Q&A with Kit Foster: August 14, 2014

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Q. I found this emblem in an antique store and would like to identify what year Pontiac it came from. It has a large nut on the back, and the bright work looks like a combination of chrome and nickel. It is slightly curved and it is heavy for its size. Also, where on the car was it located?

— Dan O’Connor, Riverside, Calif.

A. The curve indicates it was mounted on a bumper. I see that style of emblem on 1935 to 1939 Pontiacs.


Q. I have a 1983 Chevy C10 pickup with a 307-cid V-8 and three-on-the-tree. I know overdrive was available. I was thinking with so many trucks becoming so-called resto-mods, someone may have the complete overdrive from a 1967-’72 that they would sell. My question is, would it be cost-effective and practical to do it? I want to keep using the truck but I don’t expect gas prices to get better. How much does it actually save? I don’t want to drive a mini-truck.

— Wayne A. Kaneen, Old Town, Fla.

A. It would certainly be practical. If you can’t get a complete setup from a donor truck, you could shorten the driveshaft on yours. As to how much it would save, it depends on your gear ratios and your driving patterns. If you don’t do any highway driving the overdrive will get very little use.


Q. I am trying to figure out what make of car these lights and brackets came from. The quality — plated brass, not pot metal — suggests a higher-end vehicle. The unusual sidemount bracket and light are one unit. A square-head bolt attaching the light harkens to the late ’teens, while the shape of the lights is similar to a 1929 Buick, which is not what it is.

— Tony Bult, Whitewater, Wis.


A. I don’t recall seeing anything like this, and at first glance I didn’t understand just how they mount to the vehicle. Looking more closely, I believe the lights mount to the cowl, and the curved pad ends up being vertical and strap to the inside of the sidemount spares. Can anyone ID them?


Q. Recently I watched an old movie called “Sunset Boulevard.” It prominently featured an old car owned by the elderly actress. I was wondering what the name of the car was and if it is still around today.

— Jim Luke, Mayer, Minn.

A. Fortunately the internet has brought us wonderful tools for film fanciers. The Internet Movie Data Base (www.imdb.com) tells us that the 1950 Billy Wilder film starred Gloria Swanson, as a reclusive silent screen star, and William Holden, who becomes her lover. The Internet Movie Cars Database shows stills of many of the cars used in the movie. Most prominent is the 1929 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A that Norma Desmond, Swanson’s character, owns. Does anyone know if it still exists? Back in the day, it was probably owned by one of the movie car rental companies.

To submit questions to this column: E-mail angelo.vanbogart@fwmedia.com or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

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