Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber

By on June 1, 2016

13-Nudnik-011-R

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…)

By on May 26, 2016

ReliefBand, source ReliefBand Technologies

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…)

By on May 25, 2016

Ethanol Plant In South Dakota.

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…)

By on May 15, 2016

Dodge LaFemme, Walter P Chrysler Museum, Source: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

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…)

By on May 9, 2016

Gas pump evolution Source: Tesla Motors

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…)

By on May 2, 2016

Adolf Rosenberger in 1966.

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.

(Read More…)

By on April 25, 2016

Porsche's Third Man, Left to Right: Adolf Rosenberger, Ferdinand Porsche, Anton Piech

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…)

By on April 5, 2016

Arcimoto SRK New York Auto Show, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

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…)

By on April 1, 2016

Debadged Audi A4 on Ohio Turnpike, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

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…)

By on March 28, 2016

McLaren 675 LT Front 3/4 on Pacific Coast Highway, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

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.

(Read More…)

By on March 22, 2016

My first thought was that a constant velocity joint on the left axle exploded again. However, Mike the mechanic (not to be confused with Mike and the Mechanics) told me there was “a hole in the transmission” in the ’02 Saturn that’s been my daily driver the past few years. I spent a few days […]

By on March 16, 2016

Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office

According to police investigators, James Dalton, 45, the Uber driver accused of randomly shooting eight and killing six people in the Kalamazoo area, said he did so under the demonic mind control of the Uber app on his phone. “It feels like it is coming from the phone itself,” Dalton told the police.

He said that first a pentagram, an inverted five pointed star, would appear on his phone and then a figure he described as the devil would pop up through Uber when he pressed the app button. Dalton described the figure as a “horned cow head or something like that and then it would give you an assignment and it would literally take over your whole body.” (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2016

Elio Motors 2016 NAIAS, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

In a move that has already generated criticism from disappointed deposit holders, Elio Motors announced that production of its enclosed tandem three-wheelers will be delayed, yet again, to an undisclosed date sometime in 2017.

In a statement issued on Friday, Elio Motors said, “the bulk of the consumer launch will have to be moved into 2017 at a date to be determined, as the company continues to seek additional funding.”

Ironically, that delay was made public as the company appeared to make progress towards getting at least some vehicles built in Shreveport later this year. Founded in 2009, Elio had previously announced production dates of 2014 and more recently the end of 2016. (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2016

Tom Mix Duesenberg front 3/4 right, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

The high-dollar-custom Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama gets a lot of worthy attention, but real salt of the earth Detroit car culture can be found in Cobo Hall’s basement, The promoters bill the area as Autorama Extreme, and I always make it a point to check out the cars and people downstairs. There’s usually something worthwhile down there like “the first Mustang,” a bassackwards, mid-engine Ford F-1 pickup, or even an Allison V12-powered ’39 Chevy.

This year, walking past the bandstand where a local rockabilly band was doing a Jerry Lee Lewis song, I spotted something around a corner and immediately recognized it as a Duesenberg I’d written about before here at TTAC. It’s a distinctive car. For aesthetic reasons, I doubt anyone would make a replica. So even before I got near enough to see the longhorns up front and the tailfin that looks more like a hunchback’s deformity in back, I knew it was the so-called Tom Mix Duesenberg — a real Doozy in more ways than one.

(Read More…)

By on March 1, 2016

eliostock2

(Caveat: I know nothing at all about stocks, bonds or other financial instruments.)

After automotive startup Elio Motors raised approximately $17 million dollars in a Reg-A+ stock offering the company crowdsourced from small investors via StartEngine, it said its shares would be listed on the OTCQX exchange to provide those investors with liquidity.

It’s probably too early to call Elio another Tesla (whose own market capitalization probably exceeds its actual value), and I don’t know how many of those investors are going to sell their stock so soon. But, if they did, they would have more than doubled their money in less than two weeks as of Monday’s close. (Read More…)

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