Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber

By on January 5, 2016

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Car designer Henrik Fisker is planning on launching a new vehicle, called the Force 1, next week at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, in conjunction with Bob Lutz’s VL Automotive.

To make sure that the debut comes off without a hitch, according to the Detroit News, Fisker is suing Aston Martin in U.S. Federal Court for $100 million, alleging civil extortion.

Fisker used to be in charge of design for Aston Martin. The British automaker had claimed earlier that Fisker’s new design was cribbed from one of its own. (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2016

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As we enter 2016, the management here at TTAC has asked the staff writers to come up with summaries of our contributions to the site in 2015. Mark Stevenson gave us a pretty wide latitude, suggesting we could reference both posts that got lots of eyeballs and clicks and stories that didn’t get the attention we’d have preferred.

Before I get to my favorite posts of 2015, however, I need to get something off of my chest. (Read More…)

By on December 28, 2015
The first Ford electric car, 1914

The first Ford electric car, 1914

Ford Motor Company recently announced that it will be investing more than $4.5 billion over the next five years into its electric vehicle program and that it will have 13 electric vehicles on sale by 2020. The announcement follows the Ford company’s original investment in EV technology and the first Ford electric cars by 102 years.

Hopefully, the current spending will yield more fruitful results than did Henry Ford’s original look into EVs more than a century ago. (Read More…)

By on December 22, 2015

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Our friend Mr. Baruth is on a bit of a motorcycle kick lately and, while he’s not quite ready to cruise the interstate highways on a Honda Gold Wing, he recently described the Wing as “one of those brilliant products that both defines a market segment and then comes to utterly dominate it.”

The same could be said for another two-wheeler, though one that couldn’t be more different from the Gold Wing. I’m talking about the Vespa scooter: Introduced in war torn Europe in 1946 and used as basic transportation by Italians rebuilding their country, the Vespa scooter became a bit of a fashion statement by the 1960s (and an essential accessory for the Mod craze in England). It’s been adopted by the developing world as basic transport in the decades since then, and is once again becoming a fashion statement in the 21st century. Virtually every motor scooter made in the last 70 years has followed the Vespa’s template.

This post, however, isn’t about a Vespa scooter. It’s about a Vespa car. (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2015

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Ford Motor Company has announced that, in partnership with the Corning glass works, the new Ford GT supercar will have a windshield and engine cover made of what they call Gorilla Glass Hybrid.

In case you don’t know, Gorilla Glass is Corning’s brand name for the ion-exchange-strengthened glass used in smartphones and tablets. Instead of two sheets of annealed glass laminated with a middle sheet of clear polymer — as in conventional safety glass — Gorilla Glass Hybrid replaces the inner layer with Gorilla Glass.
(Read More…)

By on December 16, 2015

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If you want to see a great example of automotive journalism, go read Raphael Orlove’s account of the unclear history of the development of the Saleen S7 supercar.

Triggered by an email tip, Raph checked into the rumor of the Saleen S7 starting its life as an Aston Martin racing car before being stolen by Steve Saleen himself. Orlove spoke to the entire cast of characters involved in bringing the Saleen S7 into reality — Steve Saleen, Reeves Callaway, UK racecar builder Ray Mallock, and Phil Frank, who designed the body — to try and clarify the matter.

Since none of their stories precisely align — and in some cases contradict each other — Orlove wasn’t able to determine the true provenance of the S7, but he did a great job of debunking the Aston Martin rumor by tracking down leads. It’s also well written and highly entertaining.

The timing of what’s essentially a story about intellectual property coincidentally got published soon after a recent auction for that same intellectual property along with what appears to be enough parts and tooling to at least contemplate building a few S7s again. (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2015

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Many car buyers don’t like it when car dealers put hard to remove dealer decals on their new cars. Now a Texas plumber is suing a dealer for not removing decals advertising his plumbing business from a traded-in truck.

When Mark Oberholtzer, who owns Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, Texas, traded in his Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup on a new truck at AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway in October 2013, he says he started to remove the decals — but a dealer employee stopped him.

Oberholtzer now claims, in a $1 million lawsuit recently filed against the dealer, that a salesman said removing the decals would blemish the paint and the dealer had “something better for removal”. (Read More…)

By on December 8, 2015

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The Jewish festival of Chanukah, pronounced Hanukkah by those who can’t handle guttural phonemes, starts on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, which corresponds this year to the evening of December 6th. Chanukah is an event that should resonate with car enthusiasts — after all, it celebrates a miracle involving oil (well, that and a victory in a military/cultural/civil war with the Seleucid Greeks and Hellenistic Jews).

After defeating the Seleucids and reclaiming Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, the Hasmonean Jews (aka Maccabees) found that there was only sufficient consecrated oil to light the Temple’s seven branched menorah, which was supposed to burn continuously, for just one day. It took about a week to prepare and purify new consecrated oil and, as the story goes, that one small jar of oil miraculously burned for eight days, till there was sufficient new oil.

(Read More…)

By on December 8, 2015

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If you’re a car enthusiast, you likely get asked by your friends and acquaintances for advice on their automotive purchases. If you write about cars, that probability becomes a certainty. When they ask something really general like “what’s the best car?” it’s a bit annoying because what fits your needs best may not be the best choice for your neighbor. However, sometimes you’re presented with a genuine need and you want to give sound advice. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2015

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We’re currently going through a period where conventional sedans and sports cars are losing favor with consumers relative to higher-riding SUVs and crossovers. That’s true from entry level brands to the top shelf. Ultra luxury and exotic car companies have noticed the kind of success that Porsche has had with the Cayenne and just about all the high end companies — with the exception of McLaren and Ferrari — are working on some kind of utility vehicles.

Lamborghini showed the Urus concept in 2012 and earlier this year said they’d be doubling the capacity at their Sant’Agata, Italy factory to put a SUV into production, starting in 2017. Bentley, like Lamborghini a part of the Volkswagen group, is coming out with the dubiously styled Bentayga, whose platform will be shared by the Lambo SUV and new generations of the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.

The Urus, or whatever Lamborghini decides to call it, however, won’t be the first SUV to wear the Lamborghini brand. (Read More…)

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