Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber

By on March 23, 2015

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Jason Fenske is a mechanical engineer with a degree from NC State. A car enthusiast, after a number of times explaining how cars worked to his girlfriend, with the encouragement of friends he set up the EngineeringExplained website to explain to the general public how cars, and other mechanical devices like turbine engines and jet-skis, work.

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By on March 22, 2015

It was the late 1970s. Following the oil crisis in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Japanese automakers were able to go from having a foothold on the west coast to being major players in the domestic American market. In 1976, Honda introduced the first generation Accord, a revolutionary package that combined outstanding fuel economy, front wheel drive, reliability, practicality, sprightly performance and a standard equipment list that included a stereo and air conditioning. At the time, Chrysler was headed by Lee Iacocca and in a changing automotive world, for some reason Iacocca decided that what Chrysler needed was a large personal luxury car. Burton Bouwkamp, who was director of body engineering for Chrysler at the time, recalled his boss barking “Where the hell is our Cadillac/Lincoln entry?” The result was the 1981-83 Chrysler Imperial, the last V8 powered Imperial to be produced. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2015

The UK’s CAR magazine is reporting that the Mini Superleggera roadster, first shown as a concept at last year’s Villa d’Este concours in Italy, has been given the go-ahead for production by BMW management, slated to begin in early 2018. The news isn’t much of a surprise. The concept car was a joint project of BMW and the Touring Superleggera design and coachbuilding firm. When it was introduced, BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer, who is in charge of Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW motorcycles, indicated that the Mini marque, seen by some as carrying brand extension to the point diminishing returns with their proliferation of niche vehicles, would instead be concentrating on a handful of what he called “super heroes” and that the Superleggera had the potential to be one of those models going forward. (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2015
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Gallery links below

An old friend ran the Aragon Ballroom back in the days when it was Chicago’s version of Bill Graham’s Fillmores. He told me that contemporary rock bands that didn’t know any better would insist on being higher on the bill than Sha-Na-Na. After all, Sha-Na-Na was an oldies act, with gold lame suits and greaser shtick. Sha-Na-Na, however, were great entertainers and they would kill the audience. Bowser would come to the edge of the stage, spit something out about “f’in hippies” and by the end of the set the hippies would be dancing in the aisles. The musicians who insisted on higher billing would afterwards insist on never following Sha-Na-Na again. Sometimes, though, following a great act can inspire greatness too, as when Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones reluctantly followed James Brown on the TAMI Show. Performing music or introducing new cars, you don’t want to be upstaged and if you do happen to follow your inspirations, you had better be inspired. (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2015

The Truth About Cars has followed the use of license plate recognition and storage technology by local law enforcement agencies, a practice that has raised alarms from civil liberties activists because of constitutional concerns over broad surveillance and the ability to reconstruct one’s movements from license plate data. Now it appears that United States Postal Inspection Service, the USPS’ own law enforcement agency has also, at least at one post office in Colorado, been collecting similar data from drivers. Though the device had apparently been operating for at least a few months, within an hour of Chris Halsne, of Denver’s KDVR television station, inquiring from the postal inspectors about a Golden, Colorado post office that had a camera positioned to record drivers’ faces and license plates, triggered as they left the post office property, the in-ground camera was removed. (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2015

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While I was running around the front part of Cobo Hall trying to get photos of likely competitors for the Detroit Autorama’s famed Ridler Award for the best new custom car in America, a young couple walked past me. They both looked to be about 20 years old. While I don’t know what she drives, it was pretty obvious from the screenprinted hoodie he was wearing that he drives some kind of Powerstroke diesel powered Ford pickup truck. (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2015

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Elio Motors, the startup automaker hoping to produce and sell a low cost, high mileage reverse trike announced yesterday that the prototype of the IAV designed 0.9 liter, three cylinder single overhead cam engine to be used in their vehicle has successfully started dynamometer testing. A short video of the engine running in a test cell has also been released. While it remains to be seen if Elio will be able to raise the $200 million or so they say they need to start production in 2016 (pushed back from this year), the engine test is one of the more important steps on the journey to reach that goal. (Read More…)

By on March 8, 2015

It makes sense that since the dawn of motion pictures, filmmakers have been drawn to the motive action of automobiles. There have been so many theatrical movies made that have had cars as part of the plot that Hod Rod magazine was able to poll readers on the 40 best car movies ever produced. Another perennial favorite, even more popular than car movies are horror/monster/sci-fi (yeah, I know it’s kind of broad) movies. Both genres have spawned movies from cheesy exploitation flicks to high art. I suspect that the artistic sensibilities of the producers of a proposed independent film lean more towards the former than the latter because they have decided to join monsters and motors in Road Kill, a movie they describe as “The Exorcist meets American Graffitti on the Highway to Hell complicated by a three way romance.” They need $150,000 to start filming and you can get in on the ground floor by participating in their Indiegogo project with as little as a $25 investment. A variety of perks, including many hot rod related items are associated with the different funding levels. (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2015

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Not long ago my mother moved into an assisted living facility and I’ve been cleaning through her house. After observing her, my daughters, my sisters, and my maternal aunts I’ve figured out that there’s likely an OCD gene on one of their X chromosomes. Of course, my daughters got that bit of genetic material from their dear old dad. Hey, just because I have 60+ egg crates filled with about 15 years worth of automotive press kits doesn’t mean that I hoard things. Anyhow, while cleaning I came across a box that looked like it hadn’t been touched since January of 1966, when we moved to the house that I’m now going through. Most of the things in the box were detritus, stuff that could have been thrown away before the move. However, as I was rifling through the fabric scraps and what have you, something bright red caught my eye. (Read More…)

By on March 4, 2015

Is there a car enthusiast whose pulse does not quicken when he or she hears the brrrap brap of the exhaust  when the North American spec Fiat Abarth fires up? TTAC’s managing editor Derek Kreindler is correct, the Abarth does indeed sound faster than it actually is, but it still sounds glorious. Don’t tell me […]

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