Category: History

By on September 23, 2016

1956 Cadillac (Adam Singer/Flickr)

Is your car truly rare or unique? Does it represent a small but significant piece of American history? (We’re not talking about a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL once owned by Gary Busey.)

If so, your ride could one day be immortalized — in a bureaucratic sense. Yesterday, Michigan Senator Gary Peters (D) introduced a bill that, if passed, would create a federal registry for historic vehicles. Read More >

By on September 15, 2016

Nigel Mills of Brentwood, Essex, UK, has owned a 1982 DeLorean since he bought it at auction for £22,000 in 2004. With only 13,000 miles on the odometer, the car is rarely driven, with Mills taking it for a spin three or four times a year and displaying it at a couple of car shows.

Any DeLorean will attract attention from the public and police alike, but Mills’ DMC-12 really stands out because its tinted blue stainless steel exterior.

Mills was out for a “run around” on the A12 highway when, “I saw the guy with the speed gun and thought I better check my speed and low and behold, the letter turns up,” Mills told the Telegraph. The summons said the he was clocked at 89 miles per hour. That speed is significant both to fans of DeLorean, and a certain movie. Read More >

By on September 9, 2016

blazing magnums

Very few people enjoy Canadian films, and there’s damn good reason for it. Public funding is heavily bureaucratized, giving birth to movies essentially “filmed by committee.” Artsy, yes. Depressing? Very often so. But Scandinavia already has that covered!

This wasn’t the case in the glorious, sleazy 1970s. For a brief era, Canada was a free-wheeling, balls-out orgy of low-grade filmmaking, all thanks to insane tax write-offs. Slasher flicks and soft-core porn, lewd sex comedies and gritty crime dramas, this era had it all — and most of it was awful.

One film crew, who probably saw Bullitt way too many times, knew what audiences — American audiences especially — wanted to see, and set about filming one of the most un-Canadian films ever shot north of the border.

They also produced one of the greatest and least-known car chases ever filmed.

Read More >

By on September 3, 2016

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The seaside city-state of Monaco is no stranger to yachts, but in late 1973 an American barge powered by a smog-strangled V8 appeared on its shores.

Chrysler Corporation was on site to film a TV commercial for the new full-size Dodge Monaco, a conservatively styled model with terrible timing. The model’s name evoked glamour and elegance, and the automaker hoped some of the glitz would rub off on the redesigned ’74 full-sizer.

There was another reason for the location shoot. A very special guest would appear in the ad — Princess Grace of Monaco (formerly American actress Grace Kelly). And the princess would help sell the car, whether she wanted to or not. Read More >

By on August 31, 2016

U.S. Marines amphibious assault vehicle (U.S. Pacific Command/Flickr)

What a difference seven decades make. In the early 1940s, Mitsubishi Zeroes of the Imperial Japanese Navy tangled with U.S. Grumman Wildcats and Hellcats in the skies over the west Pacific. Now, the aircraft’s builder wants the U.S. Marines to sign up for its amphibious assault vehicle.

Japan is getting into the arms export game after scrapping a law forbidding it, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries now in talks with a U.S. company to partner on the vehicle, Reuters reports. Read More >

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 >

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