It’s been a stressful few weeks, but when I remember my children and grandchildren are healthy, everything else is gravy. TTAC’s long-term test of the 2015 Honda Fit EX came to a sudden halt at 7,987 miles just after I began a left turn through three lanes of stopped traffic south of a red light on Groesbeck, a […]
Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber
This post started, as some of mine do, with a question about cars from my brother Jeff.
He texted me from Jerusalem, Israel, wanting to know whether the Porsche in a 1981 movie titled “The Last Chase,” starring Lee Majors, was a real Porsche or a replica.
Not knowing anything about the movie, I told him it was likely to be a real 911, since they weren’t that expensive then, so nobody would have bothered making a replica. He texted back that it wasn’t a 911, but something that looked “more like a Chaparral.”
Intrigued, I did an image search and he’s correct. While it’s easy to tell a Porsche 917 from one of Jim Hall’s racers, the 917 in The Last Chase does indeed look more like a Chaparral than like Porsche’s iconic 911 road car.
My brother’s question answered, I proceeded to watch the film, which is posted in its entirety on YouTube (you can watch it below the jump).
My next thought: how did I not know about this movie? (Read More…)
Considering I’ve driven hundreds of miles to attend music concerts and recently spent Memorial Day driving across three states to buy a guitar not far from Memphis, I suppose driving 600 miles or so to New York on the odd chance that I’d get to interview Christian von Koenigsegg wasn’t actually that odd.
The Koenigsegg car company scheduled a press conference at the New York Auto Show, and I wanted to shake the hand of a man who — along with just a few dozen of his fellow Swedes — managed to show that Ferdinand Piech and the VW empire’s Bugattis aren’t necessarily the biggest BSDs in the automotive world. (Read More…)
In the made-for-TV movie Duel, a somewhat legendary film for car enthusiasts, Steven Spielberg and Richard Matheson tapped into drivers’ primal fear of being harassed by a malevolent trucker at the wheel of a semi much larger than their own vehicles.
Drivers in Indiana and Michigan experienced a non-fiction form of that fear last week, when a possibly drugged truck driver sideswiped cars as he drove erratically for almost 50 miles before police shot out one of the truck’s driving tires. The driver then punched a police dog and it took a number of officers to corral and restrain him even after he was tasered.
Around 8:30 p.m. last Thursday, May 26, Indiana State Police started receiving cellphone calls from drivers on eastbound Interstate 94 near Portage, Indiana. The drivers all reported a metal-hauling semi hitting construction barrels and sideswiping cars.
By the time Michigan State Police managed to stop him, the driver of the truck had traveled 48 miles from the time of the first reports. That highway is the main route between Chicago and Detroit and at that time of the evening, traffic is still pretty heavy as drivers sweep around the southern tip of Lake Michigan. It was fortunate that nobody was injured in the incident, according to Mlive.com. (Read More…)
US23 in Ohio has expressway speeds, but it’s not a limited access highway like it is in much of Michigan. In Ohio, you have to watch out for farm vehicles and other cross traffic. On the other hand, unlike on a limited access road, you can turn around without having to drive miles to the next exit.
I was on my way to drop off a lime green guitar for someone who likes guitars and that particular color when I passed the scene pictured above. Running late as I was, I drove past, but there was something poetic about those two pickup trucks that made me go back. The symmetry of the two trucks’ hoods both being open stuck in my mind’s eye. Also, the old truck’s paint matched the guitar.
Some things are meant to be. (Read More…)
The history of the city of Wolfsburg, Saxony, in Germany is inseparable from that of Volkswagen.
The municipality was established originally in 1938 as Stadt des KdF-Wagens bei Fallersleben. It was intended as a model town based around the factory the Nazis built to make Dr. Porsche’s KdF-Wagen, what became the Type I Volkswagen, or Beetle.
To put that historical link between the automobile company and the city into an artistic context, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg is holding an exhibition running through November 9, 2016 titled “Wolfsburg Unlimited: A City As A World Laboratory“. (Read More…)
They say the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
I was blessed with an appreciation for road racing and cars that corner and handle well. Unfortunately, I’m also very prone to motion sickness. That means I can’t race cars.
Back when I was riding around in the rear facing far back seat in the Buick station wagon belonging to my best friend Stevie Margolin’s mom, this affliction was called “car sickness.” It was either in that Buick or on one of Detroit’s Bob-Lo boats that I recall first experiencing nausea when in motion.
Nausea and motion have a long association. The term nausea in fact comes to use from the ancient Greek word for boat. Up to 95 percent of the population experiences some form of motion sickness, with 5-15 percent being extremely sensitive to it. Placebos, pharmaceuticals, over the counter medications, pressure bands, and even skin patches behind the ear have all been tried as treatments to varying degrees of success and side effects.
A new wearable medical device called the ReliefBand may make that motion induced nausea a thing of the past — and finally let me go racing. (Read More…)
Serendipitously, Sajeev Mehta’s post about the possible damage to older cars from gasoline-ethanol blends went up just a few days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new mandate to mix another 700 million gallons of biofuels — including 300 million gallons of corn-based ethanol — into the country’s fuel supply.
The objective of the new mandate: hit a 18.8 billion gallon 2017 target for biofuels.
The move has both critics and supporters of ethanol unhappy. (Read More…)
Just two days after Cadillac announced opening up what they hope will be an au courant coffee shop on the ground floor of its trendy lower Manhattan digs, Fiat Chrysler announced it will reopen the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, on the grounds of Chrysler’s campus in slightly less trendy Auburn Hills, on June 4th.
The museum, which first opened in 1999 when Daimler owned Chrysler, has displays that cover the history of the current Chrysler brands along with the company’s former nameplates, starting with a 1902 Rambler from the Jeffrey company (the progenitor to Nash) and American Motors. (Read More…)
What a difference a few years make.
Perhaps you’re old enough to remember when scientists warned us about an impending ice age. Today, climate change concerns have to do with global warming.
Just a few years ago, “peak oil” — the theory of terminal decline once we’ve reached the maximum extraction rate from known petroleum reserves — was popular. A couple of recent perspectives, however, indicate that we may not hit peak oil production and consumption for the foreseeable future — and that the price of oil may actually go down long-term. (Read More…)
In Part One, we looked at Adolf Rosenberger’s success as a businessman and racer, his seminal role in the creation of Auto Union, and his vital role in the founding of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s design agency in 1931. We also reviewed how increased persecution of Jews in Germany after Adolf Hitler took power in 1933 led to Rosenberger’s 1935 arrest by the Gestapo, his subsequent release (no thanks to the Porsches), and his leaving Germany for good in 1935.
In Part Two, we’ll look at Rosenberger’s life after Porsche.
In 1936, Rosenberger first visited the United States and eventually emigrated there, changing his name to Alan Arthur Robert. He tried his luck looking for work in the auto industry in Detroit, but moved to California after failing to find opportunity in the Motor City.
According to official Porsche lore, the automotive design firm, Dr. Ing. Hc F. Porsche GmbH, was founded in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen in 1931 by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche and his son-in-law Anton Piëch. The Porsche and Piëch families still control the sports car company and the larger Volkswagen Group that owns it. At that beginning though, there was a third, now forgotten man without whom there would likely not be a Porsche company today.
In fact, without Adolf Rosenberger, there would not have been a Porsche company in the first place. (Read More…)
It looks like the makers of three-wheelers are trying hard to get the attention of car and light-truck consumers.
Last month, at the Chicago Auto Show, Polaris had a couple of trikes on display. Immediately adjacent to the Slingshot display, Campagna was showing its T-Rex and newly introduced Harley-Davidson-powered VR13R. The Polaris starts at just under $20,000 and the T-Rex is about three times that price.
Interestingly, the New York International Auto Show, often chosen by high-priced car manufacturers for reveals, also featured two reverse trikes, but at the lower end of the price spectrum: the electric Arcimoto SRK (target price of $11,000) and the gasoline powered Elio (targeted at $6,800). (Read More…)
My father, may he rest in peace, grew up in Brooklyn, but met a Detroit girl while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent him to the University of Michigan for a quickie associate degree in civil engineering during World War II. My sisters have both lived in the New York City area for decades. As a result, though I’m a native Detroiter and proud Michigander through-and-through, there’s probably never been a 12-month period in my life when I haven’t been in the Big Apple.
The construction of Interstate 80 was a great moment in our family’s life, as it meant taking at least two hours off of the Canadian route through Ontario and then down the New York State Thruway. It also meant finding out that people in Ohio take the Ohio State University versus the University of Michigan sports rivalry very seriously. (Read More…)
The rich are different. They have nicer things. – Leonard Schreiber, DVM
I try to avoid superlatives unless the object of said superlatives is, well, truly superlative. In this case, however, they may be applied without reservation. The McLaren 675LT is an extraordinary car, with performance capabilities exceeded by fewer than a handful of very limited production vehicles. Perhaps what makes it most extraordinary, though, is just how well it performs as an ordinary car.