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Every Trivia Bit Counts

Trivial pursuit: Who wrote "Ooga Horns and Rumble Seats" and beneath what subtitle?


The answer we are looking for: Don Cunningham authored the book and used "Yesteryear American Car Trivia" as the subtitle.

This slender, fun paperback with a cover in Duesenberg yellow was published last month by Encore Edition Publications, whose president, comptroller, editor, proofreader, gofer and solitary employee is Cunningham.

(Here it must be noted that among the drawbacks of self-publishing is a definite lack of funding for arcane reference books. They would have instructed Cunningham in echoic or imitative words that mimic such sounds as the rusty roar of an antique car horn. They rule that "ooga" is spelled "ah-oogah" or "oogah." As in "oom-pah.")

"Too late now," says Cunningham, a mechanic with Almeida's Classic Cars in Turlock on California 99, 10 miles south of Modesto. "All the books are printed."

The first-time author, 62, was conducting his first-time media interview. He was on a cordless phone, at work, and sprawled on a creeper. Best place to be, he says, when you're scraping rust and crud from the gas tank of a '32 Chrysler.

"I have quite a knowledge of old cars," says Cunningham, whose classic-car specialty is Fords as old as he is. "Then I bought a new computer, found it much easier to use than a typewriter, learned how to form pages and decided to write the book."

So far, he has found only a dozen customers willing to spend $14.27 (including shipping, handling and California taxes) on his homemade book, obtainable from Encore Edition Publications, 2908 E. Whitmore Ave., Ceres CA 95307. But he is building a Web site for the book on that new computer of his using "one of those AOL do-it-yourself sites."

When it comes to promotion and serialization rights to "Ooga Horns and Rumble Seats," Cunningham also is doing it himself. And he drives hard bargains. When asked if we could pilfer his prose for this month's quiz, he held out for a Highway 1 commuter mug made of Starbucks-resistant stainless steel and plastic.

As always, grading is on the honor system, with five points for each correct answer. Score 50 to 40 and you probably know the ignition sequence of the 1937 Ford Model 60; 40 to 30 and living in Turlock, you might be hired to sweep out Almeida's Classic Cars; 30 or lower, you are still in high school and think a 1999 Civic is rad.

Answers appear on W8, except for that one tough, final answer that could win you a Highway 1 commuter mug.

1. What car do we commonly think of when we hear an ooga--or oogah or ah-oogah--horn?

2. When did Chevrolet move its gearshift lever from the floor to the steering column and give us three-on-the-tree?

3. The first and only year, please, when Ford mounted a spare wheel outside the Thunderbird?

4. There were three Pep Boys, but what was the family name of John, Henry, Clem, Pete and Jacob who built wheelbarrows before graduating to making cars?

5. General Electric? Philco? RCA Victor? Or none of the above? So who did make radios for the Tucker?

6. What was the first car to feature hydraulic brakes?

7. From Henry the first to Bill the latest, there has almost always been a Ford at the helm of Ford Motor. But in what year did pioneer Henry Ford die?

8. The quadrangle at Cambridge University has four sides. The Pentagon has five. How many sides were on Packard's famous red emblem?

9. Early dashboards were made of brass, wood or leather. What was the first car to use a padded dash?

10. Corvettes and Vipers have been there, done that. But what was the official pace car of the 1947 Indy 500?


Here's the toughie. Highway 1 commuter mugs go to the first 25 readers who mail correct answers to Highway 1, Business Section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles CA 90053. Entries are due by Nov. 12. We're lowering our standards, so Maine residents are now eligible to enter, but our contest remains void where prohibited by law. Nor is this quiz endorsed by the California Lottery.

Question: There has been a Fleetwood Packard and a Cadillac Fleetwood. And let's not forget Fleetwood Mac. The name is almost a century old, but where did it come from?



1. Model A Ford

2. 1939

3. 1956

4. Studebaker

5. Motorola

6. Duesenberg Model A

7. 1947, at the age of 83

8. Six

9. 1949 Chrysler

10. Nash Ambassador

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