A while back Chrysler loaned me a Dodge Dart Limited with the 2.0 liter Tigershark engine and six-speed automatic transmission for the purpose of writing a review. That’s how it works, they loan you the car, you write the review. A social contract, if you will. In this case, however, though I drove the car for […]
Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber
Among collectors of vintage American cars it’s generally known that 1942 model year cars are particularly rare. By January of 1942, Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States was a fully fledged participant in the global military conflagration known as World War II. Just about all production of civilian cars was shelved while America’s industrial might geared up for combat. As a result of that truncated model year most car collectors know that ’42s are indeed rare and civilian 1943 model year cars are nonexistent. What’s not as well known is that the transition of Detroit into the so-called “Arsenal of Democracy” was well underway long before the 1942 model year. That term was coined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a radio speech he delivered in December of 1940 and even by then, for example, Chrysler had already started working on what would become the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in suburban Warren. (Read More…)
I flunked driver’s ed. That’s no joke.
It’s true. I write about and review cars and the first time that I took driver’s ed I flunked. How’s that for irony? Now I’m not like that Korean lady who spent a fortune repeatedly failing her driver’s test before finally passing on the 950th try. The next time I took it, I passed, then passed my road test, got my license and never had a problem on the road.
So how did I flunk driver’s ed? (Read More…)
When TTAC reader and slot car enthusiast John Kit showed his daughter Emma my post about the Lotus Cortina, she said, “we have a Lotus Cortina slot car don’t we?” In fact they had two 1/32 versions of Jim Clark’s Team Lotus cars, one made by Revell/Monogram and the other by Scalextric. John likes the exterior look and detailing on the Revell version but it doesn’t have a full interior, which the Scalextric car does have, including a scale version of Clark behind the wheel. Kit decided to take the best parts of both slot cars bodies and mash them up into a single more realistic slot car, which you can see above. The results look very impressive. We’ve featured project car builds before but I think this is the first slot car build covered on the site, though we’ve featured some of John and Emma’s slot cars before. I guess it goes to show just how multifaceted car enthusiasm can be. You can see John’s account and photos of the build over at slotforum.com. (Read More…)
The Eyes On Design car show, held every Father’s Day on the grounds of the Eleanor and Edsel Ford estate in Grosse Pointe Shores, just north of Detroit, is a unique event. While many, perhaps most, of the cars on display there are of concours level quality, the show is not about perfection, authenticity or preparation. In fact it’s not actually called a show but rather an “automotive design exhibition”. Eyes On Design is run by the Detroit area automotive styling community so what judging is done and the awards that are given are based on design. The Father’s Day show is the major fundraiser for the organization, which holds a number of other events throughout the year (including design awards at the NAIAS aka Detroit auto show in January) to benefit the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, part of the Henry Ford Health System. That’s the hospital system that’s grown out of Henry Ford Hospital, founded by the automotive pioneer. Seventeen vehicle categories for this year’s exhibition, to be held on June 15th, have been announced to complement the overall theme of the event – “Automotive design’s influence on popular culture”. (Read More…)
A historical study commissioned by Audi to examine its corporate predecessors’ ties to the Nazi regime has revealed that Auto Union had exploited at least 20,000 slave laborers and held “moral responsibility” for the deaths of about 4,500 inmates of the Flossenbürg concentration camp who worked at a sub-camp operated for Audi in Leitmeritz, Bavaria. They died and were murdered while slaving for the German automaker. Audi expressed “shock” at the news and said that it is going to be revising company publicity materials about one of its founders, Dr. Richard Bruhn, who was revealed by the study to have close ties to the Nazi leadership. The company also said that it will consider compensating victims. Bruhn, considered the “Father of the Auto Union” was found to have exploited slave labor on a massive scale while serving the Nazi war effort.
TTAC’s post by J. Emerson on how so-called Millennials’ automotive tastes have been shaped by their coming of automotive age in an era when their parents embraced body on frame sport utility vehicles brought forth a lot of thoughtful comment. One comment that caught my eye, though, had little to do with the topic of the post but rather was a complaint about the use of the acronym BOF. To most of us that means “body on frame” but to manga or Korean sitcom fans it might mean Boys Over Flowers and when you’re using abbreviations you have to be sure your audience recognizes them. In an earlier life I did IT support and we would make a recursive joke about the proliferation of TLA’s, three letter acronyms. Such acronyms, abbreviations, and jargon serve a useful purpose to those in the know, but can also function as a mark of group identification, a shibboleth, if you will. Sometimes the use of jargon can function as a barrier to others, which can be contrary to how inclusive we want TTAC to be.
A couple of my recent posts on the Lotus Cortina and Ford GT40 covered cars that were part of Henry Ford II’s effort to dominate motorsports in the 1960s. Ford Motor Company’s racing history in fact predates the company. Founder Henry Ford’s “Sweepstakes” car’s 1901 victory, with Ford at the wheel, made it possible for him to stay in the automobile business after the failure of the Detroit Automobile Co. Though racing helped create the foundation for the Ford company, Henry Ford II’s racing efforts in the 1960 actually represented a return to motorsports decades after his grandfather, embarrassed by a very public racing failure, withdrew FoMoCo’s official support for racing. Since that failure took place at the Indianapolis 500 race, and since “the greatest spectacle in racing” is taking place this weekend, it’s an appropriate time to take a look at the front wheel drive Miller flathead Fords of 1935. The cars’ creation involves three of the 20th century’s most fascinating automotive personages and I also happen to think they’re some of the most beautiful cars that ever raced. (Read More…)
TTAC contributor Abraham Drimmer has a fine piece over at Road & Track about his favorite cars that resulted from collaborations between Lotus and other, usually much larger, automobile manufacturers. Each of Abe’s five choices are worthy of note in their own way: the Isuzu Impulse, the C4 Corvette ZR-1, the Lotus Sunbeam, the Lotus Carlton, and the DeLorean DMC-12, but Mr. Drimmer is a relative youngun, so I wasn’t surprised that left off of his R&T list was the original ‘tuned by Lotus but sold by another company’ car. It’s the Lotus tuned car that Lotus purists are most likely consider to be a genuine Lotus and not an Isuzu, Chevy, Chrysler, Vauxhall or DeLorean. In some cases it fetches prices north of its contemporary Elans. It has a pedigree that includes some of the greatest luminaries of British motordom and it helped to establish the foundation of a relationship that would eventually revolutionize motorsports. According to Lotus’ factory nomenclature, it’s a Type 28, according to the sales brochures it was the Ford Cortina Lotus and according to just about everybody else who knows about it, it’s called the Lotus Cortina. (Read More…)
There’s a post at the Zero Hedge finance site that’s getting some attention. It’s really a repost from this site, and it includes a number of aerial and satellite photos of thousands of new automobiles that the author says are sitting on storage lots, unsold. The author claims that automobile manufacturers are continuing to churn out thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of cars that will likely never ever sell. He warns that those cars that do sell will suffer mechanical issues from having sat for so long. He claims that those cars that don’t sell are recycled and that it’s all a sham to keep assembly lines churning. The author also doesn’t know what he’s talking about.