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Four-Links – Surrey origins, history of color, Checker survivors, leafs inside an engine

Published in blog.hemmings.com

Jeep’s Surrey model didn’t form in a pink-lined vacuum. Rather, as CJ3B.info points out, Toledo took a cue from the 100 or so Jeeps that served the Las Brisas resort in Acapulco.

Compared to the new hanging hotel of Acapulco, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were just a backyard in Brooklyn. This pink eagle’s nest called Las Brisas, which has just opened here, has a desk at the 650-foot level. Its 71 cottages rise in tiers to the 830 level. That makes it, according to Juan March, its transplanted Majorcan major domo, the world’s only 13-storey hotel without an elevator.

Instead of a lift, guests journey up and down in a fleet of pink jeeps shaded by pink and white striped awnings. The wagons rent for a flat four dollars a day and never mind the mileage. Non-drivers will be fetched hither and yon in a motorized surrey with pink fringe on top.

* Speaking of brightly colored vehicles, The Consumerist consulted automotive paint expert Gundula Tutt for its deep dive on the history of bright paint colors as part of an inquiry into why automotive paint has gone so drab lately.

More innovations followed after World War I ended, when the world was at peace again and the automotive industry could turn its attention from tanks and wartime vehicles to civilian cars.

New methods using Chinese wood oil (or tung oil as it’s sometimes known) could be sprayed or painted on, and made for much faster drying times in 1918, at about one third the time compared to the oil-based paints, Tutt says. Drying tunnel ovens shortened time even more, and were worked into conveyor systems already in place on assembly lines.

And to add to the bonus of a speedy dry job, these “spar-varnishes” and “spar-enamels,” as they were known then, allowed for colors for the first time. Like Dorothy stepping out of the house into Oz, manufacturers started to produce brilliant colors.

The early 1920s saw brilliant shades — the colors of the time were exotic, Tutt explains, with two, three and even four colors ont he same car, as well as painted birds and butterflies on some Lincoln models.

* Pre-1958 Checkers are some of the rarest vehicles on earth due to their nearly 100 percent attrition rates. The Internet Checker Taxicab Archive recently ran down the handful that have somehow survived, including the Model A above.

This particular example never was place in cab service. It was originally produced for a wealthy update New York lawyer. Checker Cab Manufacturing engineer Jim Stout personally delivered the cab to its new owners, driving it from Kalamazoo to New York. Forty plus years later, A. J. Baudendistel discovered the Model A in a junkyard. Thankfully A. J. Baudendistel was able to save and restore this rare Model A.

Prior to his death, Mr. Baudendistel did have a chance to make note of some of the Model A features. Baudendistel wrote, “This model was produced when Checker started to use the Continental engine. The engine is a 262 cubic inch, the largest of the four 6’s of this model. It is a 6-cylinder industrial engine, typically used for fork lifts, air compressors for welders. Mack and Brockway used it in their 1 1/2 ton trucks. The transmission is made by Detroit Gear, 3 speed. The electrical is by Auto-Lite. The brakes are by Wagner Lockheed. The front end is a pre war Studebaker with cross springs. The rear is Mopar, so are the rear springs. All the rest of the car is a Ford truck: clutch, motor mounts, driveline and many small fittings. It came to no surprise when these cars have logged a million miles.”

The Checker Model A was only made for two full years; 1940 and 1941. 1942 was a shortened model run due to WWII. Over the years the rumor was spread that Morris Markin melted down all the body tools and dies for the Model A for the war effort.

* Before going on to read the explanation of this valve spring setup, see if you can determine the reason for it.

* We’ve been conditioned to see Pikes Peak cars as some of the most technologically advanced vehicles on the planet after the last few decades of runs up the mountain, so it’s a bit jarring to see the open-wheeled, solid-axled sprint cars of yore in this video that Jive-Bomber recently highlighted at The Jalopy Journal.