Friday, June 29, 2012

Fine Food And Cocktails

New Mill Restaurant by William 74
New Mill Restaurant, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

The New Mill Restaurant, a classic little roadhouse along 251, just outside of Rockford, Illinois. It probably dates from the days when this far out of the city it was farmland, and New Milford wasn't a suburb of R-town. The building's been modernized, but they've kept this cool old neon sign out front.

I don't know if it still works-the floodlights at the bottom don't bode well for it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Enjoy Sprite!

Enjoy Sprite! by William 74
Enjoy Sprite!, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Of all the pop brands out there, the one you usually see being used as a store sign somewhere is Coke, followed by Pepsi. Other things show up, but are few and far between compared to the Big Two. This one's a sixties Sprite sign, advertising a grocery store in Rockford, Illinois. I've only ever seen one of these old Sprite signs, up north near Wisconsin, perched on top of an old gas station in the middle of nowhere.

I think it's pretty cool, especially with the stars in the middle section, and it's in fantastic shape.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Divco Deuce

Ford by William 74
Ford, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
I liked this car the second I saw it-I liked the stance, the color, the six Strombergs atop the motor, the chop, but mostly I liked the wheels, a super rare set of "milk truck" steelies.

Milk truck wheels were just that-wheels from old Divco milk delivery trucks. In the very early days, a few hot rodders discovered that these trucks had really tall wheels, which gave a usefully tall final drive ratio for speed events. But, they were pretty heavy, and kind of plain, and never really caught on for street-driven rods.

Genuine Divco wheels were also hard to find (although I bet a lot of them were just thrown away back in the day), and even more so now. But, other manufacturers used a similar pattern-I think these are actually Plymouth "high clearance" wheels-but any milk truck style wheel is a neat style choice. Ford

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel by William 74
Ferris Wheel, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
A Ferris wheel at a local fun fair. This pretty much screams "lazy summertime" to me.

Also, the Ferris Wheel was invented in Chicago!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Camaro From Canonsburg

Yenko Camaro by William 74
Yenko Camaro, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Among the famous muscle car dealerships of the sixties, Yenko Chevrolet, from Canonsburg, PA, looms large. Racing driver and Chevy dealer Don Yenko started his car modifying career in the early sixties, after having been impressed enough with the Corvair to get it approved for SCCA road racing. He marketed the final product as the Yenko Stinger, and customers could order one up in different states of tune, from mild to wild.

This was merely a tune-up for the main event, though. When GM introduced it's Camaro pony car, the biggest engine available was the 396. Since there's no substitute for cubic inches, Yenko and his crew developed a transplant, shoehorning in the 427 in Corvette L-72 spec, along with suspension and drivetrain modifications to handle the Camaro's newfound power.

The new Yenko Super Car was a success, to the point that Yenko was eventually able to order new Camaros with the 427 already installed. Using GM's Central Office Production Order (COPO) system, Yenko was able to perform the same trick with the Chevelle and Nova as well-legendary hot rods all.

Don Yenko eventually got out of the modification business, increasingly stringent EPA regulations making it harder to sell such heavily modified cars. By the early 80's he'd sold the dealership as well, but not before selling one last scorcher, the Turbo Z Camaro.

This one's a '68, I believe.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rockford Mattress Co.

Rockford Mattress Co. by William 74
Rockford Mattress Co., a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
A very old, very weathered, de-neon'd neon sign in midtown Rockford. The whole neighborhood is a bit of a rundown faded timewarp-lots of little storefronts and buildings with old bones. Two separate painted signs for Coca Cola and one for Bull Durham Tobacco. And this.

There appears to still be a furniture store in this building, although it wasn't open at the time. I'm surprised they continue to use this old sign. I'd love to have it-I'd paint one side up all shiny and new, and keep the other in it's current state of decay. All new glass, of course.

I also wonder how it got that dent in the side.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pokagon Pop

Pokagon by William 74
Pokagon, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
An old, and kind of rare, Pokagon Pop bottle I found at the flea market. Bottled in Angola, Indiana, Pokagon was a regional favorite for many years, and came in all sorts of flavors. Named after the Potawatomi chief who befriended area settlers, Pokagon was bottled between 1925-ish and the 1970's. I don't think I ever had any-we seldom traveled to northwest Indiana and I may have not been born when it went out of production. I'm told it was very good, though.

I shoulda bought this bottle, too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Leviathan by William 74
Leviathan, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
The Leviathan, locomotive number 63, was built for the Central Pacific Railroad in 1868, one of four purchased from the Schenectady Locomotive Works. A wood burning locomotive, the Leviathan was a sister to the famous Jupiter, which participated in the famous Golden Spike ceremony on the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Like the Jupiter and their other sisters, the Leviathan was scrapped many years ago-as trains got longer these small, early locomotives could no longer keep up. This stunning recreation of number 63 was completed in 2009, and tours American railroad museums and other special events. It's beautiful, and offers an interesting glimpse to an important part of history.

Friday, June 8, 2012

GE Appliances

GE Appliances by William 74
GE Appliances, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
A vintage GE neon sign, in the window of an appliance store in Morrison, Illinois. This is a classic hanging sign, and is still in great shape despite years of being out in the weather.


Jets by William 74
Jets, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
The Black Diamond aerobatic team, flying in a nice formation. They use Eastern Bloc jets for their team-the four in the middle are Aero L-39 Albatros trainers from Czechoslovakia, and the two on the ends are MiG-17's. The Aero, in particular, is gaining popularity in the US as a privately owned jet warbird, as it's fairly inexpensive (relatively speaking, of course) and agile. The MiG's are two of 27 believed to be in private hands in the States-they are also quite maneuverable and well suited to aerobatics.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pennsy Noir

Pennsy Noir by William 74
Pennsy Noir, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Built specifically for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the GG1 was a unique, streamlined electric locomotive. They were also long lived-the GG1 was introduced in 1935, and served with the Pennsy, as well as successor companies Penn Central, Conrail, and Amtrak. The last GG1 left service in 1983.

Of the 140 GG1's built, fifteen survive. Sadly, none are currently operational, due mostly to the expense and other difficulties related to the large electrical transformers needed for such a large electric locomotive. This one, PRR 4927, served with Amtrak until the late 70's, and is now in storage at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Robert's Western World

Robert's Western World by William 74
Robert's Western World, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Happy Neon Friday! Today we have a re-imagining of an old shot of Robert's, to make it look older shot of Robert's.