Category: History

By on March 18, 2016

Willow Run Factory

An abandoned Michigan manufacturing facility that once cranked out bombers, guns, cars and transmissions could soon be advancing our driverless future.

A nonprofit organization has been created to oversee the transition of the former General Motors Willow Run manufacturing plant property near Ypsilanti, Michigan, into a national self-driving and connected vehicle testing site, reports Crain’s Detroit Business.

The sprawling property is mostly a flat expanse of tarmac, the perfect site for recreating a laundry list of city driving conditions that could confuse an autonomous vehicle’s brain: highway merging, ramps, bridges, elevation changes, high-speed maneuvering, complex intersections and even tunnels. Read More >

By on March 17, 2016

DeLorean DMC-12

Listen, we don’t want any trouble.

St. Paddy’s Day is a time for all of us — black and white, Irish and American, Catholic and Protestant and all those other religions — to come together and figure out how much green food coloring can be consumed before it has a laxative effect.

But, as we think of the Emerald Isle today, our minds can’t help but be reminded of a famous and totally ballin’ export from the troubled north — the DeLorean DMC-12. Read More >

By on March 16, 2016

As a relative newcomer to the car-building scene, Honda doesn’t quite have the heritage of classics piling up in a dusty warehouse like most other automakers. They do have a legion of rabid fans, however, including one restorer who specializes in very early Honda cars — and found the very first N600 built for the U.S. market.

Honda partnered with that restorer, Tim Mings, and today released the first of a series of videos and features on the restoration of this very special classic on the website Serial One.

Read More >

By on March 14, 2016

2016 Dodges in Go Mango

The paint — erm, act could be wearing thin.

In its latest nod to the heady and far-out past, Dodge will let you have your Challenger or Charger SRT 392 or Hellcat in its newest resurrected color, “Go Mango.”

Joining other blast-from-the-past(els) like “Plum Crazy,” Go Mango was offered for the first time on the 1970 Challenger — a legendary car from a truly great year, assuming you weren’t in Vietnam or a Jimi Hendrix fan. Read More >

By on March 14, 2016

Charles de Gaulle in a Citroen DS (Image: Gnotype/Flickr)

With the Saab brand now functionally dead, could the next quirky car du jour for individuality-signalling Americans come from France?

All eyes will be on PSA Peugeot Citroen on April 5 as France’s top automaker reveals its new international growth strategy, possibly heralding a return to the long-abandoned U.S. market.

The U.S. and Iran are being looked at as potential export markets, now that PSA’s “Back in the Race” restructuring program has improved the financial fortunes of the once-struggling automaker. Read More >

By on March 9, 2016

Smart car snowmobile Image: Autobahn Tuning Inc./Facebook)

Let’s face it: when it comes to modern cars, no model is as maligned as the diminutive two-seat Smart Fortwo. Well, maybe the Mitsubishi Mirage.

Measuring just 8-feet-10-inches in length, the rear-engined Smart looks less like a car than a rolling phone booth, or perhaps the bubble that would take Patrick McGoohan back to The Village in the TV show “The Prisoner.”

Jokes and instances of car-tipping aside, the Smart harbors a secret ability that sets it apart from its larger peers — and it took an Ontario mechanic to find it.

Read More >

By on March 8, 2016

BMW Vision Next 100 concept (Image: BMW Group)

It’s BMW Group’s centenary — and except for some problematic stuff in the late 1930s and early ’40s, it’s been a great 100 years.

Rather than gaze wistfully at the past, BMW is spending its birthday looking into the future and imagining what marvelous things might lie ahead. Naturally, one of those things will be a BMW, and, lo and behold, here’s a futuristic concept!

The BMW Vision Next 100 concept was unveiled in Munich on March 7 and was designed with an autonomous future in mind, one where individuality remains a selling point with buyers.

Read More >

By on February 27, 2016

Ralph Nader, Black and White, Image: Sage Ross/Flickr

The author of the most famous — and controversial — book ever penned about the automotive industry turns 82 today.

Automobile safety crusader Ralph Nader probably wouldn’t have made it to this ripe old age if the industry hadn’t made design changes and undergone cultural reforms in the wake of his scathing 1965 publication “Unsafe at Any Speed.”

That book, which laid bare design flaws and the general lack of regard for safety during the then-Big Three’s heyday, ultimately sunk the innovative ‘swing axle’ Chevrolet Corvair — or as Nader called it, “The One-Car Accident.”

Read More >

By on December 9, 2015

2016_VW_Passat_Exterior_SEL_High_Angle_Static2

A month after questions arose regarding how Volkswagen measured CO2 and fuel consumption in their cars, the troubled automaker says all is well.

Per VW’s PR machine, the automaker found “no unlawful change to the stated fuel consumption and CO2 figures” in the majority of its European lineup, with only nine vehicles for the 2016 model year having slight variations in conflict with their originally stated fuel consumption and CO2 stats.

The nine vehicles found out of step?

Read More >

By on December 2, 2015

Renault Fluence Z.E. and Nissan Leaf Circa 2013

Nissan has announced a proposal which would end Renault’s control of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and would curtail interferance by the French government.

When we last left off, Nissan was looking to gain a voice in the alliance it made in 1999 with Renault by increasing its stake while mitigating the stake shared between Renault and Paris. The Japanese automaker has held a 15 percent non-voting stake since alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn turned around its fortunes in the early 2000s, as French law prevents affiliates owning less than 40 percent of a French-led company from voting at the shareholders’ table.

Nissan has other ideas. Read More >

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