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Four-Links – Cummins Indy return, 3-D printing and old car values, Nu Minis, Wild Cherry plea deal

Published in blog.hemmings.com

To get the Cummins Indy cars ready for their exhibition laps around the Brickyard this weekend, the Cummins folks had to replace some unobtanium parts via 3-D printing.

Over the years, some parts on the No. 28 car didn’t age particularly well, according to Greg Haines, an Off-Highway Design & Development Leader at the company and a member of the Cummins History & Restoration Team. The team worked to get the Cummins cars running again for the anniversary.

The water pump, one of the custom parts made of magnesium to reduce weight, was especially concerning. Haines said it was pitted all the way through in one place and very thin in others. To make matters more challenging, no plans for the pump could be found to make a replacement.

There wasn’t time to make a new part using traditional sand casting methods, so the Cummins team turned to 3D printing. The company had been studying the technology for use in manufacturing for several years, Rupp said, but it had not yet purchased any printers capable of creating metal objects one ultra-thin layer at a time.

* According to the New York Times, 3-D printing old and unavailable parts is becoming more common these days, but it may impact the values of older cars in previously unforseen ways.

While technology like 3-D printing makes car collecting less expensive and more accessible, it has also made it easier for counterfeiters to pass off “replicars” as more valuable originals, helped drive the price of unrestored “survivor cars” to astronomical heights and cleared the way for car manufacturers to remake parts that are questionably deemed “factory original.”

How much difference does an incorrect aftermarket part make? It varies greatly depending on the rarity of the car, but on average a car found to have an ersatz part instantly loses about 15 percent of its value, said Steve Linden, a collectible car consultant.

The lines begin to blur when it comes to printed parts. They can be made relatively cheaply and — except under very careful examination — are often indistinguishable from original parts.

* The folks at the Pomona swap meet this week highlighted the NuMinis club, dedicated to maintaining the ’80s and ’90s minitruck scene into the 21st century.

The Club got its start in 1985 when two friends, Joe Barcena and Danny Galvez, got into the hobby. But, as often happens, the Club took a hiatus as members grew up, started families, and a lot of the trucks got sold or put into storage. It wasn’t just the Nu Minis… the whole mini truck scene pretty much died off in the mid 90s. Fortunately, with the help of club members and friends like Eric Takushi, Marlon Pineda, and Patty Pineda, the Nu Minis have made a strong comeback!

* The man who took the Wild Cherry van, restored it, drove it cross country, then stripped it, has pled no contest and been ordered to pay restitution to the couple from whose property he initially took it, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.

Carter received no prison time beyond the 23 days he served in the Madison County Jail after his arrest last fall, and he gets to keep the 1975 Chevy G-10 van known as the “Wild Cherry,” which appeared briefly in the 1979 hot-rod movie, “Van Nuys Blvd.”

“I’m not happy about it,” said Laura Godin, 55, speaking of the plea agreement. “It’s never been about the money. I wanted the van back the way it was where it was.”

* Looks like the owner of this 1980 Volkswagen Golf Mk 1 started out with a relatively clean example before proceeding to treat it to an impressive restoration.