When I see those December car commercials with big red ribbons tied onto cars’ roofs, I’m skeptical that anyone would spend that much money on a Christmas present. However, looking over just how quickly the special edition luxury cars that retailer Neiman-Marcus has put in their Christmas Book for the last 17 years have usually sold out, often in a matter of minutes, it’s clear that some well-heeled folks do indeed enjoy buying cars as gifts for others or for themselves. Last year’s Neiman Marcus Christmas car was the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider and NM’s allotment of a dozen McLarens sold out in less than two hours. This year the Texas based retailer is selling 10 special edition 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volantes at $344,500 each. It appears that Saks Fifth Avenue has been looking over those same sales figures and has decided to get into the Christmas car market with a limited run of 100 2014 Cadillac ELR Saks Fifth Avenue Special Editions priced at $89,500. Available exclusively through the Saks Holiday Catalog, the Saks edition of Cadillac’s extended range EV based on the Chevy Volt costs about the MSRP of a new Mitsubishi Mirage more than a standard ’14 ELR, ~$13,500. (Read More…)
Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber
First off, I want to apologize to our readers for not getting these photos posted in a more timely manner. T’is the season and the Mustang reveal was not the only press event in Detroit today. That being said, the segment of the four continent six city reveal that took place in Dearborn was part new product reveal, part car show and part pep rally and a good time was had by all. In addition to the all new 2015 Mustang up on stage, the lobby of Ford’s conference center was filled with a number of significant customer owned historical Mustangs. Mark Fields, Ford’s COO, did the reveal in Dearborn, aided by soon-to-retire VP of styling J. Mays, and in general the crowd of Ford employees (the allotted tickets were grabbed up in 4 minutes I was told), executives, dealers, members of the media and a number of Mustang club members who drove in for the event had a positive reaction to the new ‘Stang.
I was hoping to get some photos of the new Mustang’s new independent rear suspension, but the car up on stage was a pushmobile. The few actual running prototypes were allotted to other cities in the multi-location event and the Mustang’s hometown got the “leftovers” as one member of the Mustang team told me.
Full gallery after the jump. (Read More…)
Not following the hip-hop scene closely, I’m not really sure who Nas is, a quick search shows that he’s a successful rapper and actor. I do know who Malcolm Campbell and Viktor Frankl were. Sir Malcolm was a British racer and writer, who set and held world land and water speed records in the 1920s and 30s in cars and boats called Blue Bird, many of his own design, breaking the LSR nine different times. Campbell’s final record, set at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the Blue Bird V, made him the first human to drive a car more than 300 mph. Frankl was a psychiatrist and neurologist who founded a form of existential analysis called logotherapy. After surviving the Holocaust of European Jewry by the Nazis, with his psychic wounds still fresh in 1946 he wrote Mans Search For Meaning, which hasn’t gone out of print since its publication. As part of an ad campaign that’s something about ‘chasing your wild rabbit‘, Hennesey cognac had director Martin de Thurah cut two versions of a long form television commercial, really a short film, called The Man Who Couldn’t Slow Down, about Campbell. It’s not a commercial trying to sell a car but it’s the best commercial with a car that I’ve seen in a long time. (Read More…)
This year, two documentaries concerning serial automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin have been released. Coincidentally, both of them were the products of sons whose fathers were part of the story they were telling. First, after four years of sitting completed, in the can so to speak, The Entrepreneur, filmed and directed by Bricklin’s son Jonathan, with an executive producer’s credit to Supersize Me‘s Morgan Spurlock, was finally released this past summer for public viewing.
When I write about cars, my words are inspired by the works of Leonard Setright. While I haven’t actually read a word of what he’s written I know his writing and have educated myself about it and its significance.
Just how silly did that sound? About as silly as an artist saying that he’s inspired by a work that he hasn’t actually seen. What’s this doing on a car site? The work of art is arguably the greatest piece of automotive fine art in the world. (Read More…)
Checking out GoFurtherLive.com, the site Ford has set up to livestream video from their upcoming reveal of the all-new 2015 Mustang, it appears that the teaser video may include exterior and interior views of the new car, along with the possibility that the 50th anniversary version of Ford’s pony car will actually monitor the driver’s health. (Read More…)
I’ve never quite understood the appeal of burnouts, well, unless you’re warming up your tires in preparation for a 1/4 mile run on a dragstrip. Sure, it’s nice to spin your tires once and a while, just to reassure yourself that the car has enough power to break the driving wheels loose if you need to do it, but just spinning your wheels to make big plumes of smokes seems to me to be, well, just spinning your wheels. I’m no fan of drifting, but at least all the wheelslip in drifting competitions has a point. It’s one thing if the smoky burnouts are in celebration of a race win, though to be honest, those got old a long time ago, about as spontaneous as Vettel or Schumacher spraying champagne after a F1 win from pole to pole, but turning your tires into rubber smoke while going nowhere just strikes me as pointless and wasteful.
Burnouts are also not without risk. (Read More…)
When word started leaking that Charles Morgan had been fired by the family owned traditional British sports car maker, one of the reasons given was that Mr. Morgan had, in an unauthorized manner, told a group of Morgan owners that an improved version of the 3 Wheeler would be launched.
Jaguar has announced that they’re getting back into the engine designing and building business, after more than a decade and a half of being dependent on buying motors from Ford. There was a time, though, that Jaguar designed and built what many considered at the time to be the most advanced engines in the automotive world. There was the venerable and powerful six-cylinder XK engine introduced in 1948 and in production for over four decades, followed by the Jaguar V12, introduced in the late 1960s. The XK engine was designed by Walter Hassan and William Heynes, while Hassan joined Harry Mundy to lead the design of the V12. Between the two of them, Hassan and Mundy had a hand in designing many of the most technologically advanced postwar British engines that were ever made. (Read More…)
The Dodge brand’s centennial celebration began this week with the announcement of special 100th Anniversary Editions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger. After more than a year of preparation, John and Horace Dodge went for a ride in public in a car with their own brand for the first time on November 14, 1914. That was after eleven years of supplying Henry Ford and his car company with every major component of Ford cars except for bodies, wheels and tires. The critical role that the Dodge brothers had in the success of Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company is not widely known outside of serious Dodge and early Ford enthusiasts. It has been reliably estimated that from the founding of the Ford Motor Company in 1903 until 1914. when the Dodges ended their contracts with Ford, they supplied about 60% of the total value of the cars that Ford “built”. Without the Dodge brothers, Ford Motor Company would never have gotten off the ground.
This is the $1.1 million Youabian Puma on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It was designed by Dr. Kambiz Youabian. His day gig is apparently cosmetic medicine. I’m not sure that I’d be so eager to put human flesh at the mercy of Dr. Youabian’s sense of beauty and proportion. Discuss amongst yourselves.
With most of the new cars and concepts leaked weeks ago there hasn’t been much real breaking news from the Tokyo Motor Show, so it was a bit of a surprise that Yamaha announced that it will be the first automotive manufacturer to embrace master automotive designer Gordon Murray’s revolutionary iStream assembly process and that it will use the iStream process to build a lightweight two-seat city car called the Yamaha Motiv. The Motiv, based on Murray’s T25 and T27 concepts, will be available in both gasoline and electric versions and targeted at the European market. (Read More…)
When you’re going to a car show featuring 80 and 90 year old pre-war classic American cars, you don’t expect to run across a half dozen exotic Italian sports cars. Earlier this year, the Gilmore Car Museum, near Hickory Corners, Michigan, just north of Kalamazoo, was hosting a meet of the Pierce-Arrow Society. In addition to their own collection, the Gilmore hosts a number of smaller museums devoted to particular marques. One of the museums on the Gilmore site is the Pierce-Arrow Museum, associated with the Pierce-Arrow Society, so the Gilmore is a natural location for a Pierce-Arrow meet. Joining the Pierce-Arrows were some cars from Peerless, another premium American motorcar from the first three decades of the 20th century. Surprisingly, the Gilmore didn’t put some of their Packards on display at the museum. Together with Packard, Pierce-Arrow and Peerless were known as the “Three-Ps of Motordom”, the three most prestigious automobile brands in the United States. Even without Packards on the show field there was a third P at the Gilmore, however, as apparently a Pantera club decided to drive over and visit the museum. There were a half dozen of the Italian-American sports cars parked side by side in the parking lot.
You’re probably familiar with the rough outlines of the De Tomaso Pantera’s history involving an Argentinian who wanted to build midengine Italian sports cars and a guy in Dearborn named Hank the Deuce who wanted to thumb his nose at Enzo Ferrari. Powered by a Ford 351 Cleveland V8 and sold at Lincoln-Mercury dealers from 1971 until the 1973 oil crisis cratered performance car sales, over 6,000 Panteras were sold through FoMoCo. After Henry Ford II lost interest, Alejandro deTomaso kept the Pantera in more limited production for the European market and it was actually built into the 1990s.
Less well known to today’s car enthusiasts are Peerless and Pierce-Arrow.
Far be it from me to criticize others for trying to leverage profit. I like capitalism, so charging rich folks ridiculous amounts of money for trifles only the hoi oligoi can afford is just ducky with me. Some years ago (you can figure out when from the prices) I remember reading an automotive column at the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal which said that when you’re buying an expensive German car, a S-Klasse Mercedes Benz or a BMW 7 Series, you have to be careful when checking off items on the options list, because you can easily turn a $80,000 car into one nicely into the six figures. My thought at the time was that not many folks were scrimping to make the payments on an S or 7 and that if you could genuinely afford spending 80 grand on a car, you could probably swing the payments on one costing 25 or 30 percent more. Still, the prices that companies like Porsche and Ferrari charge for some of their optional features are worthy of note, and possibly mockery for the seller and buyers as well. Well, you can put Terry Southern’s Magic Christion on the DVD player or cue up Badfinger’s Come And Get It, because today we’re going to look at how some fools part with their money, sonny.
Long before Knight Rider’s KITT, back in the mid 1960s there was a television show about a car that talked. I’m not sure just how they pitched the idea to the network, my guess is that it had something to do with the popularity of the Mister Ed show. If a horse could talk, why not a car? Anyhow, the 1965 show was called My Mother The Car and it’s generally acknowledged to be one of the worst tv sitcoms ever. Some feel it may even be the worst television show, comedy or drama, ever, though it managed to last a full season, 30 episodes. The show starred Jerry Van Dyke whose character discovers, while shopping for a used car, that his late mother, played by Ann Sothern’s voice over the car radio, has been reincarnated as a 1928 Porter. Don’t bother doing a search, there was no 1928 Porter, unlike Jack Benny’s Maxwell. Though there has been a couple of car companies named Porter, Mother, the car, was fictional, created just for the tv show, said to be named after the show’s production manager. (Read More…)