Ben Wassell’s Street Legal Army Truck

When I said was wanted to be non-denominational, I meant it. Last week’s post was a Ford tractor. Now I give you the massive M931A2 army truck of Hanover’s Ben Wassell.

3-29-16 (7)

Wassell bought this truck in an online auction, then sold the cab to a friend to modify another truck by adding to the size of the cab.

Power comes from an 8.3 liter Cummings that Wassell plans to upgrade to make another 150 hp. The engine is mated to an Allison Automatic.

The 2002 Dodge four-door cab was installed by adding a sub-frame. Once on, the steering had to be modified, along with the wiring. The chassis was 24 volt and the cab was only 12. Controls for 12 and 24 volt set ups exist side by side, along with air controls for the brakes.

After the exhaust and air intakes were modified, Wassell removed the fifth wheel and added the flat bed.

The truck weighs around 20,000 lbs., can haul another 15,000 and, unloaded gets around seven gallons to the mile —I meant miles to the gallon. Silly me! Massive rubber comes from 14.00R20 Goodyear AT-2As.

The trailer is rather cool too. Also bought at online auction, this ammunition trailer weighs 11,000 lbs. and can carry another 22,000 more. Tires are 385/65R22.5 Goodyear G178s. Wassell is planing to make a camper out of the trailer.

This truck is rather interesting and unique. It is not the first time I have seen it around town. This thing gets driven and I can’t wait to see it in motion again.

2008 Suzuki SX4 for Sale

3-29-16 (19).JPGThis 2008 Suzuki SX4 is for sale in Silver Creek, New York. It has a 1.9 liter four cylinder engine with a five speed manual transmission. Only 163,700 miles young, this little car is defiantly fast enough to get a speeding ticket. I know because I drove it myself. While getting 30 to 40 miles a gallon, this car also knows how to hug a corner. It is fun to drive, clean and has no check engine light. The E-brake even works.

If interested call Dolce Automotive at 716-934-3186 and ask for Richard. Asking price is $2,800.

Bill Ploetz’s Ford 8n

If you walked out into a field of corn back in 1969 or ’70, you could find Bill Ploetz cultivating with his future wife riding on the fender. If you stopped to tell him that someday his father’s tractor would be capable of doing 70 miles per hour, you would probably get some strange looks.

But fast forward a few decades and that is just what this Portland, New York, resident did.

3-23-16 (1).JPG

The Ford N-series was produced from 1939 to 1952, and the 8n was one of the most popular tractors before the imported 4×4 tractors hit the market — even if a quick ride around doesn’t spot a few still sitting around.

3-23-16 (4).JPGPower comes from a 1983 Mercury Marque 302. It had 19,000 miles on it but was full of sludge. He cleaned it out and put in a new oil pump and screen. An electronic ignition was added then an electric water pump. Ploetz said the engine made plenty of power for what he wanted to do so he did not modifications.

The old four-cylinder that the 302 replaced was part of the frame. It wasn’t a problem for the horsepower that it made but 220 is too much, so a cradle had to be made. Ploetz said that Ford used the same transmission spline for years, so after the spacer the engine slid right in. The clutch linkage had to be reworked to allow more travel in the throw-out bearing and it needed a special spacer to keep the starter motor from binding.

The throttle had to be reworked for a more progressive profile, as Ploetz said it would jump from 1,000 to 5,000 too quickly.

A broken piece of cast was on the inside of the rear end and it needed to go. Ploetz remembered his dad driving the tractor around while dragging one wheel, and that would not work for what he wants to do. He mated a ’58 rear end to his ’48 front end and that took care of the problem.

I was a commercial tire serviceman up until 2010, and, every once in a while, even I learn something new. Added weight in the tires is not calcium chloride, but beet molasses. Beet juice is heavier and nowhere near as corrosive.

3-23-16 (3)As it sits now, beets and all, it is around 5,500 lbs. that adds up to too much traction in the back and not enough weight in the front. He plans to remove the weights and add beet juice to the front tires so the front will stay down.

For safety he added a seat belt and a roll bar. “On paper this thing will go 70,” Ploetz said. “I went up to about 35 and that’s fast enough for me. It is scary to drive.”

Future improvements include a larger radiator. After four pulls or so the engine gets too hot.  The hood may be reworked to hinge open, then new paint.

Trans Am is Back

TA.pngPlenty of folks have cashed in on public nostalgia for the Camaro’s late, lamented F-body sibling by Firebird-izing and Trans Am-ifying Camaros, often just by replacing the front and rear soft trim with vaguely Pontiac-y styling cues. Tallahassee, Florida-based Trans Am Worldwide has endeavored to take that approach to a higher level, modifying or replacing virtually every panel on the car except the doors.

The examples on display in the concourse area at the NYIAS are all based on the recently departed Camaro, but tooling is underway to replicate this look on the new Alpha platform architecture. In the meantime, cars have been procured to produce a limited run of 77 special black and gold Bandit Editions. Old Bandit himself, Burt Reynolds, is completely on board with the plan and will personally sign each of the 77 copies, which are retailing for between $125,000 and $150,000, depending on options. And if black isn’t your color, Nate Shelton, chairman of Hurst Performance Products, would be happy to sign a Hurst Trans Am edition in another color — if they weren’t already sold out.|1

Wreaked Porsche Selling for Mad Money


Even with all-wheel-drive, the 887-horsepower Porsche 918 Spyder is a lot to handle. Apparently, too much to handle for the former owner of car #830, who wrecked it after putting just 92 miles on the odometer. Now, #830 has turned up at a salvage auction in Long Island, with bidding up to $100,000 at the time of writing.

Normally, a car this destroyed would be declared a total loss and meet its untimely demise at the crusher, but limited-edition hypercars are a bit of a different story. Recall, the Ferrari Enzo that was restored by Ferrari after it was literally ripped in half in a California crash. That car recently sold for $1.76 million.

If you have the money and patience, Porsche will likely be willing to bring this car back to its showroom-fresh state. It might cost you as much, if not more, than buying a working 918, but you’d have a car with a unique history.


Smash on PlayStation Pages

My video documentary on demolition derby racing games on PlayStation 1 and 2 is up and running. They can be found up top in the blue section and are in two separate pages. Not only are there edited clips of game play, but there are also reviews and tips. Come and join me for some car-nage today!