming about this track even before it opened in 1955, and had driven past it with my dad several times when it was under construction. My interest has always been in sports cars and road racing, and that first trip became an annual event for me for many years, sometimes even several times per season, while living in Upper Michigan and later in Minnesota. I’ve lived in Sheboygan WI, about 17 miles from the track, since 2007, and continue to attend multiple events each year, especially vintage races for cars and motorcycles. I’ve seen IndyCars, Formula One cars, LeMans prototypes, the legendary Can-Am series in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and much more. Could never afford to go racing, but sure appreciate the folks who can afford to own these beautiful historic beasts, race ‘em for fun, and fix ‘em if they break. The photos in the slide show above were all taken in and around Road America and Elkhart Lake. I’ll periodically add or swap a few for variety. Logos of Cars & Bikes I’ve Owned
you can simply swipe up and down rather than using navigation menu
Welcome, Motorheads!
© 1999-2020 Kenneth J Anderson Made with Xara
Half Fast ken anderson’s motorhead pages

Gallery - Cars

Ken’s Fleet History - Cars

Our family car, when I started driving legally, in June of 1959, was a silver & white ‘56 Chev Bel Air coupe. Six cyl, Powerglide, and an AM radio. Beautiful car! My first car, purchased just before college graduation in 1965, was a 1963 Corvette Stingray split-window coupe, 327-300, 4 speed, AM radio, saddle tan in & out. It was a wonderful car; should have kept it. Two and a half years later, I just HAD to have a new 1968 Corvette roadster. Was silver, white soft top, silver hardtop, black interior, 327-300, 4 speed, AM-FM … going high-tech! It was a major disappointment, being an early-production first-year model, best described as a loosely-assembled kit car. After 51 weeks of fading happiness, I got rid of it, and never wished I’d kept it.

use slider at right to show more photos

Page may load slowly as it has to load a lot of thumbnails for the photo gallery below. Click any photo to enlarge - use control arrows to move to next or previous photo
Next up was a ‘63 Porsche 356C, Super 90. It was a lovely little beast, but had a very typical heater for an air-cooled car at the time, which is to say that it was almost non-functional. I had purchased it in November, and living in Minnesota, it provided me with a lot of cold rides to and from work. Fun, quick, handled like it was on rails, but had to dress in what now would be snowmobile attire. That spring, I decided to move back to Upper Michigan, with the closest dealers and shops that could service it about two hours’ drive away. Nixed that idea, sold it. In the spring of 1969 I picked up a ‘65 Impala Super Sport convert, 327 V8, Powerglide. First automatic I’d ever owned. Would have preferred a 4-speed, but it was a great deal, It was my primary car for a couple years, and I kept it for several more years as a second car. In the fall of 1970 I acquired a Camaro RS, also as a great deal (it was a demo), 350 V8 with an automatic. Nice car, but quickly got bored with the slushbox and the typical GM paint job of that era … it was peeling off before the car was 3 years old. A friend had owned a car I wanted, and had traded it in. Another friend worked for the dealership where it was now sitting, and I convinced him to make an even trade because I reasoned he’d have an easier time selling the Camaro. That was in the fall of 1974. I had now become the proud owner of a car that was once said by Car & Driver to have “all the grace of a Ferrari at one-tenth the price.“ It was a 1971 Fiat 124 Spider, a gorgeous little red Italian roadster with a superb 1600cc DOHC engine and 5 speed transmission, first I ever had with 4- wheel disc brakes. C&D was right! Contrary to reputation, it was well- built and reliable. However, its Achilles’ heel was rust, and by the time it was 5 years old, that was starting to show itself here and there. It became a fair weather car when another surprise came along. That was a 1975 VW Rabbit, 4 cyl, 4 speed, 4 door, and … cruise control! That car was a delightful!. Bought that from a friend who was a VW dealer. As a hatch with fold-down rear seats, it was incredibly spacious. The seats were superb, and the combination of cruise and manual transmission was a revelation. I’ve had several manuals with cruise since, including my Mustang and my current Jetta. Had a 1978 Audi 5000 for a couple years, once again an automatic, A/C, cruise. Nice car, but had several bad experiences with the dealer on what should have been routine service. Dumped it in the summer of 1981 for something much more my style. That was a 1981 VW Scirocco S, 5-speed. I’d seen this exact model and color at the Twin Cities auto show, and knew I had to find one just like it before the less-appealing ‘82 model arrived. West Side VW had a demonstrator, and I bought it late that summer, another great deal. Put 180K on it, sold it to a friend when I bought my Quantum in ‘87, and he sold it back to my son at about 200K miles; Kris put another 20K or so. Next VW was a 1984 Rabbit convertible, 5-speed, A/C. Another excellent car, and the top on this one was lined in a white vinyl.. Couldn’t see the bows and folding mechanism, so looked like any other car from inside. It stayed a bit warmer in winter than a single-layer top, and also a bit cooler in summer; have had black convertible tops before, and they heat up quickly in sunshine. So this bit of extra insulation helped; plus, this was the first air-conditioned convertible I owned, and that was terrific on days when it was too steamy to have the top down. Nice!
In the summer of 1987, I purchased an ‘87 VW Quantum Syncro wagon; it was a factory program car with 7K on the odometer, driven by corporate folks, so I was the first titled owner. Never thought I’d own a wagon, but one spirited drive in this thing on some seriously twisty roads had me saying “Gotta have this!” It had the Audi 5000’s 5-cylinder engine mated to its AWD driveline. Audi used this in the performance version of their 4000. VW (same company) used it in the performance version of the Quantum wagon, and it was astonishingly sure-footed in rain, mud, wet-grass, snow, any kind of conditions. I drove this one to about 225K before an assortment of little things added up to a decision to replace it in 2003. It had become primarily a winter beast after I acquired the Mustang, next paragraph, in 1998. The ‘88 Mustang 5.0 GT convertible, 5 speed, A/C, was purchased in 1998 from a friend who’d bought it it new. It had about 80K miles, was immaculate, fast, and loud. Perfect! This car took me many laps around Road America during the “touring” sessions at vintage events. Theoretically it’s parade laps at highway speeds; although they have pace cars and warn about any careless driving, you get a chance on some parts of the track to put the hammer down without worrying about cops, radar, side roads, etc. Incredible fun! I drove that to 195K, at which point I needed a car with a back seat capable of hauling our growing 9 year old triplet granddaughters around. That was summer 2013. Those sweethearts would be the only good reason to part with such a sweet ride! It went to another friend, a semi-retired corporate jet pilot, who flew me home in his 1947 Cessna (same age as him) after I delivered the car to him in Iola WI. Get a better look … CLICK HERE When the Quantum finally had to be replaced, in 2003, a loaded 1994 GMC Jimmy with about 80K found its way into my garage, and that lived along with the Mustang until 2013; I sold it just after the Jetta arrived. It had 4WD, auto trans, A/C, cruise, sunroof, roof rack, cargo cover, alloy wheels, and was a good travel vehicle and exceptional utility hauler … could carry my kayaks on top or just stuffed in the back for short hauls. I don’t recall the mileage, but it was upward of 150K when I sold it to a young guy, and I’d often see it around town for several more years. Purchased the 2001 Jetta GL from a neighbor in 2013; 5-speed, A/C, cruise, sunroof, leather, Monsoon sound system (well-named), and just 92K. Three full-sized rear seats with belts and shoulder harnesses to keep the aforementioned triplets secure, huge trunk, simply delightful to drive, just like every VW I’ve owned. Now has about 170K, the girls are 15, and they still fit comfortably whenever we manage to get all three of ‘em at once! That’s where we are now, in late winter 2020. What’ll be next? Don’t know; VW will always remain high on the list! Got the Corvettes, Porsche, Camaro, Fiat, Audi, etc. out of my system long ago, but still love to drive, and love a car that doesn’t try to do everything for me.

Tidbit - the 1927 LaSalle (no, I never had one)

The introduction of the LaSalle brand in 1927 by General Motors was revolutionary, in that the car had features that had previously been found only on cars built by custom coachbuilders. The brochure was considered to be a classic example of fine automotive promotional literature. I have an original, and have scanned it, along with a related article from Car & Driver … CLICK HERE to view. The theme song from “All in the Family” contained the line “Gee, our old LaSalle ran great!”

1920 Anderson Six Convertible Roadster more info
you can simply swipe up and down rather than using navigation menu
ken anderson’s motorhead site
© 1999-2020 Kenneth J Anderson Made with Xara
Half Fast

Gallery - Cars

Ken’s Fleet History - Cars

Page may load slowly as it has to load a lot of thumbnails for the photo gallery below. Click any photo to enlarge - use control arrows to move among photos. Our family car, when I started driving legally, in June of 1959, was a silver & white ‘56 Chev Bel Air coupe. Six cyl, Powerglide, and an AM radio. Beautiful car! My first car, purchased just before college graduation in 1965, was a 1963 Corvette Stingray split-window coupe, 327-300, 4 speed, AM radio, saddle tan in & out. It was a wonderful car; should have kept it. Two and a half years later, I just HAD to have a new 1968 Corvette roadster. Was silver, white soft top, silver hardtop, black interior, 327- 300, 4 speed, AM-FM … going high-tech! It was a major disappointment, being an early-production first-year model, best described as a loosely-assembled kit car. After 51 weeks of fading happiness, I got rid of it, and never wished I’d kept it. Next up was a ‘63 Porsche 356C, Super 90. It was a lovely little beast, but had a very typical heater for an air-cooled car at the time, which is to say that it was almost non-functional. I had purchased it in November, and living in Minnesota, it provided me with a lot of cold rides to and from work. Fun, quick, handled like it was on rails, but had to dress in what now would be snowmobile attire. That spring, I decided to move back to Upper Michigan, with the closest dealers and shops that could service it about two hours’ drive away. Nixed that idea, sold it. In the spring of 1969 I picked up a ‘65 Impala Super Sport convert, 327 V8, Powerglide. First automatic I’d ever owned. Would have preferred a 4-speed, but it was a great deal, It was my primary car for a couple years, and I kept it for several more years as a second car. In the fall of 1970 I acquired a Camaro RS, also as a great deal (it was a demo), 350 V8 with an automatic. Nice car, but quickly got bored with the slushbox and the typical GM paint job of that era … it was peeling off before the car was 3 years old. A friend had owned a car I wanted, and had traded it in. Another friend worked for the dealership where it was now sitting, and I convinced him to make an even trade because I reasoned he’d have an easier time selling the Camaro. That was in the fall of 1974. I had now become the proud owner of a car that was once said by Car & Driver to have “all the grace of a Ferrari at one-tenth the price.“ It was a 1971 Fiat 124 Spider, a gorgeous little red Italian roadster with a superb 1600cc DOHC engine and 5 speed transmission, first I ever had with 4-wheel disc brakes. C&D was right! Contrary to reputation, it was well-built and reliable. However, its Achilles’ heel was rust, and by the time it was 5 years old, that was starting to show itself here and there. It became a fair weather car when another surprise came along. That was a 1975 VW Rabbit, 4 cyl, 4 speed, 4 door, and … cruise control! That car was a delightful!. Bought that from a friend who was a VW dealer. As a hatch with fold-down rear seats, it was incredibly spacious. The seats were superb, and the combination of cruise and manual transmission was a revelation. I’ve had several manuals with cruise since, including my Mustang and my current Jetta. Had a 1978 Audi 5000 for a couple years, once again an automatic, A/C, cruise. Nice car, but had several bad experiences with the dealer on what should have been routine service. Dumped it in the summer of 1981 for something much more my style. That was a 1981 VW Scirocco S, 5-speed. I’d seen this exact model and color at the Twin Cities auto show, and knew I had to find one just like it before the less-appealing ‘82 model arrived. West Side VW had a demonstrator, and I bought it late that summer, another great deal. Put 180K on it, sold it to a friend when I bought my Quantum in ‘87, and he sold it back to my son at about 200K miles; Kris put another 20K or so. Next VW was a 1984 Rabbit convertible, 5-speed, A/C. Another excellent car, and the top on this one was lined in a white vinyl.. Couldn’t see the bows and folding mechanism, so looked like any other car from inside. It stayed a bit warmer in winter than a single- layer top, and also a bit cooler in summer; have had black convertible tops before, and they heat up quickly in sunshine. So this bit of extra insulation helped; plus, this was the first air-conditioned convertible I owned, and that was terrific on days when it was too steamy to have the top down. Nice! In the summer of 1987, I purchased an ‘87 VW Quantum Syncro wagon; it was a factory program car with 7K on the odometer, driven by corporate folks, so I was the first titled owner. Never thought I’d own a wagon, but one spirited drive in this thing on some seriously twisty roads had me saying “Gotta have this!” It had the Audi 5000’s 5- cylinder engine mated to its AWD driveline. Audi used this in the performance version of their 4000. VW (same company) used it in the performance version of the Quantum wagon, and it was astonishingly sure-footed in rain, mud, wet-grass, snow, any kind of conditions. I drove this one to about 225K before an assortment of little things added up to a decision to replace it in 2003. It had become primarily a winter beast after I acquired the Mustang, next paragraph, in 1998. The ‘88 Mustang 5.0 GT convertible, 5 speed, A/C, was purchased in 1998 from a friend who’d bought it it new. It had about 80K miles, was immaculate, fast, and loud. Perfect! This car took me many laps around Road America during the “touring” sessions at vintage events. Theoretically it’s parade laps at highway speeds, but … although they have pace cars and warn about any careless driving, you get a chance on some parts of the track to put the hammer down without worrying about cops, radar, side roads, etc. Incredible fun! I drove that to 195K, at which point I needed a car with a back seat capable of hauling our growing 9 year old triplet granddaughters around. That was summer 2013. Those sweethearts would be the only good reason to part with such a sweet ride! It went to another friend, a semi- retired corporate jet pilot, who flew me home in his 1947 Cessna (same age as him) after I delivered the car to him in Iola WI. Get a better look at this one … CLICK HERE When the Quantum finally had to be replaced, in 2003, a loaded 1994 GMC Jimmy with about 80K found its way into my garage, and that lived along with the Mustang until 2013; I sold it just after the Jetta arrived. It had 4WD, auto trans, A/C, cruise, sunroof, roof rack, cargo cover, alloy wheels, and was a good travel vehicle and exceptional utility hauler … could carry my kayaks on top or just stuffed in the back for short hauls. I don’t recall the mileage, but it was upward of 150K when I sold it to a young guy, and I’d often see it around town for several more years. Purchased the 2001 Jetta GL from a neighbor in 2013; 5-speed, A/C, cruise, sunroof, leather, Monsoon sound system (well-named), and just 92K. Three full-sized rear seats with belts and shoulder harnesses to keep the aforementioned triplets secure, huge trunk, simply delightful to drive, just like every VW I’ve owned. Now has about 170K, the girls are 15, and they still fit comfortably whenever we manage to get all three of ‘em at once! That’s where we are now, in late winter 2020. What’ll be next? Don’t know, but VW will always remain high on the list! Got the Corvettes, Porsche, Camaro, Fiat, Audi, etc. out of my system long ago, but still love to drive, and love a car that doesn’t try to do everything for me.

Tidbit - the 1927 LaSalle (no, I never had one)

The introduction of the LaSalle brand in 1927 by General Motors was revolutionary, in that the car had features that had previously been found only on cars built by custom coachbuilders. The brochure was considered to be a classic example of fine automotive promotional literature. I have an original, and have scanned it, along with a related article from Car & Driver … CLICK HERE to view. The theme song from “All in the Family” contained the line “Gee, our old LaSalle ran great!”

use slider at right to show more photos

you can simply swipe up and down rather than using navigation menu
1920 Anderson Six Convertible Roadster more info
© 1999-2020 Kenneth J Anderson Made with Xara
Half Fast ken anderson’s motorhead pages

Gallery - Motorcycles

Ken’s Fleet History - Bikes - All Hondas

As with cars, I don’t recall ever NOT being fascinated with motorcycles. There weren’t many around when I was a kid. An uncle of our neighbor kids had a big Harley or Indian, and I got a ride on that once. Being a scrawny little guy, I couldn’t see around him, so it wasn’t exactly a big adventure. Several friends had scooters when we were in high school, but I never got a chance to drive one. It wasn’t until I was a year out of college, had my ‘63 Corvette coupe, but needed more air in my hair. So in the spring of ‘66, I purchased a 1966 Honda CB77 SuperHawk. Power came from a 305cc engine that put out 36hp at an insane redline of around 12K rpm. It had a four-speed transmission, disk brakes on both ends, and it was my summer ride for two years. In the fall of ‘68 I sold it just before purchasing a ‘68 Corvette roadster. That was gonna be my new “air-in-the-hair” ride, so didn’t mind parting with the bike. A year later, I’d parted with the Corvette, moved back to the UP, had acquired a ‘65 Chev convertible, but once again had the yen to have a two-wheeled toy, which resulted in my purchase of a ‘69 Honda CB350, similar in layout to the SuperHawk, 5-speed, and that bike took me on my longest two wheeled adventure, a trip to the Great Smokies, as far south as Atlanta, and back north via Blue Ridge Parkway. Sensational! It was the summer of Woodstock, and the summer of “Easy Rider.” However, I happened to stop in a Honda dealer in Roanoke VA, and laid my eyes on the first CB750 I’d ever seen. The dealer was kind enough to let me take it for a ride. When I got back to the UP, I went directly to our local dealer and told him I’d take the first 750 that came into their shop. In mid-March 1971, I took delivery of a dark green CB750K1, with gold trim. It was a transverse 4-cyl, 750cc, 5 speed. I made modifications to the jets and settings in the 4 carbs, put in a less restrictive air filter, changed the gearing for a bit more acceleration, which sacrificed a bit of top speed, but I wasn’t going to push it on the top end anyway. Then I had it painted silver with black striping, and replaced the four heavy exhaust pipes with a 4-into-1 lightweight and less restrictive system. That bike took me on about 12K miles of adventures, mostly in the UP and Wisconsin, and made the move with me to Minnesota in 1978, by which time I had a young son. Figured I wouldn’t ride much for a few years, so sold in 1980 and put the money into finishing the downstairs of our townhouse, intending to get something new several years later. Over the next few years, I stopped in now & then to look at new models. What really fired me up was the introduction of the first Interceptor. After about a half-hour test ride in suburban traffic around, I had to face the fact that my 40 year old bod wasn’t going to be happy on a crotch rocket at low speeds and in traffic. Would have been a blast on the open roads in the UP, but I dropped that idea and kept looking.
In 1984, I tried out an ‘83 VT500FT Ascot at the Burnsville Sports Center. Very attractive bike, 500cc, six speed, was water cooled and had shaft drive. Drove it, and found the performance surprising, so went home to think about it. Called ‘em about a week later, and they told me it was sold … and it was the last one they’d had. Bummer. Couple years later, I saw an ad for a used one with only 4K miles. Called, and it was a college kid who kept it at his parents’ home, and needed money for school. Asked him where he bought it. Burnsville Sports Center … last one they’d had! Paid what he owed … $831, drove it home, and now have over 27K on it. For the joyriding I do, largely in and around Sheboygan County WI, with miles of lightly traveled roads in rolling country split between farms and fields, with miles of twisty-turny stuff in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, and some great rides along Lake Michigan from about Port Washington to Two Rivers, it’s perfect as a day-tripper. I’ve had it out on the track at Road America at least a half-dozen times at events where you can drive your street-legal machine on track (it’s controlled by pace cars, NOT racing, but fast & fun). In 2023, the bike will be 40 years old, and I’ll be 80. I’m hoping to still be getting multiple smiles per mile on the huge network of back roads, parks, lakeshore drives, river valleys, and wonderful small towns that dot the landscape around here. I have the perfect bike for me, and can walk through dealerships now without ANY desire to replace the marvelous Ascot with something else. CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE
Page may load slowly as it has to load thumbnails for the gallery below. These are NOT click-to-enlarge photos. We may add that later.
1983 Honda VT500FT Ascot
1920 Anderson Six Convertible Roadster more info
you can simply swipe up and down rather than using navigation menu
ken anderson’s motorhead site
© 1999-2020 Kenneth J Anderson Made with Xara
Half Fast

Gallery - Motorcycles

Ken’s Fleet History - Bikes - All Hondas

Page may load slowly as it has to load thumbnails for the gallery below.

These are NOT click-to-enlarge photos. We may add that later.

As with cars, I don’t recall ever NOT being fascinated with motorcycles. There weren’t many around when I was a kid. An uncle of our neighbor kids had a big Harley or Indian, and I got a ride on that once. Being a scrawny little guy, I couldn’t see around him, so it wasn’t exactly a big adventure. Several friends had scooters when we were in high school, but I never got a chance to drive one. It wasn’t until I was a year out of college, had my ‘63 Corvette coupe, but needed more air in my hair. So in the spring of ‘66, I purchased a 1966 Honda CB77 SuperHawk. Power came from a 305cc engine that put out 36hp at an insane redline of around 12K rpm. It had a four-speed transmission, drum brakes on both ends, and it was my summer ride for two years. In the fall of ‘68 I sold it just before purchasing a ‘68 Corvette roadster. That was gonna be my new “air-in-the-hair” ride, so didn’t mind parting with the bike. A year later, I’d parted with the Corvette, moved back to the UP, had acquired a ‘65 Chev convertible, but once again had the yen to have a two-wheeled toy, which resulted in my purchase of a ‘69 Honda CB350, similar in layout to the SuperHawk, 5-speed, and that bike took me on my longest two wheeled adventure, a trip to the Great Smokies, as far south as Atlanta, and back north via Blue Ridge Parkway. Sensational! It was the summer of Woodstock, and the summer of “Easy Rider.” However, I happened to stop in a Honda dealer in Roanoke VA, and laid my eyes on the first CB750 I’d ever seen. The dealer was kind enough to let me take it for a ride. When I got back to the UP, I went directly to our local dealer and told him I’d take the first 750 that came into their shop. In mid-March 1971, I took delivery of a dark green CB750K1, with gold trim. It was a transverse 4-cyl, 750cc, 5 speed. I made modifications to the jets and settings in the 4 carbs, put in a less restrictive air filter, changed the gearing for a bit more acceleration, which sacrificed a bit of top speed, but I wasn’t going to push it on the top end anyway. Then I had it painted silver with black striping, and replaced the four heavy exhaust pipes with a 4-into-1 lightweight and less restrictive system. That bike took me on about 12K miles of adventures, mostly in the UP and Wisconsin, and made the move with me to Minnesota in 1978, by which time I had a young son. Figured I wouldn’t ride much for a few years, so sold in 1980 and put the money into finishing the downstairs of our townhouse, intending to get something new several years later. Over the next few years, I stopped in now & then to look at new models. What really fired me up was the introduction of the first Interceptor. After about a half-hour test ride in suburban traffic around, I had to face the fact that my 40 year old bod wasn’t going to be happy on a crotch rocket at low speeds and in traffic. Would have been a blast on the open roads in the UP, but I dropped that idea and kept looking. In 1984, I tried out an ‘83 VT500FT Ascot at the Burnsville Sports Center. Very attractive bike, 500cc, six speed, was water cooled and had shaft drive. Drove it, and found the performance surprising, so went home to think about it. Called ‘em about a week later, and they told me it was sold … and it was the last one they’d had. Bummer. Couple years later, I saw an ad for a used one with only 4K miles. Called, and it was a college kid who kept it at his parents’ home, and needed money for school. Asked him where he bought it. Burnsville Sports Center … last one they’d had! Paid what he owed … $831, drove it home, and now have over 27K on it. For the joyriding I do, largely in and around Sheboygan County WI, with miles of lightly traveled roads in rolling country split between farms and fields, with miles of twisty-turny stuff in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, and some great rides along Lake Michigan from about Port Washington to Two Rivers, it’s perfect as a day-tripper. I’ve had it out on the track at Road America at least a half-dozen times at events where you can drive your street-legal machine on track (it’s controlled by pace cars, NOT racing, but fast & fun). In 2023, the bike will be 40 years old, and I’ll be 80. I’m hoping to still be getting multiple smiles per mile on the huge network of back roads, parks, lakeshore drives, river valleys, and wonderful small towns that dot the landscape around here. I have the perfect bike for me, and can walk through dealerships now without ANY desire to replace the marvelous Ascot with something else. CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE
1983 Honda VT500FT Ascot
you can simply swipe up and down rather than using navigation menu
1920 Anderson Six Convertible Roadster more info
© 1999-2020 Kenneth J Anderson Made with Xara
Half Fast ken anderson’s motorhead pages
Motorhead Musings

Fun/Utility Balance, Corvair, Mustang, GT40

Having always figured that a car or bike should deliver joy every time it's driven (or even looked at), I've always favored fun over utility. I think I've gotten my money's worth many times over in entertainment value, and have rarely been short on utility. And resale value favors performance and uniqueness over utility and ordinariness. The less practical, the higher the resale as time passes. Utility isn't the stuff of passion. Here's my recipe for fun. Take it for what it's worth. Buy cars you really love, but buy 'em a few years old so someone else has taken the depreciation hit. If you need utility, rent a truck for a day now and then with the money you saved by buying the right car at the right price. Maintain 'em lovingly (easy to do if you love 'em). Keep 'em forever. Storage, plates, and insurance are cheap on old cars, and if they're truly impractical (high performance engine & suspension, two doors, convertible, stick shift,etc.), they'll eventually stabilize in value or even start going up. However, NEVER buy any car as an "investment" just because you think it will increase in value. If you wanna gamble, buy stocks. Stocks don't rust, or have to be overhauled or restored, and they don't require garage space. Buy cars that make your heart thump, hang onto 'em, and maintain 'em. Maintenance on a newer or ordinary (depreciating) car is hard to swallow. Maintenance on a car that's holding its value, or even appreciating, is very easy to justify! This kind of expenditure isn't painful, providing it doesn't outrun the car's actual and "fun" value. Stay away from "trailer queens" that are too perfect to drive. Don't buy a car if you aren't gonna drive it. Now, consider it both transportation and entertainment, and you'll be getting a bargain on both of those things! End of sermon. This page is the diary of a motorhead who's been driving since 1959, and who still smiles whenever there's a reason to drive of his vehicles, even if it's only a trip to the store. What a way to go! Corvair & Mustang History Don't know how many people have owned both a Corvair and a Mustang, but there's a little shared history behind these two nameplates. It's fun to have owned both, especially at the same time. In the late 1950s, when General Motors ruled the automotive roost on a worldwide scale, they had immensely deep pockets and some innovative engineering groups. Ed Cole, who'd been the "father" of the Chevy small- block V8 in the mid-50s, was put in charge of a project to build a hi-tech small car, starting with a clean slate. In that era, they were the only auto company on earth with both the financial and technical means to do something of this scope. What evolved was a small but space-efficient car with a flat, six-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the Corvair. It shared nothing with other Chevrolet or GM models. It required an immense investment in tooling and production facilities because it was unique. Originally aimed at the lower end of the market, the Corvair took off in a new direction with the introduction of the Monza Coupe, which put a lot of Americans into a sporty two-door with bucket seats and "four on the floor." This, coupled with their introduction of the first production turbocharger in 1962, pushed the Corvair into a new role as a performance-oriented vehicle. It was a hot seller, and left the rest of the industry flat-footed. But not for long. Chevrolet undertook a major restyling of the vehicle for the 1965 model year, making it bigger, and to many eyes (including mine), more attractive. The truck and van models were dropped. The turbo was increased from 150 to 180 horsepower, and the car was intended to appeal to a bigger mainstream market as well as folks who were more inclined toward the kind of overall performance and handling then associated with European cars. Of course, in those days, the design cycle for a new model typically took two to three years. So work on this new model had begun probably sometime in 1962. As they might say in Rome, "a funny thing happened on the way to the forum." The Corvair had ignited a fire under the ... um ... butts of some other very significant competitors, including some other GM divisions. One major competitor, whose pockets weren't quite as deep as GM's, went to the parts bin and designed a new model from existing pieces. The undercarriage, suspension, engine, transmission, and all the running gear was comprised of parts they already had in the production stream. Their biggest investment was a new and attractive body. It was introduced on April 17, 1964, as the Mustang. It was a clutch home run for Ford Motor Company; their North American operations were tremendously talented at losing money under Henry Ford II. The European operations and the Mustang were among their profit centers for many years. By the time Chevrolet rolled out the redesigned 1965 Corvair in the fall of 1964, too many of its potential buyers were on waiting lists for Mustangs at Ford dealerships. The Mustang's six-month head start in showrooms was insurmountable. The Corvair's success had sown the seeds of its demise. Almost immediately, Chevrolet reassigned the Corvair design team to a new project, a Mustang-killer, which eventually was introduced as the first Camaro several years later. Like the Mustang, it was based on an existing bunch of hardware, wrapped in a new body. Take a close look at any late-model Corvair and early-model Camaro. The similarity in appearance, especially in the beltline and fender contours, is unmistakable. I believe the name of the chief designer on both cars was Henry Haga. But I digress ... When the second-generation Corvair arrived on the scene, it was already a lame duck in GM's scheme of things. The horsepower war was on, and muscle cars were beginning to emerge from every direction. Remember the '64 GTO? Due to their use of mainstream production running gear, cars like these, followed by the Mustang and Camaro, could be easily transformed into fire-breathers by bolting in bigger engines and other bits and pieces already in production.
The Corvair was limited in this respect by its unique engine built specifically for that car. To significantly upgrade its power would have meant not only developing a totally new powerplant, but probably making significant changes to the structure, suspension, brakes, and transmissions to cope with the additional power. With the Mustang and Camaro, as well as with the mid-sized muscle cars, these changes could be accomplished without new tooling. The unique Corvair couldn't be put on steroids without an immense investment. Even the low-volume Corvette shared high-production engines and transmissions with the rest of the Chevrolet line. Oh, yeah ... Nader. Hmmmm. Lots of folks think he "did in" the Corvair. Sorry to disappoint. His book didn't appear until after the decision had been made to do no further work on Corvair development and let it fade away. By the way, his book "Unsafe at Any Speed" was NOT about the Corvair. It was about the entire auto industry, relating to the fact that cars could incorporate more safety features. He was neither the first nor the only voice for that point of view during that era. However, Nader's first chapter featured the Corvair, and the typical reader has a one-chapter attention span. In that chapter he laid out his arguments against the Corvair, and the centerpiece of his logic was tied to the "swing-axle" rear suspension, which was a common design at the time the Corvair was introduced; in fact it was considered "state of the art." Such companies as Porsche and VW used swing axles in those years, and I believe Mercedes used that arrangement on its higher-end performance vehicles. The "tuck-under" effect Nader described is an illusion. A major refinement, "trailing-arm" suspension, was incorporated on the 1963 Corvette, and a virtually identical suspension was a feature of the 1965 Corvair. This kind of rear suspension became commonplace in the sixties, and is still in widespread use today throughout the industry, especially in serious performance vehicles. In 1973, after a lengthy investigation, the NHTSA issued a report that confirmed what auto-savvy people had known all along. There was no inherent design flaw in the Corvair's suspension. That study is entitled "Evaluation of the 1960-1963 Corvair Handling and Stability", U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, July 1972, Report Number DOT HS-820198. It covered the years mentioned in the title, those included in Nader's argument. The 1964 model was similar. As mentioned above, the 1965-69 models had fully-independent rear suspension, which doesn't have the "flaw" Nader imagined. Click links to see National Technical Information Service (NTIS) catalog numbers PB-211014 (panel) and PB-211015 (full report). Why did Nader get taken seriously? First, he was David against Goliath. Second, most people don't know beans about automotive engineering, vehicle dynamics, performance or safety. He was as knowledgeable about automobiles as the average engineer is about the law. For all the lawyer jokes people make, some of 'em still take this guy seriously. You've gotta question his research methods, his logic, and his integrity (after all these years, still hasn't 'fessed up that he made a mistake on the topic that launched his improbable career). But the key element is that the paranoid goofballs who comprised GM management then (and their history of management geniuses hasn't improved much in the last 35 years or so) decided to launch an investigation of Nader to "dig up dirt" to discredit him. When that became known, it looked like they had something to hide, and gave him an aura of being some kind of white knight. They should have clobbered him with facts ... the same ones turned up eventually by the NHTSA! So ... Ralph didn't "kill" the Corvair. In fact, there's a solid argument that the management of General Motors, knowing that Nader's central claims against the engineering of the Corvair were erroneous, kept the Corvair alive until 1969 to avoid the appearance of buckling under to a misinformed lawyer who didn't even drive a car. At least they got that right. Had it not been for Nader, 1967 would likely have been the last year of production for the Corvair. As it was, they wound up making more than ten million vehicles over ten years of production (1960-69), and created a new and huge market segment for a kind of performance and panache that exists to this day. The Corvair's design philosophy has lived on. The Porsche 911 with its fully independent rear suspension, powered by an air-cooled rear- mounted flat six, appeared in 1966. It has represented that design philosophy quite admirably for many years in the Corvair's absence. Among the production classes in SCCA road racing, no design has been more successful in competition over the years. That's the supreme test of handling and stability, and provides ample evidence of a good fundamental design. That's the Corvair story. Born in 1960, incorporated "sportiness" and real performance early in its life, created a dynamic new market segment in the U.S., and caused Ford to react by creating the Mustang, which in turn killed the Corvair and gave birth to its younger sibling, the Camaro. These cars had more typical American mechanicals for their day, and they still carry on that tradition ... V8, front-engine, rear-drive. There are lots of other kinds of performance cars today, many varieties of driveline layouts and suspension designs. But it can be argued that nothing since has been as totally revolutionary, as far removed from conventional automobiles in every respect, as the Corvair was in its day. Corvair & Ford GT40 One last note ... the Mustang & Corvair connection is interesting, but there's also a little-known connection between the Corvair and Ford's hugely successful assault on LeMans. Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt were overall winners in 1967 driving a Ford GT40 MK IV. "They showed their taillights" to the world, beating Ferrari, Porsche, etc. at the most prestigious road race in the world. If you have the patience to load a 300K file, CLICK HERE and take a really close look at those taillights. Yep ... they're from an early Corvair! And the part number on the lenses has been verified by observers.
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Motorhead Musings

Fun/Utility Balance, Corvair, Mustang, GT40

Having always figured that a car or bike should deliver joy every time it's driven (or even looked at), I've always favored fun over utility. I think I've gotten my money's worth many times over in entertainment value, and have rarely been short on utility. And resale value favors performance and uniqueness over utility and ordinariness. The less practical, the higher the resale as time passes. Utility isn't the stuff of passion. Here's my recipe for fun. Take it for what it's worth. Buy cars you really love, but buy 'em a few years old so someone else has taken the depreciation hit. If you need utility, rent a truck for a day now and then with the money you saved by buying the right car at the right price. Maintain 'em lovingly (easy to do if you love 'em). Keep 'em forever. Storage, plates, and insurance are cheap on old cars, and if they're truly impractical (high performance engine & suspension, two doors, convertible, stick shift,etc.), they'll eventually stabilize in value or even start going up. However, NEVER buy any car as an "investment" just because you think it will increase in value. If you wanna gamble, buy stocks. Stocks don't rust, or have to be overhauled or restored, and they don't require garage space. Buy cars that make your heart thump, hang onto 'em, and maintain 'em. Maintenance on a newer or ordinary (depreciating) car is hard to swallow. Maintenance on a car that's holding its value, or even appreciating, is very easy to justify! This kind of expenditure isn't painful, providing it doesn't outrun the car's actual and "fun" value. Stay away from "trailer queens" that are too perfect to drive. Don't buy a car if you aren't gonna drive it. Now, consider it both transportation and entertainment, and you'll be getting a bargain on both of those things! End of sermon. This page is the diary of a motorhead who's been driving since 1959, and who still smiles whenever there's a reason to drive of his vehicles, even if it's only a trip to the store. What a way to go! Corvair & Mustang History Don't know how many people have owned both a Corvair and a Mustang, but there's a little shared history behind these two nameplates. It's fun to have owned both, especially at the same time. In the late 1950s, when General Motors ruled the automotive roost on a worldwide scale, they had immensely deep pockets and some innovative engineering groups. Ed Cole, who'd been the "father" of the Chevy small-block V8 in the mid-50s, was put in charge of a project to build a hi-tech small car, starting with a clean slate. In that era, they were the only auto company on earth with both the financial and technical means to do something of this scope. What evolved was a small but space-efficient car with a flat, six-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the Corvair. It shared nothing with other Chevrolet or GM models. It required an immense investment in tooling and production facilities because it was unique. Originally aimed at the lower end of the market, the Corvair took off in a new direction with the introduction of the Monza Coupe, which put a lot of Americans into a sporty two-door with bucket seats and "four on the floor." This, coupled with their introduction of the first production turbocharger in 1962, pushed the Corvair into a new role as a performance-oriented vehicle. It was a hot seller, and left the rest of the industry flat-footed. But not for long. Chevrolet undertook a major restyling of the vehicle for the 1965 model year, making it bigger, and to many eyes (including mine), more attractive. The truck and van models were dropped. The turbo was increased from 150 to 180 horsepower, and the car was intended to appeal to a bigger mainstream market as well as folks who were more inclined toward the kind of overall performance and handling then associated with European cars. Of course, in those days, the design cycle for a new model typically took two to three years. So work on this new model had begun probably sometime in 1962. As they might say in Rome, "a funny thing happened on the way to the forum." The Corvair had ignited a fire under the ... um ... butts of some other very significant competitors, including some other GM divisions. One major competitor, whose pockets weren't quite as deep as GM's, went to the parts bin and designed a new model from existing pieces. The undercarriage, suspension, engine, transmission, and all the running gear was comprised of parts they already had in the production stream. Their biggest investment was a new and attractive body. It was introduced on April 17, 1964, as the Mustang. It was a clutch home run for Ford Motor Company; their North American operations were tremendously talented at losing money under Henry Ford II. The European operations and the Mustang were among their profit centers for many years. By the time Chevrolet rolled out the redesigned 1965 Corvair in the fall of 1964, too many of its potential buyers were on waiting lists for Mustangs at Ford dealerships. The Mustang's six-month head start in showrooms was insurmountable. The Corvair's success had sown the seeds of its demise. Almost immediately, Chevrolet reassigned the Corvair design team to a new project, a Mustang-killer, which eventually was introduced as the first Camaro several years later. Like the Mustang, it was based on an existing bunch of hardware, wrapped in a new body. Take a close look at any late-model Corvair and early-model Camaro. The similarity in appearance, especially in the beltline and fender contours, is unmistakable. I believe the name of the chief designer on both cars was Henry Haga. But I digress ... When the second-generation Corvair arrived on the scene, it was already a lame duck in GM's scheme of things. The horsepower war was on, and muscle cars were beginning to emerge from every direction. Remember the '64 GTO? Due to their use of mainstream production running gear, cars like these, followed by the Mustang and Camaro, could be easily transformed into fire-breathers by bolting in bigger engines and other bits and pieces already in production. The Corvair was limited in this respect by its unique engine built specifically for that car. To significantly upgrade its power would have meant not only developing a totally new powerplant, but probably making significant changes to the structure, suspension, brakes, and transmissions to cope with the additional power. With the Mustang and Camaro, as well as with the mid-sized muscle cars, these changes could be accomplished without new tooling. The unique Corvair couldn't be put on steroids without an immense investment. Even the low-volume Corvette shared high-production engines and transmissions with the rest of the Chevrolet line. Oh, yeah ... Nader. Hmmmm. Lots of folks think he "did in" the Corvair. Sorry to disappoint. His book didn't appear until after the decision had been made to do no further work on Corvair development and let it fade away. By the way, his book "Unsafe at Any Speed" was NOT about the Corvair. It was about the entire auto industry, relating to the fact that cars could incorporate more safety features. He was neither the first nor the only voice for that point of view during that era. However, Nader's first chapter featured the Corvair, and the typical reader has a one-chapter attention span. In that chapter he laid out his arguments against the Corvair, and the centerpiece of his logic was tied to the "swing-axle" rear suspension, which was a common design at the time the Corvair was introduced; in fact it was considered "state of the art." Such companies as Porsche and VW used swing axles in those years, and I believe Mercedes used that arrangement on its higher-end performance vehicles. The "tuck-under" effect Nader described is an illusion. A major refinement, "trailing-arm" suspension, was incorporated on the 1963 Corvette, and a virtually identical suspension was a feature of the 1965 Corvair. This kind of rear suspension became commonplace in the sixties, and is still in widespread use today throughout the industry, especially in serious performance vehicles. In 1973, after a lengthy investigation, the NHTSA issued a report that confirmed what auto-savvy people had known all along. There was no inherent design flaw in the Corvair's suspension. That study is entitled "Evaluation of the 1960-1963 Corvair Handling and Stability", U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, July 1972, Report Number DOT HS-820198. It covered the years mentioned in the title, those included in Nader's argument. The 1964 model was similar. As mentioned above, the 1965-69 models had fully-independent rear suspension, which doesn't have the "flaw" Nader imagined. Click links to see National Technical Information Service (NTIS) catalog numbers PB-211014 (panel) and PB-211015 (full report). Why did Nader get taken seriously? First, he was David against Goliath. Second, most people don't know beans about automotive engineering, vehicle dynamics, performance or safety. He was as knowledgeable about automobiles as the average engineer is about the law. For all the lawyer jokes people make, some of 'em still take this guy seriously. You've gotta question his research methods, his logic, and his integrity (after all these years, still hasn't 'fessed up that he made a mistake on the topic that launched his improbable career). But the key element is that the paranoid goofballs who comprised GM management then (and their history of management geniuses hasn't improved much in the last 35 years or so) decided to launch an investigation of Nader to "dig up dirt" to discredit him. When that became known, it looked like they had something to hide, and gave him an aura of being some kind of white knight. They should have clobbered him with facts ... the same ones turned up eventually by the NHTSA! So ... Ralph didn't "kill" the Corvair. In fact, there's a solid argument that the management of General Motors, knowing that Nader's central claims against the engineering of the Corvair were erroneous, kept the Corvair alive until 1969 to avoid the appearance of buckling under to a misinformed lawyer who didn't even drive a car. At least they got that right. Had it not been for Nader, 1967 would likely have been the last year of production for the Corvair. As it was, they wound up making more than ten million vehicles over ten years of production (1960-69), and created a new and huge market segment for a kind of performance and panache that exists to this day. The Corvair's design philosophy has lived on. The Porsche 911 with its fully independent rear suspension, powered by an air-cooled rear- mounted flat six, appeared in 1966. It has represented that design philosophy quite admirably for many years in the Corvair's absence. Among the production classes in SCCA road racing, no design has been more successful in competition over the years. That's the supreme test of handling and stability, and provides ample evidence of a good fundamental design. That's the Corvair story. Born in 1960, incorporated "sportiness" and real performance early in its life, created a dynamic new market segment in the U.S., and caused Ford to react by creating the Mustang, which in turn killed the Corvair and gave birth to its younger sibling, the Camaro. These cars had more typical American mechanicals for their day, and they still carry on that tradition ... V8, front-engine, rear- drive. There are lots of other kinds of performance cars today, many varieties of driveline layouts and suspension designs. But it can be argued that nothing since has been as totally revolutionary, as far removed from conventional automobiles in every respect, as the Corvair was in its day. Corvair & Ford GT40 One last note ... the Mustang & Corvair connection is interesting, but there's also a little-known connection between the Corvair and Ford's hugely successful assault on LeMans. Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt were overall winners in 1967 driving a Ford GT40 MK IV. "They showed their taillights" to the world, beating Ferrari, Porsche, etc. at the most prestigious road race in the world. If you have the patience to load a 300K file, CLICK HERE and take a really close look at those taillights. Yep ... they're from an early Corvair! And the part number on the lenses has been verified by observers.
you can simply swipe up and down rather than using navigation menu
1920 Anderson Six Convertible Roadster more info