Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber

By on September 6, 2014

Potential military applications of what became known as the Volkswagen Beetle were part of the earliest discussions that Ferdinand Porsche and Adolph Hitler had concerning the “people’s car” in the spring of 1934. However, it was only after what was then called the KdF-Wagen was approaching production in 1938 that Wehrmacht officials formally asked Dr. Porsche about designing a lightweight military transport vehicle, capable of both off and on road use in extreme conditions. The engineer and his design studio got to work quickly, producing a prototype based on the Type 1 in less than a month. (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2014

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Mike Alexander, the surviving member of Detroit’s preeminent custom car builders, the Alexander Brothers, passed away in July at the age of 80. Mike and his brother Larry made some of the most famous and influential customs of the 1960s and because of a new toy called Hot Wheels and a Beach Boys song & album the “A Bros” ultimately affected American culture and how the world sees us. They were as important to the world of hot rods as Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry were to rock and roll. I had the great privilege of interviewing Mike Alexander last year as part of a project I’m working on about the Dodge Deora show car, and then meet him in person at the 2013 Eyes On Design show, where I was in the right place at the right time to witness Ford GT designer Camilo Pardo hand Mike a blue ribbon for the Deora, which was on display as part of a group of Alexander Brothers’ cars at that show. Mechanical and fabricating geniuses, Mike and Larry were perhaps the most technically adept of all the builders during custom cars’ golden era. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2014

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Since it was the last design of consequence that General Motors design chief Bill Mitchell oversaw, Wayne Kady’s 1980 Cadillac Seville is thought by some to be the ultimate expression of Mitchell’s design philosophy. No doubt Mitchell was a fan of what he called the “London look”, and the ’80 Seville had that in spades: a classic vertical grille, a bustle shaped rear end, a raked C pillar and a long hood. When accused of borrowing the bustle-back from a contemporary Lincoln, Mitchell reportedly got indignant and said that he stole it from Rolls-Royce, not the cross-town competition in Dearborn. However, while Mitchell went to bat for the controversial Seville design over the objections of Cadillac management, the Seville was not the ultimate expression of his personal taste. (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2014
1968 VW Karmann Ghia. Full gallery here.

1968 VW Karmann Ghia. Full gallery here.

With a German-Italian name like Karmann Ghia it may surprise you that the little coupe/roadster built on the Volkwagen Type I (aka Beetle) chassis had its origins not on the continent but rather a few thousand miles west of Europe, in Detroit, of all places. (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2014

Click on the settings icon to watch in 2D or your choice of 3D formats. It seems that most of the media coverage of automotive startup Elio Motors and their proposed $6,800, 84 mpg reverse trike can be sorted into two groups: general media outlets that have taken a bit of a credulous gee whiz […]

By on August 26, 2014

A while back, I stumbled upon the fact that while car enthusiasts may be entertained by talk of things like independent rear suspensions, dual overhead cams, and launch control, people in general (and that set includes the subset of car enthusiasts) like to read stories about people. I think you’ll like the story of Clovis “Mickey” Nadeau, his wife Betty and her 1968 American Motors AMX. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2014

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There is news, at least partially confirmed by General Motors, that the Cadillac brand may expand its operations in New York City, moving some business functions from the RenCen in Detroit. It’s thought that moving some marketing, advertising and strategy functions to the Big Apple will add luster to GM’s luxury brand by separating it from the city of Detroit’s tarnished image, as well as make it easier to attract talent to those positions. Some people apparently have the notion that “Detroit” is this incredibly provincial and insular place and that the only way to thrive in the highly competitive  global automobile industry is to leave the Motor City behind, both figuratively and literally. That attitude, though, is nothing new, either outside Detroit or in the region. Also, the idea that the domestic car companies have been operated in Detroit by Detroiters, insulated from the rest of the country (and world) is contrary to the historical record. (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2014

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Let’s start this off with a caveat. I make no pretensions to being a photographer. At best I can compose and frame a decent snapshot. Years ago I realized that if I wanted to get more serious about photography I’d have to start learning a bunch of technical things like depth of field and f-stops and I already had enough hobbies. As a result, I have a great deal of respect for professional and serious amateur photographers and cinematographers. That respect has grown since I started writing about cars, as that gig often requires taking photographs to accompany my words.

Last Wednesday, Derek Kreindler and I worked together to make sure that The Truth About Cars had someone to cover the Dodge Charger Hellcat reveal on-site at the event, which wrapped up around noon. We managed to get almost 100 high definition color photographs of the event and the car picked out, cropped and up on this site by mid-afternoon. We also decided that the reveal, and subsequent Woodward Dream Cruise, would be a great opportunity to show you how long you would have had to wait to see color photos of an event back in the pre-digital era. (Read More…)

By on August 19, 2014

If a law recently signed into effect by New York Governor Andrew Coumo had been on the books in the 1960s, it’s possible that the Mercury Cougar might have been named something else. In that alternative universe, the law would also have likely completely changed the direction of the Mercury brand in the 1960s and 1970s. A.9004/S.6903 prohibits exhibitors of big cats, lions, tigers, jaguars/panthers, and cougars (aka mountain lions), from allowing the public to have “direct contact” with the exotic animals. For the purpose of the law, direct contact includes both physical contact like petting or posing with the animal, proximity to it, as well as allowing photography without a permanent physical barrier between them, protecting the animal and the public. The bill was sponsored in the New York Assembly by Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), an animal rights advocate. Somewhere, Chauncey the Mercury Cougar snarls. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2014

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Click on the settings icon to select 2D or your choice of 3D formats.

As far as I can determine, TTAC was the only popular car blog to publish exclusive photos from yesterday’s reveal of the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Everyone else seems to have relied on the publicity shots released by Chrysler. We care so much about the Best & Brightest that I braved the aftermath some of the worst flooding the Detroit area has experienced in almost a century to get those photographs for you to enjoy. I don’t know if hell is associated with torrential rain, but severe precipitation seems to be following the new 707 hp Hellcat HEMI V8 engine around. The recent press ride & drive for the Challenger Hellcat took place in part on a race track that had been literally inundated. (Read More…)

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