Trolley Tragedy

Once upon a time, Dayton, Ohio, loved electric trolley buses. And things were well for nearly 100 years.

Fast forward to 2011: most trolley lines are off-line to make way for construction, and there’s a surprising number of ETI Skodas parked in the scrap lot.

Worrisome? You bet.

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That’s Mow Like It

I’m not one who goes out of my way to buy products based upon their point of manufacture, but if I do find an honest, solid, over-built, reliable piece of equipment — any equipment — that happens to be made in les Etats Unis? Well, I can’t help but feel a giddy sense of patriotism sweep my body.

That’s why this Ariens 911 push mower tickles me so. Built like an M1A1, easy to maintain, and a helluva runner. That, and it only needed an $18 drive belt to be “fixed.”

U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

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If Only…

Vauxhall Astra GTE QuicksilverThis is the Vauxhall Astra GTE — essentially the same car sold here as the Pontiac LeMans, albeit with more power, more flair, and arguably better build quality.

Would it have worked here? Probably not, but it would have been neat to have at least one more Euro-themed hot hatch on the U.S. market in the early 1990s…

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The GT5 List (Thus Far)

It’s an ever-fluxing roster, but here’s what I’ve managed to capture in Gran Turismo 5 thus far. Continue reading

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A Michigan Cement Quartet

Dundee Cement HO Scale CarsIf you happen to dig Michigan’s industrial history, you’ll likely want to pick up some of these limited-edition HO-scale 2-bay covered hoppers. The limited-edition set, produced by Bowser, is marked up to replicate cars leased by the Dundee Cement (Holcim) company in the early 1970s.

Four different road numbers (CRDX 4150, 4166, 4173, and 4185) are available, and I’m told only 50 of each were produced. Trucks use the typical Bowser plastic wheel/metal axle assemblies, but magnetic knuckle couplers are also included with each kit.

If you’re into obscure cars or simply want to add some Michigan-themed rolling stock to your layout (these are, after all, ideal for those modeling the post-Wabash Ann Arbor), you’ll want to move fast. These cars are only available from Andrew at Skip’s Locomotive Works, by emailing vdmolen (at)

Expect pricing to be in the neighborhood of $15 per car plus shipping — a fair price for a well-executed, easy-to-build, and fairly detailed hopper.

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Geeps In GM’s Wind Tunnel

Not everything that goes through GM’s aerodynamic wind tunnel turns out slippery and streamlined.

Case in point: engineers here put late-model Electro-Motive GP units (perhaps GP-38s, -39s, or -40s) through their aerodynamic paces.

Photo source: GM Archives

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Inside Joke

Found this in my archives, from the days where I would wander through Chrysler’s visitor parking lots during after class let out in high school. Still chuckle-worthy, I suppose.

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