Sunday, May 5, 2024

Number 6' Lotus Seven


While drinks and guns may not be the standard trappings of Number 6’s preferred lifestyle, we do know that he has an affinity for automobiles, particularly his custom Lotus Seven that Patrick McGoohan drives around London during the famous opening credits.

The Prisoner lore tells that the original choice for Number 6’s car was a Lotus Elan. However, when Lotus marketing director Graham Arnold provided both an Elan and a Seven, McGoohan’s preference for the Seven made it his character’s signature set of wheels, painted in British racing green with a bright yellow nose and registered “KAR 120C”. McGoohan’s character proves to be just as invested in the car as the actor himself, explaining to Mrs. Butterworth in “Many Happy Returns” that he had assembled his Lotus himself from a kit and reciting the engine serial number: 461043TZ. (Curiously, McGoohan does drive an Elan in the episode “The Girl Who Was Death”.)

During the production gap before the finale was filmed, the screen-used Lotus had already been sold so Caterham reportedly converted an earlier Lotus to resemble Number Six’s green-and-yellow Seven for its appearance at the end of “Fall Out”, where it was driven by Caterham founder Graham Nearn.

A half-decade after The Prisoner concluded, Caterham Cars was officially founded and took over the reigns from Lotus as official producers of the Seven, continuing to offer both kits and fully assembled versions of the design. Among the thousands of the Caterham 7 cars manufactured in the nearly 50 years since production began, Caterham Cars did introduce a Prisoner-branded trim package in 1989 painted in Number 6’s preferred green-and-yellow livery.

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Sunday, April 28, 2024

Hawaii 5-zero 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham

Steve McGarrett's (Jack Lord) 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham 4-door. This car was used from the series premiere on September 26, 1968, to its partial destruction during the 1978 season. This car is perhaps the most photographed Mercury in existence, having appeared in approximately 130 Five-O episodes. Hawaii Five-O was CBS number one rated show. It was on the air from September, 1968 to April 1980. For at least six years Michael’s car was the only car McGarrett drove on the show.

About the car itself: It's a '68 Parklane Brougham 4-door hardtop. The car is fairly well equipped, with a 428-4V(345 hp), C-6 automatic, power steering, power front disc brakes, power windows, power seat, A/C, AM/FM, and cruise control. 

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada


The Bizzarrini Strada also 5300 GT Strada and 5300 GT, is a sports car produced by Bizzarrini from 1964 to 1968. Sold as a low slung, two-seat coupé, roadster, and track-tuned "Corsa" racer, it proved to be Bizzarrini's most successful model. Designed by ex-Ferrari chief engineer Giotto Bizzarrini in 1963, the Strada was launched by his company in 1964. It was similar in concept to the Iso Grifo, also designed by Bizzarrini, and even used the Grifo name while in the planning stage, as well as the welded unibody platform of the Iso Rivolta 300.

The Strada which adopted a Front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout – was powered by a 327 Chevrolet small-block engine displacing 5.4 L and rated at 365 hp to 385 N⋅m of torque in the road legal version and 400 hp in the Corsa.  The engine was intentionally placed as far back over the front axle as possible, to improve weight distribution and handling. The car could accelerate 0–100 km/h in less than 7 seconds, and attained a top speed of 280 km/h. In later models, the 5,358 cc engine was replaced by a larger 7,000 cc unit, fitted with a Holley carburetor.


Dunlop four-wheel disc brakes, a BorgWarner T-10 four-speed manual transmission, de Dion tube rear suspension, and limited slip differential were also used. The Giorgetto Giugiaro influenced Bertone styled aluminum body, was striking in its day and still regarded in the 21st century as "gorgeous"[2] and an "absolute masterpiece".


A total of 133 examples were produced from 1964 through 1968.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

1979 Honda CB750F Super Sport "Montjuïc Special"by Luis Etchenique


I'm not often impressed by motorcycle builds, but this Honda CB750F Supert Sport built by my friend Luis Etchenique is just a work of art in my eyes. Luis Etchenique built this bike as a tribute to the Honda RCB machines that won the 24 Hours of Montjuïc in Barcelona, Spain, back in 1976.


Stan Woods in Montjuic 1976

The 1976 edition of the 24 Hours of Montjuïc, won by Stan Woods and Charlie Williams on a Honda 941, was the 22nd edition of this race, organized by the Barcelona Motorists Association at the Circuit de Montjuïc on the weekend of July 3 and 4. It was the second round of the European Endurance Championship (called the FIM Cup until 1975) that year.

That year's extremely hot Barcelona summer forced the Honda Britain ( Stan Woods/Charlie Williams ), and Honda France ( Jean Claude Chemarin/Christian Leon ) teams to remove the machines' cowlings as to allow for a much needed improved cooling. You could see all the hardware, the mechanisms, the internal components. I recall being at the pits ... in awe of such raw performance and engineering.

I was at the time a teenager, and I promised myself that one day I would build a bike that would convey a similar feeling; a bike where you could see its engine, the carbs, the exhaust -- its guts and its soul.

For this project I used a 1979 CB750 Super Sport I found ( in need of many of its original parts ), which otherwise would've probably ended up in someone's junkyard. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Battle of Chickasaw Bayou

A little more than 160 years ago, the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou, also called the Battle of Walnut Hills, (fought December 26-29, 1862), was the opening engagement of the Vicksburg Campaign during the American Civil War. Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton repulsed an advance by Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman that was intended to lead to the capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton - Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman

On December 26, three Union divisions under Sherman disembarked at Johnson's Plantation on the Yazoo River to approach the Vicksburg defenses from the northeast while a fourth landed farther upstream on December 27. On December 27, the Union army pushed their lines forward through the swamps toward the Walnut Hills, which were strongly defended. On December 28, several futile attempts were made to get around these defenses. On December 29, Sherman ordered a frontal assault, which was repulsed with heavy casualties, and then withdrew. This Confederate victory and the victory against Grant at Holly Springs frustrated Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's attempts to take Vicksburg by a direct approach.

Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant

Starting in November 1862, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, commanding Union forces in Mississippi, undertook a campaign to capture the city of Vicksburg, high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, one of two Confederate strong points (the other being Port Hudson, Louisiana) that denied the Union complete control of the Mississippi River. Grant split his 70,000 men army into two wings. One commanded by himself and one commanded by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman. Sherman commanded the Right Wing, or XIII Corps, Army of the Tennessee, redesignated the XV Corps on December 22. His expeditionary force of 32,000 troops was organized into four divisions, commanded by Brig. Gens. Andrew J. Smith, Morgan L. Smith, George W. Morgan, and Frederick Steele.

Up. left Andrew J. Smith - Morgan L. Smith, Lo. left George W. Morgan - Frederick Steele

Grant's wing marched south down the Mississippi Central Railroad, making a forward base at Holly Springs. He planned a two-pronged assault in the direction of Vicksburg. As Sherman advanced down the river, Grant would continue with the remaining forces (about 40,000) down the railroad line to Oxford, where he would wait for developments, hoping to lure the Confederate army out of the city to attack him in the vicinity of Grenada, Mississippi.

USS Baron DeKalb Gunboat in 1862

The seven gunboats and fifty-nine troop transports commanded by Rear Adm. David D. Porter departed Memphis, Tennessee, on December 20, stopped at Helena, Arkansas, to pick up additional troops, and arrived at Milliken's Bend above Vicksburg on December 24. After advancing up the Yazoo River, the transports disembarked Sherman's men at Johnson's Plantation, opposite Steele's Bayou, north of the city. Preceding the landing, the U.S. Navy conducted torpedo clearing operations on the Yazoo, during which the ironclad USS Cairo was sunk.

This photo is of a soldier sitting next to Chickasaw Bayou, north of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The exact point on the bayou is not known. 

The Confederate forces opposing Sherman's advance were from the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, commanded by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, a Pennsylvanian who chose to fight for the South. The officer in direct command of the defenses of Vicksburg was Maj. Gen. Martin L. Smith, who commanded four brigades led by Brig. Gens. Seth M. Barton, John C. Vaughn, John Gregg, and Edward D. Tracy. Brig. Gen. Stephen D. Lee commanded a provisional division with brigades commanded by Cols. William T. Withers and Allen Thomas; Lee was the primary commander of the Confederate defense in the Walnut Hills until the arrival late on December 29 of Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson. Although the Union forces outnumbered the men to their front by two to one (30,720 to 13,792), they faced a formidable maze of both natural and man-made defenses.

Up. left Martin L. Smith -John C. Vaughn, Lo. left John Gregg - Edward D. Tracy

First was a thick entanglement of trees, which was broken intermittently by swampland. Chickasaw Bayou, a stream that was chest-deep, 50 yards wide, and choked with trees, also acted as a barrier to Sherman's men because it was parallel to the planned line of advance and hampers communication between units. Furthermore, the Confederates had formed dense barriers using felled trees for abatis.

On December 26, Sherman deployed the brigades of Col. John F. DeCourcy and Brig. Gens. David Stuart and Francis P. Blair, Jr., to perform reconnaissance and find weaknesses in a Confederate defense. They moved slowly ahead through the difficult terrain, skirmishing with S.D. Lee's covering force that had been at Mrs. Lake's plantation. On December 28, Steele's division attempted to turn the Confederate right flank, but was repulsed by Confederate artillery fire as they advanced on a narrow front.

Up. left  John F. DeCourcy - David Stuart, Lo. left Francis P. Blair - S.D. Lee (Conf.)

On the morning of December 29, Sherman ordered an artillery bombardment of the Confederate defenses to weaken them before a general Federal advance. For almost four hours, an artillery duel took place all along the line of battle, but did little damage. At 11 a.m., the duel ceased, and the infantry deployed into their lines of battle. Understanding the formidable nature of the Confederate fortifications, Sherman remarked, "We will lose 5,000 men before we take Vicksburg, and may as well lose them here as anywhere else. »

At noon, Union troops advanced with a cheer. Blair's brigade moved on the left, DeCourcy's in the center, followed by Brig. Gen. John M. Thayer's brigade on the right; all of Thayer's brigade except the 4th Iowa Infantry was ordered not to follow Thayer's orders by General George W. Morgan (the order conveyed by General Steele who was officially Thayer's superior.) Thus, instead of arriving before the Confederate lines with 3500 men, Thayer found himself with 500. Colonel James A. Williamson, commanding the 4th Iowa, was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that day. They crossed water barriers and abatis and carried the advance rifle pits on the weight of sheer numbers, but met stiff resistance when they came against the main Confederate line and began to crumble under the heavy fire. The survivors fell back across the bayou on a corduroy bridge. S.D. Lee ordered his men to make a counterattack, during which they captured 332 Union soldiers and four battle flags.

Brig. Gen. John M. Thayer - Colonel James A. Williamson

Another assault ordered by Sherman was conducted by two divisions under A.J. Smith (his own division and that of M.L. Smith, who had been wounded the day before) advancing across Chickasaw Bayou to seize the Indian Mound that was in the center of the Confederate line, defended by Barton and Gregg. Skirmishers from the brigades of Cols. Giles A. Smith and Thomas Kilby Smith covered the bayou crossing and the 6th Missouri Infantry of G. A. Smith's brigade led the way with 20 pioneers, building a road on the far bank. Five attempts to carry the position at the Indian mound were repulsed.

On the far Union right, an attack by Col. William J. Landram's brigade of A.J. Smith's division was easily repulsed by the Confederates of Vaughn's brigade.

Painting of Brig. Gen. John Crawford Vaughn, of Roane County, Tennessee, with his Tennessee Brigade in 1863.

That evening, Sherman declared that he was "generally satisfied with the high spirit manifested" by his men although their attacks had failed in the face of strong Confederate positions on the high bluffs. The battle was a lopsided victory for the Confederates: Union casualties were 208 killed, 1,005 wounded, and 563 captured or missing, the majority among the 4th Iowa and the brigades of Blair and De Courcy. Confederate casualties were light at 57 killed, 120 wounded, and 10 missing. Sherman conferred with Adm. Porter, whose naval gunfire had also failed to do any significant damage to the enemy. They decided to resume the attacks on the following day and Porter sent a boat to Memphis to get more small arms ammunition.

This photo was titled "Chickasaw Bayou, Mississippi, The poison spring. Battlefield of Chickasaw Bayou" by the photographer William Redish Pywell. The photograph is assumed to have been taken at the time of or shortly after the battle in December, 1862. It appears to show a wagon, limber or caisson partially submerged in water at the bottom of what is assumed to be either Chickasaw Bayou or McNutt Lake (see maps). Amazingly, there also appears to be the body of a soldier lying in the mud beyond and just above the wagon wheel (see zoomed section below). If this photo is correctly identified, it may be the only known image of the Chickasaw Bayou battlefield at or near the time of the battle. The terrain certainly matches the various descriptions of the bayou and surrounding landscape.

By the morning of December 30, Sherman had concluded that resuming the attacks at the same location would be fruitless and he and Porter planned a joint army-navy attack on Drumgould's Bluff to the northeast, hoping that the steep bluffs would provide cover for his men as they advanced. It was imperative that such a movement be started in secrecy so that the Confederates would not shift their defensive forces. The movement commenced on December 31, but was called off in heavy fog on January 1, 1863.

Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest - Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn,

During this period, the overland half of Grant's offensive was also failing. His lines of communication were disrupted by raids by Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and by Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn, who destroyed a large supply depot in the Holly Springs Raid on December 20. Unable to sustain his army without these supplies, Grant abandoned his overland advance. Sherman realized that his corps would not be reinforced by Grant and decided to withdraw his expedition, moving to the mouth of the Yazoo on January 2. On January 5, Sherman sent a letter to General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck, summing up the campaign (in a manner reminiscent of a famous statement by Julius Caesar), "I reached Vicksburg at the time appointed, landed, assaulted, and failed." He and his command were then temporarily assigned to Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand for an expedition up the Arkansas River and the Battle of Arkansas Post. Although Grant tried a number of operations, or "experiments", to reach Vicksburg over the winter, the Vicksburg Campaign did not begin again in earnest until April 1863.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

A house in heaven or Hell



Thanks to the Vieux Carré Digital Survey, I was able to retrace a piece of the history of my great-grandparents in New Orleans. On Saturday, April 25, 1857, my great-great-grandfather Joseph Fassy of New Orleans inherited the property of his brother Vincent Fassy located at 940 Saint-Louis St in New Orleans.


Following the evaluation of the Vieux Carré Commission, the house was and still is a two-story brick commercial building in Creole style from 1830 built on land forming the corner of Saint-Louis and Burgundy St measuring F.M. 29' 10" frontage on Saint-Louis by 84' on Burgundy. It was a house with four apartments (rooms), a gallery and two wardrobes, built in half-timbering and a wood-fired kitchen."
Thirty-one years later, on Monday April 30, 1888, my great-grandfather Albert and my great-great-aunt Octavie Fassy, in turn ,inherited from their father Joseph. In 1896, 18 years later, on Monday July 27, Albert and Octavie sold the house to a certain Mr. Augustin Nicolas Tourné.


In 1857, Joseph also bequeathed to his son Albert and his daughter Octavie a property located at 430 Burgundy St. which he himself had inherited from his brother Vincent.

During my research, it appears that Vincent Fassy had bought this house in 1839 from a certain Mr. Antoine Roubet, a slave owner for the sum of $950.

 430 Burgundy St.

For those who know me, you can easily imagine what this kind of research can do to me. You will of course tell me that it was another era, other mentalities but still... If I manage to retrace, more or less, the history of my family I cannot help but wonder what what happened to these five slaves. I managed to find the trace of several slaves bought or sold by this Mr. Roubet, these were :

- Constance, aged 30, mother of two children, speaking French, purchased by Mr Antoine Roubet on April 6, 1815. Constance was sold in 1818 by Mr Roubet to Mr Debuys.
- Théodore, Constance's son, was bought by Monsieur Roubet in 1815 and sold to Monsieur Debuys in 1818.
- Désirée, Constance's daughter, was purchased by Monsieur Roubet in 1815. 

Thank God I did not find Fassy's name on the list of New Orleans slave owners on the Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy Database but the fact remains that this "testimony" should not make us forget what those troubled times were and what they led to a whole generation of Americans fighting against each other.

When we say "if the walls could talk", some would tell stories that we would prefer to forget but which must be remembered