Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rotting In Style - 1963 Formula Vee Formcar Racecar

1963 formula vee formcar volkswagen abandoned racecar florida 

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you get something else thrown at you.  Sitting abandoned and rotting, I’ve seen muscle cars, classic cars, trucks, foreign cars, and more, but even after all that, now I see a racecar.  Sitting in the location known as “The Gabel Collection”, I have for you a 1963 Formula Vee Formcar Racecar.

I’ll start off my saying that despite its dirty and grungy appearance, the owner told me this car does run.  However, we couldn’t verify that because the ignition had been previously taken out.  It still looks like it’s in decent shape.  Unlike others in the collection, this car was mostly covered with tarp.

Most of the parts on this car came from the Volkswagen beetle including the 1200cc engine, four speed gear box, and modified suspension parts.  I was shocked to learn that this car makes only 40 horsepower.  That’s it!  However, it does weight only 1040 pounds.  With that engine and a driver, it’s still enough to get the car up to around 120 miles per hour.

The construction of this car is very simple like you would expect in a racecar.  It has a tubular metal frame, fiberglass body, and doesn’t have anything it doesn’t need. 

For the Formula Vee races, traction control and any type of limited slip differential was not allowed.  As for tires, the only rubber allowed were special tires made for the races by Dunlop.  No other tire could be used for the official races.

Before left to sit in its current state, the owner said he used to race this car.  It would have been cool to hear this thing fire up so I can image what it would have sounded like buzzing down the track, but seeing it will have to suffice.  Even though now, we see it rotting in style.


1963 formula vee formcar volkswagen abandoned racecar florida

1963 formula vee formcar volkswagen abandoned racecar florida

1963 formula vee formcar volkswagen abandoned racecar florida

1963 formula vee formcar volkswagen abandoned racecar florida

1963 formula vee formcar volkswagen abandoned racecar florida

1963 formula vee formcar volkswagen abandoned racecar florida

1963 formula vee formcar volkswagen abandoned racecar florida


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rotting In Style - 1960s MG Midget Graveyard!

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style














It’s more or less considered “common” to find a graveyard of old American cars rusting away in the United States.  It’s not too common, however, to come across a small graveyard of British cars in the US, especially not all the same ones.  Well, that is what I stumbled upon in the Central Florida car conglomerate known as The Gabel Collection.  Not one, not two, not even three, but four MG Midgets deep in hiding.

I know at first you may think that I am showing you pictures of piles of leaves, but there are four cars under the dead foliage.  The Midgets here are mid to late 1960s models, and while I am not entirely sure, I believe they are MkIIs.

This would mean that these cars all came with 1,098cc engines under the hood making a “blimey-fast” 59 horsepower.  That’s it.  That is obviously not much, even for this car which weights only about 1,620 pounds.  However, it was enough to make the cars run and drive at one point.  That is not the case for them now.

These cars do not run.  They have all had the unfortunate title of “parts cars” placed upon them.  As far as I can see though, there are not many usable parts left.  Most of the panels are rusted straight through, the chrome is corroded, and I doubt many mechanical parts are functioning. 

However, the interiors (depending on the car) are in okay shape (compared to the outsides), and are generally intact.  A serious collector would have no problem picking off many usable parts off these cars like the glass, interior trim, and other little odds and ends.

These cars have been rotting away in place for about ten years.  They are being picked away piece by piece by the owner.  As much as I would love to see these cars on the road again, I don’t even think one complete car could be made from all four.  I could wrong, and deep inside, I hope that I am.

For now, they will continue to sit until there is nothing left for a person, or Mother Nature to remove from them.  Cheers to the British automotive history, and hello decomposition.



1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

1960s mg midget mkii central florida gabel collection rotting in style

Monday, March 3, 2014

Rotting In Style - 1970s Dodge D400

1970 dodge d400 turck rotting in style central florida the gabel collection














It’s more or less common to see cars and maybe a pickup truck or van rotting in someone’s yard, but it’s not too frequent that you come along a full sized truck sinking into the ground amongst various other automobiles.  Odds aside, that is exactly what we have here sitting in the back of “The Gabel Collection” in central Florida.

What we have here is an early 1970s Dodge D400.  Let me first start off by saying that this is not like looking up a Mustang or even a Gremlin online: there is not much information.  Just by looking at the front end of this truck, I guessed it was early to mid 70s, but to be sure, I decided to do an image search on Google for a Dodge D400.  What I ended up finding was that a lot of these trucks (of this generation) are still quite common and used daily in South American countries, especially Brazil.

Sweptline has a great write up on these trucks.  As far as I could find, it is the most information in one place on the internet about these trucks.  The D400 is apparently the smallest of the D Series trucks that Dodge offered from the 1960s through the 1970s.  The D800 is the largest.

The D400 came standard with a 225 cubic inch two valve straight six engine.  There was also an optional 318 cubic inch V8.  I am not sure which one this particular truck has.

What I can say this truck has plenty of though, is grunge.  There are completely rusted out sections, the paint is covered in various green life forms, it’s buried under leaves and branches, and the passenger window has met up with the running board somehow.  The back of the truck (and interior) is packed with various car parts for cars in the Gabel Collection.  However, that wasn’t always the case.

Once upon a time, the previous owner was going through a nasty divorce.  Instead of hiring movers, the owner bought this used truck, packed it up with all his stuff, and moved across country.  He was only 300 miles from his destination when the passenger front tire blew out.  He replaced it, drove to his destination, and it’s been parked there ever since.  To this day, that tire remains the newest thing on the truck with only 300 miles on it.

While I love the artistic nature of abandoned things, it always pains me to see once good vehicles lying around.  Perhaps this one may be better off with its brothers down in South America, or maybe it will get another chance here.  For now, it’s just rotting in style.







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