Oct 30, 2012

Old Timey Word of the Week

Ever been watching an old detective movie and heard the phrase, "She's a dead ringer..."  The phrase is intended to mean that there is an uncanny match or similarity between two things.  For instance, you might say that Mick Jagger is a dead ringer for a batfish.

The phrase originates in the mid to late 19th century and comes from the world of horse racing.  It seems that in the old days of racing, it was common to replace a well known race horse with a horse that was very similar in appearance.  This was done to defraud the bookies at the races.  The word is defined for us in a copy of the Manitoba Free Press from October 1882:
"A horse that is taken through the country and trotted under a false name and pedigree is called a 'ringer.'"
The word "dead" was later added to the phrase as part of American popular language.  For example, we often say "dead on" or "dead set."  On of the other uses of the word dead is to express a level of "exactness," if you will.

So, there it is.  An interesting explanation to a commonly used phrase. If you didn't find it interesting, maybe you will enjoy learning that Meatloaf had an album called "Dead Ringer."  Here is the album cover:


Pumpkins and Pyrotechnics II: This time it's personal

Some of you may remember last year's story of shooting pumpkins filled with explosives.  If not, please enjoy:

                                                        Pumpkins and Pyrotechnics

On Saturday, 11/3/12, we will hope to replicate and surpass the events of last year.  Please stay tuned for the details.  It should be... the bomb.

Aug 29, 2012

Work continues on the 633csi...

I have been working on the 633csi recently and it getting ready to be driven more often.  I replaced numerous front end suspension components, replaced a broken sunroof cable, and adjusted the valves.  I also spent many hours carefully cleaning the trunk, and scrubbing the carpet.  I removed the seats to do this.  I am finding this car to be very solid and in nice overall shape.  It is slowly coming along and should be a fun car to drive.  Upcoming projects will include replacing all of the shifter bushings and building a set of BBS RC090 wheels.   I will try to document these processes. 

For those interested, I wrote up the technical process of the M30 engine valve adjsutment and it can be seen here:


Aug 2, 2012

Update: 633csi

Here is an updated picture of the 633csi after a quick wash.  The car is running and driving.  There do not appear to be any significant mechanical issues.  So far so good!  I am going to start by repairing the power sunroof mechanism and the front end suspension.  Updates to come.

Jul 31, 2012

A New Shark 

Since I sold my 1984 European market 635csi, I have been missing the E24. Around two months ago, my friend calls me up and says, "My secretary says she has an old BMW she wants to sell. You interested?" I ask, "What is it?" I was thinking it was probably a 3 series from the late 80s or 90s based on the odds and other people's definition of "old."

Once I got in touch with the owners, I was told it was a 633csi L6. Well, I obviously knew it was one or the other, but was pretty confident that it was an E24 6 series. I set up an appointment to check it out. I found out that the car had been parked ten years ago and not driven since.  The car had belonged to the "ex son-in-law" who had moved to China and left the car behind. 

When I showed up, I found a Sapphire Blue 1983 633csi with a Pacific Blue interior and a 5 speed manual. The car was covered in ten years of grime, but I found it to be very straight with a lot of life left in the paint. There is no rust and all of the rubber on the car is surprisingly supple and not dried out. I looked it over and found a crack free dash and a relatively clean engine compartment. The only obvious problem (without starting it) was a scuffed sunroof. The owner let me know that they had struggled with the sunroof before the car was parked.

So, I made a deal and came back a week later to pick it up with a truck and trailer.
I drove it straight to the self-serve car wash and washed it. I was very pleased to see a very pretty car underneath the ten years of dirt. Once we got home, I drained the tank and added about ten gallons of fresh gas. I carefully went over the engine compartment and then put in a fresh battery. It cranked but would not fire. After about ten minutes I found that the speed signal sensor was no good. I happened to have an extra and swapped it out. I hit the key once again and it fired immediately. It was like the car had never left the road. It idled perfectly and sounded excellent. On top of that, all of the electrics work! I was not expecting that.

It will need some suspension work, wheels and tires, various fluids flushed, and I am sure I will find many other things. But overall, I am very excited to be back in an E24. While it is not the car that my '84 635csi was, it is a clean all original car. I have always found the '83 b32 powered cars to be impressive. With the hot cam and 14 pound flywheel, the engine has some life. Anyway, I wanted to share my new find.  You can follow the project at https://sites.google.com/site/straightsixbimmers/technical/e24/1983-633csi


Apr 19, 2012

Old Timey Word of the Week

Another classic on tap this week.  Geez Lousie!  The first time I heard this phrase I was on the little league baseball field.  I was about 5 years old and I heard my coach exclaim this classic phrase.  I remember repeating it around the house in the weeks to follow.  At one point, my mom overheard me say it and promptly scolded me.  She told me I was not allowed to repeat it any longer.  I asked her why, and I specifically remember her blank look.  She didn't know.  She told me she was sure it was inappropriate.  Research has left me equally confused and without any real answer.  The most plausible explanation was that it stems from the 1970's hit T.V. show, All in the Family. 

It seems that the next door neighbor was named, "Louise."  Archie Bunker, could be heard uttering the phrase, "Geeze Louise." While I could not find any real answer, this phrase will forever be one of my favorites. 

Jan 9, 2012

Old Timey Word of the Week

For years, I have heard the phrase "Jumping the Shark" without ever thinking about the origin.  I can remember hearing people say, "When Lou Piniella left the Mariners, that's when they really "jumped the shark."  Where did such an odd phrase come from? Fonzie. 

In 1977, the television show "Happy Days" was at its peak of popularity.  The season opened to an episode where Fonzie and the other main characters traveled to California.  Fonzie had accepted a challenge where he would perform a water ski jump over a shark pen.  Wearing his trademark leather jacket, Fonzie successfully completed the jump.  The following video is worth a watch:

The episode and the show as a whole began to change.  Many critics felt that this episode marked the decline of the show and the "beginning of the end."  Over the years, "jumping the shark" became synonymous with a television show that had become stale and unoriginal.  Eventually, the phrase expanded past the world of television and has become widely used.


The Simpsons