Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wow! What a Collection! (Part II)

Continuing with our tour of the Dezer Collection of “Automobiles and More” at the Miami Auto Museum and Events Center…


As I mentioned previously, the Dezer Collection occupies 2 warehouse type structures.  They’re connected by the walkway shown above…

Real estate developer and collector Michael Dezer fulfilled a longtime dream when he opened his automobile and memorabilia collection to the public.  His passion for collecting began with his first vehicle.  It was a Vespa given to him by his father when he was 16… Today, Dezer owns the largest collection of Vespa’s in the world!


For this posting, I’m focusing on iconic movie and television automobiles…
This auto has some ‘bling’ doesn’t it?!  The Dezer collection features an entire collection of Batman related vehicles and related memorabilia. 
This Batmobile is from Tim Burton’s 1992 ‘Batman Returns’ movie starring Michael Keaton and Michelle Pheiffer.  That movie cost $80,000,000 to make but it grossed $266,830,000 worldwide…


This is another ‘Batmobile’… This one was built in 1966 by George Barris for the Batman TV show starring Adam West.  It’s based on a Ford Motor concept car, the Lincoln Futura, which was built by hand in Italy for $250,000.  The car had never gone into production and Barris picked it up for next to nothing.
When asked to develop his 3rd Batmobile practically overnight, he modified his ‘batlike’ concept car for the task.
 
Somewhat confusingly, a second Barris Batmobile that appears to be just like this one is on display at the Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee…


The first appearance of the ‘Batboat’ was in the 1966 film ‘Batman’.  The boat was also used in the second and third seasons of the 1960s Batman television series.  The Batboat was created by Glastron Industries in Austin, Texas.  It took 31 days to build.  Eventually, a replica was built of the Batboat.
  
When the Batman television show was cancelled, Glastron used the two Batboats for promotions on tours.  After much touring, the boats were sold.  One boat went to a Glastron dealer who was a Shriner and he used it in Shriner parades.  That Batboat was then moved to the Car Stars museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Apparently, this Batboat is the “other boat”…but I don’t know how it was acquired or if it’s the original craft…


This ‘Batcycle’ is also from the 1966 television series, “Batman”, and it was used in the original movie.  Built in 6 days, using a Yamaha Catalina (YDS-3) 250 as the base unit, the Batcycle features a side car with a portable go-cart resting on it for Robin’s use.  As Batman slows down or stops the Batcycle, Robin is propelled off in the side car and he becomes mobile in his own right!  Robin's ‘sidecar’, (or go cart), is powered by a 55cc, electric start, Yamaha three speed engine. 

   
I didn’t recognize this beautiful 1948 Dodge taxicab!  That’s probably because I didn’t see the movie.  This cab was featured in the 2008 movie, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.  The movie starred Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.  It cost $150,000,000 to make the film and it took in about $334,000,000.
This great looking taxicab is for sale…and you can purchase it for the on-line sale price of $24,995.


Yikes…!  It’s yet another spooky manikin that is supposed to represent Olivia Newton John for the movie “Grease”.  This 1948 Ford Deluxe, called “Greased Lightning” in the movie, has overhead lifters, 4-barrel quads, fuel injection, chrome plated rods and a 4-speed on the floor.  This car is also for sale…with a price tag of only $179,995!


This 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III 20/25 was previously owned by Dodie Smith, (1896 – 1990), the English author of the children’s novel, “101 Dalmations”. 

Dodie did fairly well in her career and her estate is probably still doing well!  The 1961 animated movie “One Hundred and One Dalmations” cost $4,000,000 to make and it grossed almost $216,000,000.  The 1996 live action production starring Glenn Close cost $75,000,000 but it brought in about $321,000,000…


Guys of a certain age…and perhaps the girlfriends they dragged to the movie… should recognize this automobile.  It’s the Green Hornet and Kato’s car, the “Black Beauty” from the 2011 movie that was ‘imaginatively’ named “The Green Hornet”.  This superhero action comedy, starring Seth Rogen and Cameron Diaz, cost $120,000,000 to make but it did manage to pull in box office receipts totaling about $228,000,000!

Part of the high cost of this movie can be linked to the car.  The production team modified 29 Chrysler Imperial Crown sedans from model years 1964 to 1966 in order to portray the Green Hornet's supercar.  Twenty-six of those cars were wrecked during production and 3 survived. 


I want this car!  Talk about an attention getter…  I know that raspberry with a tan interior may not be your favorites, but this auto sure does grab the eye doesn’t it!?  This car, with Madonna at the wheel, was featured in the 1990 movie, “Dick Tracy”.  It starred Warren Beatty as Dick Tracy.  Madonna played ‘Breathless Mahoney’, one of the many comic book characters featured in the movie… 

The automobile shown above is a 1936 Auburn Speedster.  It’s equipped with a 351 cubic inch engine but the original model had a 280 cubic inch engine that developed 150 horsepower.  Auburn ceased operations in 1937 so this was one of the last cars the company built.  Good News!  This beauty is for sale.  Check it out at http://inventory.dezercollection.com/1936-auburn-speedster-driven-by-madonna-in-movie-dick-tracy-c-494.htm. They are only asking $999,995!


This is one of several cars used in the 1996 movie, “Evita”, which starred Madonna and Antonio Banderas.  It’s a 1928 Hudson Super Six.  The 6-cylinder engine produced 29.4 horsepower and the various models produced originally cost between $1,250 and $1,795. 

To learn more about the Hudson Motor Car Company, (1909 – 1954), go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Motor_Car_Company.

Factoid: With 85 costume changes in Evita, Madonna eclipsed the Guiness World Record for movie costume changes.  The record had been previously held by Elizabeth Taylor with 65 different costumes in the movie “Cleopatra”.

 
I suspect that most readers will recognize this vehicle!  It’s the famous 1959 Cadillac “Ecto 1” from the 1984 blockbuster movie, “Ghostbusters”.  This movie car was built using a Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance as its base.  Miller-Meteor was part of the Wayne Corporation in Richmond Indiana, which was best known for manufacturing school buses.  Wayne went out of business in 1992. 

Less than 100 of the Cadillac MM ambulances were ever built and yes, the Ecto 1 is for sale!  Check it out at http://inventory.dezercollection.com/1959-cadillac-ecto-1-who-ya-gonna-call--ghostbusters!-c-492.htm.  


This car is a Ferrari 308 GTB.  You may not recognize it but Laurie did!  It was driven by one of her heartthrobs, Tom Selleck, in the Hawaii based TV series, “Magnum, P.I.”  The show ran for 8 seasons and I doubt that we missed any of the shows unless we were on vacation… 

This model Ferrari was actually at the lower end of the company’s offerings.  To learn more about the Ferrari 308 GTB and related models, just go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrari_308_GTS


Yet another scary pair of manikins!  This is the 1976 Ford Gran Torino from the 2004 movie, “Starsky and Hutch”.  Gran Torino’s were built from 1972 through 1976.  This crime action comedy starred Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson…and it was subtitled “Good Cops. Bad Hair”.  The movie cost $60,000,000 to make and it brought in $170,000,000.
 
The 1974 – 1976 Gran Torino is the most valuable type of this automobile.  While this one isn’t for sale from the Dezer Collection, an almost identical one is available.  You can pick it up for only $39,995!  Check it out at http://inventory.dezercollection.com/1976-ford-torino--c-1036.htm.


Recognize this ‘car’?  It’s the “Johnny cab” or taxi that took Arnold Schwarzenegger for a ride in the 1990 movie “Total Recall”.  The ‘dummy’ in the driver’s seat is another of the museum’s manikins…not the original homicidal dummy/taxi driver from the movie.  To view the original in action, go to http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x10bfo9_total-recall-homicidal-johnny-cab_fun.  Laurie and I both enjoyed this movie… It was a fun action flick!

Total Recall's visuals demonstrated how technologies that are still being worked today should integrate into normal life.  The Johnny Cab is a completely self-sufficient, Artificial Intelligence controlled taxi cab.  As demonstrated in the film, it is equipped with sensor bars on the front and back.  This allows it to monitor the road around it and react in real-time to changing conditions.  The American Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and auto makers have  been working an AI vehicle for many years and, based on news reports, we are nearing a possible operational version of a ‘driverless’ car.
  


This isn’t really a movie or television automobile…although it was driven by a well-known personality and race car driver.  Jeff Gordon crashed this car when its brakes failed on a critical turn at the Pocono 500 race in New York.  The car is/was a 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Jeff reported that it was the hardest hit he ever took!  To view the crash, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgsWAN7Fo4I.



This 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ Spider was used in another of my wife’s (and my) favorite TV series…”Miami Vice”.  Don Johnson drove this car during the first 2 seasons of the show.  Only 122 Spiders were built out of a total production run of 1,284 Ferrari 365 GTB/4’s.  Surprisingly, at least to me, is the price for this automobile… I could pick it up from the Dezer Collection for only $79,995.  You can check it out at http://inventory.dezercollection.com/1973-ferrari-daytona-miami-vice-car-c-507.htm.


Did I mention that the museum features a huge James Bond collection and display?  It includes many ‘Bond’ cars and other related items of interest.  For example, there is this scale model Lockheed Martin VC-140B Jetstar that was used in the 1964 Bond movie “Goldfinger”, which starred Sean Connery.  Four of these models were built for the movie.  This one was returned to Lockheed and, after 2 or 3 owners, it was purchased by the Ian Fleming Foundation.

Only 204 ‘real’ Jetstars were built.  The Jetstar is notable for its 4 tail mounted engines and the fact that it was the first dedicated business jet to enter service.  Former President Lyndon Johnson’s Jetstar is on display at his former ranch in Texas.  Elvis Presley owned one too…and it’s on display at Graceland in Memphis.  Elvis named his “Hound Dog II”.


This is one of the 3 Aston Martin DB5s used in the 1995 movie “GoldenEye”. This is Dawn's favorite car! (Note: This was the 17th movie for the Bond franchise!) One Aston Martin was kept in pristine condition for close-ups and the other 2 were used for the stunt driving scenes in the hills above Monte Carlo (Monaco).  Pierce Brosnan stared as Bond in this movie.  This is the first and most recognized of all James Bond automobiles.  The Aston Martin DB series was used in several Bond movies.


This is an Alfa Romeo 159.  Two of them were used in a car chase in “Quantum of Solace”, the 22nd Bond film, which featured Daniel Craig as James Bond. (Note: Bond was driving his usual Aston Martin DB5) The Alfa Romeo 159 was built between 2005 and 2011.  I found it hard to believe that 240,000 of these cars were built!  I was also surprised to find a 2008 model for sale on the Internet for only $17,950.  We need a new car but this car just doesn’t have enough trunk space…  

  
This 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom was also featured in the 1965 movie “Goldfinger”.  This was the villain’s car… Goldfinger’s driver was ‘Oddjob’, his Korean ‘enforcer’ and bodyguard who killed people by throwing his steel hat. (See the manikin above) In the movie, the body of the car was made out of 2 tons of gold.  Goldfinger’s plot was to attack the USA’s gold depository at Ft. Knox Kentucky.

 
This is Jill St. John’s, (aka ‘Tiffany Case’s), beautiful 1971 Mustang Mach 1 muscle car from the 1971 Bond movie, “Diamonds Are Forever”.  Sean Connery made his 6th and last appearance in a Bond movie and this car was used by Bond in a lengthy car chase.  The movie cost $7,200,000 to make and it grossed $116,000,000!  Country singer, TV host, actor and businessman, Jimmy Dean, was featured as a reclusive Howard Hughes billionaire character. (Jimmy Dean Sausage is now owned by the Sara Lee Corporation)

    
This is the 1998 Jaguar XKR that was driven by the villain ‘Zao’ in the 2002 Bond movie “Die Another Day”.  This movie stared Pierce Brosnan in his 4th and final appearance as James Bond.  It was the 20th film in the Bond franchise!  Of course, Bond drove an Aston Martin in this movie…this time an Aston Martin Vanquish.

I do have great news for the well-heeled filthy rich James Bond collector and aficionado… The Dezer Collection including the autos and all of the other James Bond memorabilia is up for sale!  It could be yours for only $33,400,000!  You can check out the story at: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/03/18/worlds-largest-james-bond-car-collection-on-sale-for-33-million/

I’ve only shown a tiny fraction of the Bond collection in this posting… Michael Dezer began buying these cars in 2011, when he snatched up dozens of the super spy's on-screen rides from the James Bond Museum in Keswick, England.  Since then, Dezer has amassed 59 Bond related cars.  The collection also includes boats, tanks, jet skis, motorcycles and thousands of other pieces of memorabilia. The buyer would even get the yacht used in the 2nd Bond movie, 1963’s “From Russia With Love”.

That’s about it for now.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


Monday, April 21, 2014

Casual Breakfast on the Square – Miami

Time for breakfast!  It was mid-morning and we needed some fuel before starting our day of exploration in southeast Florida.  Dawn Marie took us to one of her standard morning wake up spots within a block or two of her condo…

This is Angelina’s Coffee and Juice… This family owned business serves locally ground Panther Coffee, fresh pressed organic juices, omelets, flatbreads, vegan crepes, salads and their highly touted Adult Grill Cheese sandwiches.  All of Angelina’s offerings are made with fresh products that are delivered daily by local providers.


It was busy inside Angelina’s!  Service was prompt and very friendly.  You place your order at the counter and they call you when it’s ready.  As you can see from the blackboards on the wall, there are many items to choose from…


I think that Laurie’s fruit laden waffle was the best item that we ordered!  They sure didn’t skimp on the fruit and the powdered sugar gave this breakfast entrée a little extra pop…

Angelina’s also offers sweet crepes in addition to its vegan crepes.  One of the more interesting sweet crepe offerings is the S’Mores crepe.  It’s a crepe with chocolate, Graham crackers and marshmellow.  Sounds pretty decadent, don’t you think! 

Since bacon is Laurie’s favorite food…she ordered some to accompany her waffle!
 
At Angelina’s…and many if not most restaurants in the area…you can dine inside or outside.  We ate outside in the beautiful Florida ‘winter’ weather…sunshine and warmth!


Dawn ordered an omelet with multi-grain toast.  I don’t know what she had in her omelet but it was one of her standard breakfast choices…

Note that despite this restaurant’s casual approach to dining, Angelina’s serves their meals on china… Nice!


My omelet was of course a combination of meat and cheese…in this case ham, bacon and Havarti cheese.  It was quite good but my issue with omelets made this way is that the eggs tend to be a little overcooked.  I prefer omelets a bit fluffier… As you can see, I went with white toast.

The next time we dine at Angelina’s we’re going for one of their Adult Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!  Laurie would probably order the Havarti, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, Tomatoes and Arugula, on Multi-Grain bread.  I’m leaning toward the Provolone, Chorizo, Arugula and Tumac on Country bread…

Thanks for joining us for breakfast… We were fueled up and ready for our next adventure!  Angelina’s Coffee and Juice is located at 3451 Northeast 1st Avenue in Miami.  Phone: 305-424-9124.  Check out their Website:  http://www.angelinascoffee.com/index.html.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


Friday, April 18, 2014

Wow! What a Collection! (Part I)

When we went down to visit Dawn Marie and take a winter break in southeast Florida, I thought that I’d found and researched just about every attraction that we might be interested in… Wrong!  Dawn had another venue in mind for us…a major attraction that my research hadn’t picked up on…


This is the entrance to the Miami Auto Museum and Events Center at the Dezer Collection… (I’ll shorten the name to the Dezer Collection in this posting) This museum consists of 2 large adjoining buildings that are packed with inexpensive and expensive automobiles, big and small, domestic and foreign, movie and TV autos, motorcycles, bicycles, military vehicles, a couple of airplanes and many miscellaneous period displays…

I’ll start our tour with the curious and odd…at least by US standards…


This big showroom is packed with micro cars… Neither Laurie nor I had any idea that so many of these vehicles existed or that these little cars and trucks dated back as far as they do… This collection is full of early precursors to the Smart Car of today.

Real estate developer and collector Michael Dezer fulfilled a longtime dream when he opened his huge automobile and memorabilia collection to the public.  The museum encompasses over 250,000-square-feet.  The museum features more than 1,000 of the most unique and eclectic vehicles than in any other private collection in the world.  The Museum’s nine exhibitions are positioned within lifelike dioramas that depict the historical period or commonality and origin of the automobiles on display.


Remember, I did say micro cars!  Laurie is standing next to a 1958 Solyto.  A French company, New Map, based in Lyon was the builder of this little truck.  It’s a 3-wheeled utility truck that you start with a kick lever.  No driver’s license was required to drive this vehicle.  Its single cylinder engine developed 4.5 horsepower and its top speed, without cargo, was about 31 mph.  About 4,000 of these vehicles were built between 1952 and 1974.

Note: If I ever managed to squeeze my own bulky overweight 6’ frame into one of these mini cars, they have to bring the ‘jaws of life’ to pry me out!


The Autobianchi Bianchina is a minicar produced by the Italian automaker Autobianchi.  It was based on the Fiat 500.  This is a 1960 model.  Initially, the car was equipped with the smallest Fiat air-cooled engine that produced 15 horsepower.  Later, the engine power was increased…all the way to 17 horsepower!


I think that this is one of the ‘cuter’ micro cars… The name is cute too!  This is a 1962  Goggomobil TS250 coupe.  It is one of a series of micro cars produced in the Bavarian town of Dingolfing after World War II by Glas.  The engine was an air-cooled, two-stroke, two-cylinder unit that produced 13.6 horsepower.  This little car could reach speeds of up to 47 mph. 

If you ever visited Europe from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, you probably saw a few Goggomobils.  The company built over 284,000 units between 1955 and 1969! 


This little beauty is a 1949 Renault 4CV.  This economy car was produced by the French manufacturer Renault from August 1947 until July 1961.  It’s the first French car that sold over a million units…although obviously this convertible version was just a small part of the total run. 

When this car was originally introduced, the first 4CV's were nicknamed "La motte de beurre" (the lump of butter).  This was due to the combination of its shape and the fact that early deliveries all used surplus paint used for the German Army vehicles of Rommel's Afrika Korps, which was a sand-yellow color.


This is a 1951 Fiat Topolino… The Fiat 500, commonly known as "Topolino", is an Italian automobile model that was manufactured by Fiat from 1936 to 1955.  The name "Topolino" translates literally as "little mouse" in Italian, but is also the Italian name for Mickey Mouse.

The Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its initial production.  With 13 horsepower available, its top speed was about 53 mph.  Note that this micro car could achieve about 39.2 miles per US gallon!  Nearly 520,000 Topolinos were sold.


How about a micro sports car?  This is a 1956 Berkeley.  Berkeley Cars Ltd of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire England produced economical sporting micro cars with motorcycle-derived engines between 1956 and 1960.  This car was launched at the 1956 London Motor Show. 

It was usually configured as a 2-seater with a simple bench seat but there is a hatch that could be removed from behind the front seat which revealed a compartment normally containing the spare wheel and some luggage space.  It could double as a basic seat for a small child.  Equipment was basic…even the fuel gauge was an optional extra.  This micro sports car is 10 feet 3 inches long and it only weighs 605 lbs.!  Only 163 of this model were built between October 1956 and January 1957 when another version was introduced…


OK… Now we’ll begin exploring a few of the stranger looking micro cars that we saw in the Dezer Collection.  This is a 1959 Messerschmitt KR200… Yes, this bug like micro car was built by the same company that made top notch fighter planes for the German Luftwaffe during WWII!  Don’t you love the mom and child manikins in the car?!

The Messerschmitt KR200, or Kabinenroller (Cabin Scooter), was a three-wheeled bubble car designed produced in the factory of the German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt from 1955 to 1964.  Messerschmitt was temporarily not allowed to manufacture aircraft so it turned its resources to producing other commodities.  The KR200 was considered an instant success with almost 12,000 built during its first year.  It had a 9.9 horsepower engine but it could reach a top speed of 56 mph.  In 1956, once Messerschmitt could build airplanes again, the company sold the factory and its micro car operations to the car’s original designer.


This is a Nobel 200.  From what I understand, the Nobel was built under license in the United Kingdom and Chile.  Fuldamobil is the name of a series of small cars produced by Elektromaschinenbau Fulda GmbH of Fulda, Germany, and Nordwestdeutscher Fahrzeugbau (NWF) of Wilhelmshaven between 1950 and 1969.  The design concept was for a very simple three-wheeled car with room for two people inside, with 2 wheels in the front for stability, and with a small engine at the rear. 

The Fuldamobil was licensed for manufacture to various countries where it was known by varying names.  In addition to the Nobel, it was known as the Bambi in Argentina, the Bambino in the Netherlands, Fram King Fulda in Sweden, Attica and also Alta in Greece, and Hans Vahaar in India.  It was also manufactured in South Africa under the original German name.  A pickup version called "Sporty" based on the coupé was also available in Argentina.


This is not just another ‘pretty' face!  It’s a 1971 Veloto Model BL, a French micro car.  Initially a manufacturer of batteries, the manufacturer, Societe BEL-Motors,  built their first vehicle in 1968, a small 3-wheeler intended for children’s road safety training.  At the time this 2-seater was introduced, it was the only one in France that could be driven without a license.  It was primarily targeted for retirees who’d given up driving. 

The colors offered were sky blue, orange, mustard yellow, white and prairie green, all with that tent-like black top.  Its single cylinder engine can propel this micro car at speeds almost up to 25 mph!


I couldn’t locate much information on this 1968 BMA Amica 250 Piaggo.  The good news is that this 'classy looking' orange 3-wheel box is available for purchase!  It’s one of the cars that the Dezer Collection has up for sale.  This beauty only has 43,428 miles on it and you can pick it up for only $17,995!

The BMA was an Italian automobile manufactured by a company named Alfonsine from 1971 until 1994.  The Amica was the company’s first production model.  It was basically a motorized tricycle/motorbike with a square body made of plastic with hinged doors.


This strange looking little car is a 1968 Tippen Delta Invacar.  Just like the preceding micro car, this auto is also for sale.  It has been completely restored and only 2000 miles have been put on it since restoration was completed in 2002.  This is a National 1st Place Show Winner!! (Antique Automobile Club of America) It was completely disassembled to its bare shell and restored from the frame up.  

The Invacar was designed and built to enhance the mobility of the handicapped.  With its sliding doors, it was easy to get in and out of.  It’s operated by a hand lever…and it’s braked and steered the same way.  There even is a place for wheel chair storage.  You can pick this collector’s car up for only $29,995!


This is a 1958 ISO Isetta.  This 3-wheel micro auto has an interesting history.  “The Isetta was incubated in the post-war economy of Europe. After the World War II, many people did not have the money to afford large automobiles and instead moved about on scooters and motorcycles. An Italian company that made refrigerators in Milan, Italy, entered the market at this time with a line of scooters, motorcycles, and three wheeled trucks. After some success the company decided to move into the automobile business.”

The first Isetta was introduced at the 1953 Turin Motor Show.  “Looking like the result of a high speed collision between a refrigerator, a scooter, and an ovulating chicken…” …”The car had a single door at the front, rear wheels that were only 19 inches apart, and gas mileage of over 50 miles per gallon.”  The two-cylinder engine allowed a top speed of 45 mph and could propel the Isetta to 30 mph in a ‘blistering’ 36 seconds!
   
In the post-war economy BMW was on the lookout for an inexpensive economy car, and the Isetta fit the bill.  The company was licensed to build the car in the fall of 1954.  BMW made the Isetta its own.  BMW totally redesigned and re-engineered the car…making it their own.  The first BMW Isetta appeared in April 1955.  Over 100,000 of these little cars sold in Germany.  Legend has it that BMW would not be here today if not for the success of the little Isetta.

 
This is an early 3-wheel sports car… It’s a 1928 Framo Shomer Sport.  Note the driver in the car… Did I mention that many of the Dezer Collection autos and related vignettes are staged using manikins dressed to fit the part?  We thought that it was a bit weird and a little unnerving… They were everywhere!

Framo was a minivan, motor tricycle and car manufacturer in Saxony, Germany.  It was established by Danish engineer Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen, the founder of DKW, in 1923.   Rasmussen had earlier founded DKW, and the Framo factory was created to produce components for DKW motorcycles. Rasmussen played an important role in the establishment of the Auto Union group, and DKW is represented by one ring of the four rings of the Audi brand today.

I couldn’t learn too much about this little sports car…but I did find a story by an early owner that showed just how basic and stripped down these cars were!   Check it out http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-first-car-framo-piccolo-on-wild-ride.html.  FYI…The Dezer Collection will sell you this early sports car for only $50,000.  Check out the photos at http://inventory.dezercollection.com/inventory.php?make=FRAMO&model=ALL&stock=&bodytype=ALL&searchtype=bymm&Submit=.


Finally…American Micro Autos!!  Actually, my mother owned one of these for a while in the early to mid-50s.  Industrialist Powel Crosley, Jr. owned the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation and the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, but he also had ambitious plans to build a subcompact car.   His first car was shown in May of 1939 at the Indianapolis Speedway.  It was a 2-door convertible that weighed less than 1,000 lbs. and sold for $250.00.  It was not a sales success! 
         
However, during World War II, the Crosley became attractive because of gasoline rationing and the fact that it could get 50 miles per gallon.  After the war, Crosley introduced several "firsts" in the American automobile industry: the first use of the term 'Sport Utility' in 1948, and; the first US “Sports Car”, the Crosley Hotshot.  Check out the Hotshot the right above and at http://auto.howstuffworks.com/crosley-hot-shot.htm.  Crosley’s best year was in 1948 with 24,871 cars sold.  The company ceased production in 1952. 


This is one of several models from Lawil/Lambretta.  This is a 1989 Lambretta William C4 Break.  I ‘love’ the color, don’t you?  Note the prisoner manikin the yellow Lambretta facing this pink creation.  Just a little strange…


What!?  It’s actually another American built micro auto!  This is a 1981 HMV Freeway.  It was built in Burnsville Minnesota from 1979 to 1982.  These small commuter cars had a single seat and were powered by a 12 or 16 horsepower gasoline engine or a 4 horsepower electric motor.

The 12 horsepower version was guaranteed to get 100 miles per gallon when driven at a steady 40 mph!  The motor was mounted behind the driver and was coupled to a snowmobile-style belt drive transmission. Final drive to the rear wheel was by chain.  The Freeway did not have a reverse gear…  The Free-Way had a single headlight and per federal standards it was intended to be licensed as a motorcycle, but in some states they were titled as cars.  Only about 700 Free-Ways were sold before the company closed in June 1982.

Well, I don’t know about you but I counted 10 of those freaky manikins in the photos for this posting!  My next posting about the Dezer Collection with feature an entirely different genre of automobiles…or motorcycles…or bicycles…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at these micro autos!  They were fun to look at but they seemed a bit strange to us…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave  


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

“Cheen-Huaye” – Mayan for “Only Here”

When I planned our 2014 winter trip to southeast Florida, I researched places to go, sights to see and things to do.  Of course, I also did a lot of research using Trip Advisor for restaurants we might want to try during our visit.


This is Cheen-Huaye…which translates from Mayan to mean “only here”.  In Trip Advisor, this restaurant had received 83 excellent or very good reviews vs. only 1 poor or terrible.  The odds were with us!

The first thing we learned was that this restaurant was a long drive up Biscayne Boulevard from the ‘design district’…and downtown Miami where Dawn Marie lives!


This is the interior of the restaurant… There was some seating on the other side of the wall near the bar but we were seated in the larger of the 2 rooms.  The restaurant was clean and orderly and they were fairly busy.

Cheen-Huaye is the creation of executive chef Marco Velaszquez and his wife, Magna Vieira.  Marco is a native of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.  After working as a chef in several South Florida restaruants, he decided to cook what he loves.  The restaurant serves authentic Yucatecan dishes made from fresh ingredients.



Our waitress, Lizeth, started us out with the ubiquitous basket of warm tortilla chips and salsa.  The chips were good and the salsa was a step above the usual!


All 3 of us love Queso Fundido so we ordered it as an appetizer.  We had our choice of chorizo, rajas de poblano or mushroom with the mix of Oaxaca-Gouda cheeses, pico de gallo and flour tortillas. ($9.00) We went with the chorizo… We’ve had queso fundido many times.  Sometimes it comes with tortilla chips, sometimes with soft tortillas and sometimes with both.  We are used to a liquid to semi-liquid mixture laden with chorizo… We were surprised that in this case, it was a baked semi-solid.  This queso fundido was quite flavorful and the cheese mixture was very interesting but we decided that we prefer our ‘normal’ version.


Dawn Marie ordered the Carnitas. ($14.00) This pork dish is marinated overnight in a house recipe marinade made with spices and oranges.  It's cooked slowly to pick up the flavors and Dawn opted for it to be accompanied with onions, rice, refried beans and a green chile sauce.  She told us that it was good but that she could find better Mexican offerings much closer to where she lives….


Laurie ordered the Enchilada Verdes. ($14.00) She had 3 soft corn tortillas stuffed with chicken and topped with tomatillo sauce, melted cheese and cream.  Laurie really liked her enchiladas!

She had been tempted to order ceviche, specifically the Pescado and Camaron…fresh fish and shrimp marinated in lime juice, mixed with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, avocado and mango. ($12.00) We haven’t had ceviche since we left Chicago.  We used to order it regularly…


I almost ordered the Al Carbon tacos…filled with my choice of steak or chicken. ($13.00) Instead I went for the Carne Asada A La Yucateca. ($16.95) This is a marinated skirt steak in achiote and grilled.  It was served with Mexican rice, refried beans and sweet plantains.  It was quite nice if a little bland for my taste. (FYI…I do realize that most Mexican dishes are not spicy hot)

My other dining option would have been the Carne Al Tamarindo…marinated grilled skirt steak topped with homemade roasted tomato and tamarind sauce and accompanied by a (small?) Tulum salad. ($21.00) The Tulum salad includes a little marinated chicken, fresh corn, black beans, cheese, tortilla strips, tomato and mixed greens…tossed in Cheen-Huaye’s homemade cilantro-lime peanut vinaigrette. Both the steak and the salad sound interesting!


I must say that our service was very ‘spotty’.  At times we thought that our waitress had left for the night… We had to wait for her to show up or return with something we’d requested too many times.  On a positive note, when I requested some ‘heat’ to spice up my food, she eventually brought this bowl and pestle to the table...nice presentation.  It contained some spicy if not particularly ‘hot’ peppers partially ground up in the bottom of the bowl.

I haven’t completed a review of Cheen-Huaye for Trip Advisor… When I do, the best I’ll be able to rate this restaurant is “Good”…service issues with an interesting menu.  If they were in our neighborhood in East Tennessee, I’d go back and try other menu items and give their servers another chance…

Cheen-Huaye is located at 15400 Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami Florida.  Phone: 305-956-2822.  You can check out their website and menu at www.cheenhuaye.com.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave