Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber

By on September 4, 2015

saudisnotinaudisNotwithstanding Remy’s hugely popular Saudis in Audis rap video, it appears that Saudi Arabian King Salman and his entourage prefer Stuttgart and Detroit to Ingolstadt.

The King and his retinue arrived at Andrews Air Force Base on Thursday, flying in on four Boeing 747 airliners for a state visit with President Obama. A fleet of Mercedes-Benz S Class sedans, Cadillac Escalade SUVs, a couple M-B Sprinter vans and what looks like one International school bus were awaiting Salman and his attendants. Carol Lee, the White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal tweeted out the photo above. (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2015


With a resume as accomplished as Dan Gurney has, he would be well within his rights to retire to a life of leisure. The man is 84 years old, after all. However, Gurney stays busy at his All American Racers shop in Santa Ana, California and he recently announced that he’s been granted a United States patent on what he calls the “moment cancelling” engine.

Gurney claims that by using two transversely oriented, counter-rotating crankshafts, the vibrations inherent in reciprocating piston engines will be reduced and reliability and efficiency will be improved, along with what he says will be turbine smoothness. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2015


To be completely honest, I’ve never really understood all the adulation showered upon Buckminster Fuller. Yes, I know he was a visionary who popularized (but did not invent) the geodesic dome, which has some practical applications, but a lot of his innovations seem to me to be just a bit crackpotish. With the exception of the aforementioned domes, few of his other projects were fully practical. Take his Dymaxion car for example. (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2015


During the city of Detroit’s recent municipal bankruptcy, the billion-dollar-plus-valued art collection of the city-owned Detroit Institute of Arts became an issue due of the possibility the art might have to be sold off to pay the city’s debts. Less generally well known, but probably of greater interest to car enthusiasts, is another collection ultimately owned by the city — the six dozen or so vehicles that are owned by the Detroit Historical Museum. One reason why that collection isn’t better known is that most of its more famous cars are usually on loan, displayed at other museums. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2015


I have a friend and colleague, for the purposes of this post we’ll name him Jack, that races cars and has an active social life with attractive women. It’s not likely that he’d be jealous of a decrepit grandfather like me, but indeed his envy was as green as his old Audi S5 when I recently got to tour the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant where FCA assembles the Viper.

That’s because Jack is an unabashed and unashamed fanboy of Dodge’s handbuilt V10 powered American supercar. (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2015


A Brooks Stevens concept.

A Brooks Stevens concept.

Aaron Cole’s post about automotive patent art gladdened my heart. Years ago, I decided to check out some of Les Paul and Leo Fender’s original patents on their electric guitars and I discovered the artistry of patent drawings. These days the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as well as patent offices around the world, accept digitally produced artwork. However, before the digital age, an inventor had to hire someone skilled at technical drawing to produce the various exploded and see-through sketches needed to describe the “preferred embodiment” of a process patent.

Of course the “inventor” of a design patent — a slightly different form of intellectual property that protects the design and look of a product — is more often than not, the actual designer.

Following up on Aaron’s post, I decided to put the names of some notable automotive designers into a patent search engine to see what I could find. My hypothesis was that in the case of a design patent, particularly for a car, the artwork for the patent application was likely to have been drawn by the designer. A patent is a big deal to any engineer or designer and he’d likely want to be the one responsible for representing his own idea best.

(Read More…)

By on August 18, 2015

Here’s a little bit of racing trivia you may not have known. In addition to getting a check with a couple of commas in the amount, the winning driver of the Indianapolis 500 is also awarded the pace car for that year’s race. I’m not talking about one of the thousands of replicas they sell at the dealers or even one of the dozens of courtesy cars with pace car graphics that they use at the race. I’m talking about the actual vehicle used to pace the drivers as they come into formation for the flying start and then functions as a safety car when yellow flags are unfurled. That means that racers driving for Roger Penske’s team have won sixteen of those pace cars.

Apparently those drivers’ contracts give the team the right to buy the pace car if they win because Roger owns all sixteen paces cars from the years that his team has won the 500. To celebrate this year’s edition of the massive Woodward Dream Cruise, the Penske organization paraded their collection of authentic Indy 500 pace cars from the Penske Corp’s hospitality tent in Royal Oak all the way up to Pontiac and back, with the spiff that many of the cars were being driven by current and former Penske racers. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2015

flyer1Following a similar effort last month at Tesla’s headquarters, Carpenters’ Local 713 of Hayward, CA, set up a protest on Friday outside  the EV maker’s showroom in nearby San Jose, saying that the automaker’s policies “hurts workers, hurts families, hurts community.”

The protest was not without a bit of theater, including a giant papier-mâché puppet of death. Fliers were handed out saying “Shame on Them” and calling on the company to require “General Contractors and all their sub-contractors pay the Carpenter Area Standard Wages and Benefits on all jobs all the time”.

One assumes this labor dispute has to do with construction that Tesla is doing in California and not about the Gigafactory for making batteries that Tesla is building in Nevada, unless Local 713 is taking up the cause of their union brothers and sisters in the Silver State. The UAW has so far unsuccessfully attempted to organize Tesla’s assembly plant in Fremont, CA, formerly the UAW facility operated by GM and Toyota known as NUMMI. (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2015


They were sitting right next to each other at the auction preview — probably happenstance, a mere coincidence that they were adjacent, but seeing a Porsche 356B and a BMW 2002 just a few feet apart I couldn’t help but wonder if most of the people who buy Porsches and BMWs today would be happy with those cars. (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2015



1929 Duesenberg Model J by LeBaron

As part of this gig, I see a lot of cars. Besides attending the major corporate auto shows like the North American International Auto Show here in Detroit, from spring into late fall almost every Sunday will find me at some kind of car show. Car museums are also some of my favorite places. Having entered my teens during the 1960s, when there were E Type Jaguars, Corvettes and Mustangs, it was easy for me to dismiss cars from the ’50s as old-fashioned, let alone vehicles from the pre-war classic era. As Mark Twain pointed out, though, I’ve learned a few things since I was a young man and my perspective has changed.

(Read More…)

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