Category: History

By on August 25, 2016

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His commercials were a sign of the times — desperate, struggling times that suddenly turned prosperous.

In the 1980s, Ronald DeLuca was the hidden face behind an instantly familiar one — Chrysler Corporation chairman Lee Iacocca, who walked into his company’s own commercials to personally pitch front-wheel-drive K-car platform products to a recession-weary America.

DeLuca, the advertising whiz hired by Iacocca to help turn around Chrysler’s late-1970s death plunge, died last week at 91, according to The New York Times. During his tenure DeLuca and Iacocca cranked out a slew of unusually frank, bold commercials that paid off in a big way. Read More >

By on August 10, 2016

1958 Ford Thunderbird (Stephen Velden/Flickr)

Pitchforks and dung aside, the world’s barns often hold undiscovered treasures, from the 1974 Volkswagen Beetle that sold for $43,000 in June, to a bumper crop of Ford Thunderbirds recently uncovered near Grand Rapids, Michigan.

According to the Detroit Free Press, an unnamed family recently called a Wayland auction house in the hopes of making a sale. The item? The contents of a barn containing about 50 classic cars, including a bevy of Thunderbirds from the porthole to basket handle eras. Read More >

By on August 6, 2016

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It’s hot, it’s the middle of summer, and the beach beckons from afar. But if stripping down around a bunch of muscle-bound surfer hunks causes bouts of anxiety and insecurity, fear not. Ford Motor Company has a solution.

The great thing about 1960s car commercials is the complete disregard for political correctness and subtlety when it comes to stroking a driver’s ego. It’s hard to imagine a world where manufacturers so nakedly sold a lifestyle by pumping out vast quantities of innuendo in a bid to lure buyers into dealerships. Trigger warning!

Hocking a menacing GTO or Charger is easy, but what if you had to sell a low-priced base model in the ’60s? Easy. Stick with the plan. Read More >

By on August 5, 2016

dodge omni glhs (Image: Sotheby's)

The Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon twins didn’t get much respect in the 1980s, and even today’s hipsters – who’ll cling to anything avante-garde or ironic – failed to bestow them with latter-day reverence.

Well, never mind the haters. If you’re in Monterey, California on Aug. 19, and you have a hankering to spend a seemingly ludicrous amount of money on a 30-year-old econobox, your day has come.

RM Sotheby’s plans to auction a 1986 Dodge Omni GLHS, once owned by legendary tuner Carroll Shelby. This was the original hot hatch, with only 500 of the Shelby-tuned, turbocharged and intercooled Omni variants build before the model’s swan song. Read More >

By on August 5, 2016

2016 Dodge Viper ACR

We know that Chrysler put its Viper operations up for grabs as the company — and country — spiraled into economic disaster back in 2008, but the date of the V10-powered sports car’s near-salvation at the hands of investors is hazy.

James Glickenhaus, the actor, economic adviser and small-batch supercar builder, told TTAC’s Ronnie Schreiber that a group of buyers almost saved the Viper and its Detroit assembly plant, but the deal fell through. Which is why the Viper is going away, right about….now.

But Glickenhaus left out a key detail of his recollection — the date. Read More >

By on July 29, 2016

1937 Nash Lafayette

Sure, none of the original players are walking the earth, but we can still celebrate the corporate creation of Charles W. Nash, the man who quit General Motors in its infancy to form his own car company.

Nash Motors wasn’t a Big Three player, but it did make its mark on the automotive landscape. During a wild ride of mergers, acquisitions and changing product direction, the independent automaker spawned a number of innovations that became industry firsts. Read More >

By on July 29, 2016

2016 Ford Falcon ute

There’s sad news from Down Under. No, Paul Hogan is still alive, and no, dingoes didn’t get into a local kindergarten.

The last Ford Falcon Ute rolled off the assembly line in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows today, ending 55 years of continuous production, Car Advice reports. The death of the FG X Falcon Ute heralds the looming demise of Australian Ford assembly, and leaves just one (doomed) ute in the marketplace of the country that invented it. Read More >

By on July 22, 2016

Detroit (Bryan Debus/Flickr)

The Automotive Hall of Fame thinks it can better tell the history of the automobile if it makes a move to the Motor City.

William Chapin, the museum’s president, wants to expand the facility’s scope and become part of Detroit’s resurgence, so he’s looking for space near downtown, according to the Detroit Free Press. Read More >

By on July 15, 2016

Jeep Wrangler 75th anniversary concept

Jeep turns 75 years old today, and its birthday promises to be a lot more upbeat than, say, Plymouth’s.

The storied brand, which started life producing a hastily built battlefield runabout, is now a sales juggernaut for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which could be its reward for suffering through so many ownership changes over the years. To mark the special occasion, FCA built a one-off Wrangler that takes the brand back to its roots.

You can’t buy it, but you can remove the doors and fold down the windshield on your own Wrangler, head to a nearby field, paint some signs in German and pretend it’s two weeks ’till V-E Day. Read More >

By on July 8, 2016

Hagerty Gas Station Event - Collector Car Appreciation Day_03

California is typically painted a scorching red on Gasbuddy’s heat map, but some drivers got a break from high pump prices in Beverly Hills this morning.

You needed a classic car to make the cut, and you needed to be at the historic (Union) 76 Gas Station at Little Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Drive, but if you were, you took a trip back in time without having to worry about dodging the draft. Read More >

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