Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber

By on July 13, 2015

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Polymath sports marketer Fred Sharf is known in the art world for finding underappreciated genres, collecting them, researching and writing about them at an academic level, curating exhibits about them, and then donating much of what he collects to museums so others can share his eclectic interests. Among those many interests, Sharf has almost singlehandedly gotten the fine art world to start appreciating the art involved with making automobiles. Drawings and paintings long considered disposable styling studio work product by car companies are now considered collectible and worthy of art museum exhibitions. (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2015

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Getting caught up in the current controversy over the Confederate battle flag, pro golfer Bubba Watson has announced that he’s going to paint over the Army of Northern Virginia’s flag on the roof of the authentic Dukes of Hazard General Lee Dodge Charger that he owns, and replace it with the stars and stripes of the American flag. I have no desire to rehash the controversy over the Confederate battle flag, but I do want to address an opinion that I’ve seen raised in comments about Watson’s decision.

A number of people have suggested that because Watson’s car is an authentic vehicle that was used in filming the television series, painting over the flag would degrade the car’s value as a collectible. From what I know about TV cars in general and about the history of the cars used in filming the Dukes of Hazzard show, that’s not likely. From what I know about collectible cars, even if Watson does repaint it, that might actually increase its value. (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2015

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Businesses aren’t the only groups of people who try to influence what we publish here. TTAC has been getting emails from a number of people who put deposits down on the yet-to-be-produced Elio trike, only to become disillusioned after production has been pushed back a number of times.

There are at least a couple of Facebook pages devoted to disaffected Elio enthusiasts that accuse Elio Motors and Paul Elio of misleading people. In addition to the delays, most of the complaints seem to center around the fact that the company is promoting and taking deposits for a $6,800 vehicle when Elio hasn’t yet raised enough money to start production of a car that Paul Elio admits doesn’t yet meet their advertised price point.

The company has been using social media to promote the enterprise and its critics have seized on Elio Motors’ Facebook page as a venue to express their displeasure. Words like “liars” and “scam ” have been tossed around. Consequently, a number of those critics say they have been banned from that page by Elio Motors. (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2015

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With the number of people collecting “mid-century” artifacts, the stuff of middle class American life in the 1950s and early 1960s, it shouldn’t come as a surprise there are folks who collect vintage travel trailers. Actually, if you’ve gone to enough car shows, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all as owners of cars of that vintage sometimes bring along period trailers and make their show displays more eye-catching (though I suspect some of those trailers are indeed trailer queens and are trailered, not towed, recursively, to car shows). In the corner of Cobo Hall’s basement at this year’s Detroit Autorama, someone set up their ’50s car with a period correct travel trailer. Two years ago, the Packard Proving Grounds’ annual summer car show had vintage trailers and RVs as a featured class. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2015

Our recent post asking what possible relevance most automobile racing has to the consumer side of the auto industry has me thinking about a race series idea that’s been percolating in my head for a while. The goal of the concept is to come up with a racing series that will resonate both with consumers (read: auto manufacturers) and racing enthusiasts. So far, I have a pretty good idea of what kind of cars, rules, tracks and schedules would be involved, but as yet I haven’t come up with some kind of catchy acronymic name.

To begin with, it would be based on production cars in North America and the races would be run in all three countries that make up the continent — Canada, Mexico, and the United States. That should get some manufacturers involved, if not fielding works teams, at least in terms of funding, PR, and technical support. (Read More…)

By on July 3, 2015

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In light of Bark M.’s post on the possible propensity of Fiesta STs rolling over while autocrossing, and TTAC’s tradition of commenting when autojournos manage to wreck press cars (disclaimer: I once brushed a Fiat Abarth’s wheel against a curb), we bring you this report from Wrecked Exotics. A so far unidentified journalist taking an early production BMW i8 for a test drive near Mexico City managed to roll the gas-electric hybrid supercar, leaving it bottoms up. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2015

It’s been said that with the last Crown Victoria produced, the death of Ford’s Panther platform represented the extinction of the species, American sedanus body-on-framus, the last of the dinosaurs. Keeping in a biological frame of mind, it seems to me that the BOF American sedan didn’t go extinct, but transformed. Its trunk developed into an […]

By on June 26, 2015

Patrick Macnee’s son Rupert announced his actor father passed away in California at the age of 93. He was best known for portraying secret agent John Steed in the 1960s British television show, The Avengers.

I was a young teenage boy when the series began syndication in the United States so you’ll excuse me if I paid a bit more attention to his co-star Diana Rigg and Emma Peel’s Lotus Elans than to Macnee and John Steed’s prewar Bentleys. However, Steed’s talent and his deadpan delivery were major factors in the show’s success. It ran for 6 years on the BBC, was syndicated for decades in the U.S. and you can still probably find it in reruns somewhere in the cable universe.

With the classic Bentleys and the Elan, The Avengers has been a favorite of car enthusiasts since the show first ran, but I had no idea just how car-centric the series was. (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2015

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Sometimes events in the real world overshadow our little automotive corner of the universe. If you look over some previous posts and comments, you’ll see that I’ve recently been writing about television cars and already planning to cover the “General Lee” 1969 Dodge Charger from the Dukes of Hazzard TV series, so please do not accuse us of trying to exploit a controversy in pursuit of clicks. As it happens, I interviewed the owner of the authentic General Lee illustrating this post just last week.

Due to the horrific church shooting in Charleston, though, the Confederate battle flag, which was painted on the roof of the Chargers used in that television show, has become a national controversy, in no small part because of its display on the ground of the state capital in South Carolina. Since it would be impossible for me to discuss the General Lee in the current atmosphere without addressing the flag issue, I’m going to depart from my usual history and provenance based approach. (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2015

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A reader, commenting on my post about the Batmobile – arguably the most famous television car there is – mentioned the Monkeemobile, another ’60s pop culture automotive favorite. As it happens, I was already planning some posts on television cars, including one of the authentic Monkeemobiles.

Both of those vehicles have connections to the auto industry, one sort of incidental and the other the very opposite of coincidence.

The Batmobile was based on the 1950s Lincoln Futura concept car George Barris had purchased for $1.00, years after Ford and the Hollywood studios that used it were done with what was then a rather dated car of the future.

The Monkeemobile, on the other hand, was created from a production car with the direct involvement of a car company and one of the industry’s most legendary PR guys. (Read More…)

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