The Truth About Cars » car shows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:19:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » car shows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com A Couple of Octogenarian Survivors: Bruce Thompson and His 1930 Model A http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/couple-octogenarian-survivors-bruce-thompson-1930-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/couple-octogenarian-survivors-bruce-thompson-1930-model/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911850 Still pretty spry and sharp in his 80s, Bruce Thompson remembers his first ride in a Model A. It would have been 1931 or 1932. He thinks he was four or five years old. A neighbor took him and his brother for a ride. “Fifty miles an hour! I thought that was unbelievable. It was […]

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Full gallery here.

Full gallery here.

Still pretty spry and sharp in his 80s, Bruce Thompson remembers his first ride in a Model A. It would have been 1931 or 1932. He thinks he was four or five years old. A neighbor took him and his brother for a ride. “Fifty miles an hour! I thought that was unbelievable. It was very exciting,” he told me, his eyes lighting up as he remembered. In 1967 he bought his own Model A, a 1930 edition, from the original owner for just $750 dollars. That’s right, it’s a two owner 84 year old car in original condition. It has only about 24,000 miles on the odometer and Bruce still drives it, though not as regularly as he once did.

There’s something about survivor cars, cars well driven and well loved, that speaks to me. Sure, restorations are nice, but today’s standards mean that a restored car is likely better than it was when it left the factory. Pristine, never registered time capsule cars, with their plastic seat covers and Cosmoline intact, are also fascinating. However, a car that has been driven contains memories of the people who drove it and were driven in it.

Mr. Thompson’s Model A is not a perfect car. The upholstery is worn in a couple of places but it’s so obviously original equipment that it’d be a shame to do anything but let it wear some more. Everything on the car is original, as it left the Ford Rouge plant: original paint, original  top (many 1920s and early 1930s cars had tops covered with fabric or artificial leather), and that original interior. It still even has the original clutch and brake and their original linings. Even the spare tire is original, though I don’t know if it still contains original 1930 vintage air.

Thompson also has the original equipment tool set and Model A “Instruction Book” that came with the car, now housed in a special display case.

There is something, though, that isn’t original equipment on the car. Under the hood there’s an “Auto Motor Heater” made by the Bunsen Company of Denver. It’s a kerosene fired heater that was supposed to keep the engine warm on cold night to help with starting on cold mornings. My first thought was that it was likely to be a rare artifact since it seems to me that more than a couple likely burned up along with the cars they were keeping warm. However, it was advertised to be fireproof and appears to work similarly to flameless catalytic pocket warmers. Apparently enough have survived to now be valued by preppers and subsistence living enthusiasts since they can be used to heat a small space, assuming there’s ventilation. I’ve read that some people also used them to heat the interior of their cars in the days before engine coolant based heaters became standard equipment.

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Still it’s easy to be concerned about safety when those instructions mention the use of asbestos sheeting.

While the Auto Motor Heater seems to have been sold under a number of different brands, all of them seem to have been made by the Bunsen company. I haven’t yet been able to determine if that firm had any connection to Robert Bunsen and his famous laboratory burners.

One thing that the Auto Motor Heater does have nothing to do with, the small, gasoline fueled furnaces best known from their use to heat air-cooled VW products, made by Eberspacher in Germany and Stewart-Warner/South Wind in the U.S. Writer Michael Lamm (without whom we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the 24 Hrs of Lemons lo-buck racing series since it was started by his son Jay) covered the history of the South Wind heaters for American Heritage magazine back in 1995. About three million heaters were sold by South Wind, enough so that vintage car enthusiast Larry Lewis remanufactures and refinishes them for folks looking for vintage accessories. Prices start at $200.

Getting back to Mr. Thompson, I found him and his Model A Ford at the 2014 edition of Greenfield Village’s Old Car Festival. As is the practice at the Old Car Festival, Thompson was dressed in period clothing and he looked rather jaunty in straw hat and bow tie. He looked proud as Punch with his own old car as he posed next to it. When he bought the car in 1968 I’m sure it looked a bit anachronistic to see a young middle aged man driving such an old car (even though the 1930 Model A and Mr. Thompson are actually close in age). Now that he’s got some patina of his own, Thompson and his car are a matching set.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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A Gathering of the Automotive Tribes. The Last Car Show of the Season. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gathering-automotive-tribes-last-car-show-season/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gathering-automotive-tribes-last-car-show-season/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:02:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927425 In my day job I happen to do work for a number of car and motorcycle clubs. Some of the officers have become friends and they know about my side gig writing about cars and car culture. Last year, in the early spring, my buddy Tony, who’s the prez of the Motor City Camaro and Firebird […]

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Full gallery here

In my day job I happen to do work for a number of car and motorcycle clubs. Some of the officers have become friends and they know about my side gig writing about cars and car culture. Last year, in the early spring, my buddy Tony, who’s the prez of the Motor City Camaro and Firebird Car Club, told me that the first car show of the year was being held at a Kmart parking lot near Eight Mile and Telegraph. It ended up being a worthwhile visit. There were some interesting cars and I even got a TTAC post about donks and low riders out of it. When Tony recently told me about the last car show of the year, being held in another shopping center parking lot, also near Eight Mile Road, this one by Van Dyke, I figured that he hasn’t steered me wrong yet, so I drove over to the east side of town.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Start the YouTube 3D video player. Click on the settings icon in the menu bar to select 2D or your choice of stereo 3D formats

However, when I got there, at the supposed appointed time, it was just an empty parking lot.  I thought I might be in the wrong place, but then I saw a line of late model Chevy Impalas driving across the lot. Now one or two Chevy Impalas is nothing to notice, a couple of nondescript automotive appliances (though they could be had with 300+ hp), but a line of ten 9th generation Chevy Impalas in a row is a car club. Which it was, the Impala Boyz (along with a few Impala girlz too).

These Impala girls came out to support the Impala Boyz car club. Full gallery here.

These Impala girls came out to support the Impala Boyz car club. Full gallery here.

Apparently, this was to be the final gathering of the tribes, an assortment of model specific car clubs showing up to represent. There were a lot of hugs, handshakes, fist bumps and maybe even a beer or two poured out in memory of department members. There were Impalas, Dodge Chargers, a big contingent of Pontiac Grand Prixs, representing a few clubs but most from the Grand Prix Family,  a couple of local Corvette clubs, and arriving almost as late as my friends in their Camaros was a parade of panthers, the local chapter of the CVB, the national Crown Vic Boys club,  in a variety of Grand Marquises, Town Cars and Crown Vics in both civilian and P71 police interceptor trim.

The Crown Vic Boys show up with their panthers en masse. Full gallery here.

The Crown Vic Boys show up with their panthers en masse. Full gallery here.

What I liked about this show, unlike just about every other car show I’ve attended this year, is that these were virtually all daily drivers. Just because someone may not be able to afford a special weekend car doesn’t mean that they don’t love their ride just as much as someone with one or more pampered special use automobiles. It was a run what you brung event and while most of the cars were in nice shape, there were some that showed the scars of being a daily driver in Detroit. Just because it’s got some dents and rust or a missing bumper doesn’t mean that you don’t love it and want to hang out with others who share that love.

I’d categorize the show as semi-official. While it had the cooperation of the shopping center, there wasn’t any judging or official competitions for trophies. There were some burnouts over to the side and some folks were hooning around the periphery.  As a matter of fact, that activity was in the backstory of a little vignette I witnessed. I was talking to someone in the Camaro club, mentioning how I think the integrated spoiler on the back deck of the 4th generation Camaro is a masterful piece of design when a Dodge Neon SRT4 parked right in the middle of the Camaros.

Full gallery here

A bit of a non-conformist, the only Neon in the show. Full gallery here

When the owner of the Neon got out of his car, the Camaro club members started giving him a hard time about parking there, telling him he should park down the row, near the end of the aisle. He explained rather articulately, emphasizing  his comments with words that began with the sixth and fourteenth letters of the English alphabet, that he didn’t want to risk getting his car or his person injured by the people who were hot-rodding.

I immediately took a liking to the chap as a fellow noncomformist. Like me, he wasn’t there with a club and while there were other Dodges at the event, it was the only Neon.

Whatever differences people had, a good time seemed to be had by all, apparently contrary to what some had predicted. A couple of weeks after the show, while leaving my credit union, I thought the lettering on the back window of a Dodge Charger in the parking lot looked familiar. The owner was standing next to his car, talking with someone in an adjacent parking spot. “Were you at a car show at 8 Mile and Van Dyke?” I asked him. “Yeah. They said we couldn’t do it in the D, that there’d be fights and trouble, but we proved them wrong.” The closest thing to trouble that I saw was the jawing between the Neon ACR guy and the members of the Camaro club and that was a mostly friendly display of male faux aggression.

I go to lots of car shows. It’s a job, but someone has to do it. Seriously, though, I get to attend a lot of top shelf events. The Concours of America is right up there with Pebble Beach and Amelia Island, and the Detroit Autorama is arguably the most prestigious  custom car show in the world. I think it’s a safe guess to say that none of the cars at the Concours or in the front part of Cobo Hall where the Autorama organizers put the best cars at their show are daily drivers. Most of the cars on display at those events are rarely driven objects of cost-no-object builds or restorations. It’s also a safe guess to say that the folks who enter the Concours or the Autorama don’t love their trailer queens any more than the folks at an impromptu shopping center parking lot car show love their daily drivers.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Eyes On Design Announces Aliterative Show: Mustangs, Maseratis, Mass Market, Military, Muscle & Movies – Cars and Pop Culture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/eyes-on-design-announces-aliterative-show-mustangs-maseratis-mass-market-military-muscle-movies-cars-and-pop-culture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/eyes-on-design-announces-aliterative-show-mustangs-maseratis-mass-market-military-muscle-movies-cars-and-pop-culture/#comments Sat, 31 May 2014 16:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=831425 The Eyes On Design car show, held every Father’s Day on the grounds of the Eleanor and Edsel Ford estate in Grosse Pointe Shores, just north of Detroit, is a unique event. While many, perhaps most, of the cars on display there are of concours level quality, the show is not about perfection, authenticity or […]

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The Eyes On Design car show, held every Father’s Day on the grounds of the Eleanor and Edsel Ford estate in Grosse Pointe Shores, just north of Detroit, is a unique event. While many, perhaps most, of the cars on display there are of concours level quality, the show is not about perfection, authenticity or preparation. In fact it’s not actually called a show but rather an “automotive design exhibition”. Eyes On Design is run by the Detroit area automotive styling community so what judging is done and the awards that are given are based on design. The Father’s Day show is the major fundraiser for the organization, which holds a number of other events throughout the year (including design awards at the NAIAS aka Detroit auto show in January) to benefit the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, part of the Henry Ford Health System. That’s the hospital system that’s grown out of Henry Ford Hospital, founded by the automotive pioneer. Seventeen vehicle categories for this year’s exhibition, to be held on June 15th, have been announced to complement the overall theme of the event – “Automotive design’s influence on popular culture”.

Over 250 cars, trucks and motorcycles will be on display, chosen for those that “provoke a nostalgic reflection about cars that have, through their design, affected the popular culture of their day”. In addition to the general theme of the event, 2014 will mark four important automotive anniversaries, Dodge celebrates its centennial and this year is the golden anniversary for both the Ford Mustang and the Pontiac GTO. It’s also been 50 years since the New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, where automakers and many suppliers had elaborate displays. Motorcycles will be represented at the show with a selection of Indians. Perhaps the category with the strongest connection between cars and pop culture will be a display of movie and tv cars. While some will be replicas, the authentic Monkeemobile from the tv series and the real Black Beauty from the 1966 version of the Green Hornet with Bruce Lee, both built by the late, great Dean Jeffries, along with a real Smokey & The Bandit Trans Am, will be on display, as will be a few fictional cars made for movies. The complete list of movie and tv cars follows the category listing below.

As part of the publicity runup to the event, the organizers recently revealed the poster for the 27th Eyes On Design exhibition. The artist is Nicola Wood of Los Angeles and it features a blue 1936 Cadillac “Aerodynamic Coupe” in front of the swimming pool on the grounds of the Ford estate. In the foreground a woman’s eye is seen in the reflection from a cosmetic compact’s mirror. Seven other eyes are hidden in the background. The symbolism expresses the charitable goal of the show, medical treatment for eye disorders. Though it’s a commissioned work, the painting was also labor of love for the classically trained Wood, a member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society (AFAS), who continues to paint after losing vision in one eye due to macular degeneration.

The poster was revealed by General Motors former assistant chief designer, Steve Pasteiner, who discussed the origins of the car on the poster. Originally a show car that Harley Earl created for the 1933 Century of Progress world’s fair in Chicago, the Aerodynamic Coupe established what today we’d call the design language for many GM cars in the mid and late 1930s. Pasteiner, whose AAT shop builds concept cars for automakers, is a big fan of the rolling sculpture era of the 1930s. His Buick Blackhawk, which was built to celebrate Buick’s centennial and sold at auction for more than a half million dollars and AAT’s Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk, which sold for $269,500, were heavily influenced by the Aerodynamic Coupe.

I’ll be covering Eyes On Design this year, God willing and the creek don’t rise, so if there’s a particular car or category you’d like me to check out, let me know in the comments.

Here are the categories for this year’s Eyes On Design exhibition:

50th Anniversary of the GTO – celebrating 50 year’s of Pontiac’s muscle car
Classic Era – high culture becomes pop culture, from the mid-20s to WW2
100 Years of Dodge – a century of survival and success stories
Color, Chrome and Fins – symbols of post-war American optimism
1964 New York World’s Fair – 50-years on from the event in Queens
50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang – the original pony car
Tuners – the evolution of car personalization from 1967 to today
Muscle Cars – high horsepower straight from Detroit
Working Class of 1928 – American car culture is born – the birth of Plymouth and Ford’s Model A
Pure Michigan – a celebration of some of the lesser-know makers from Flint, MI
Personal Luxury Coupés – a look at the high-end mid-size coupés of the 1970s
Movie & TV Cars – including four-wheeled stars from the big and small screen
Maserati – highlights from 100 years of the Italian maker
Stock to Rock – standard models paired with their heavily customized twins
Collector’s Circle – supporting car collectors and their hobby
Military Vehicles – from war-torn roads to off road heroes
Indian Motorcycles – an enduring and endearing tribe founded back in 1897

The movie and television cars will be:

1965 VW Beetle (“Herbie”) from “The Love Bug” (1969). The anthropomorphic Beetle with a mind of its own and the number “53” racing number, which starred in six Disney productions through 2005. This is a correct replica owned and put together by a Lynn Anderson, who’s a contributing editor for Hot VWs magazine.

1966 Pontiac GTO from “The Monkees” (1966). California car customizer Dean Jeffries built the original highly-modified GTO convertible, known as the “Monkeemobile,” for use by the pop rock band during their NBC TV series, which originally aired from 1966 to 1968. This is the actual car from the tv series, as “restored” by George Barris’ shop, currently owned by a Detroit area collector who paid more than $300,000 for it. Pics here.

1975 Ford Gran Torino from “Starsky & Hutch” (1975). A replica of the red-with white stripes car driven by the two California detectives in the TV cop series, which originally aired from 1975 to 1979. A “Starsky & Hutch” movie was made in 2005.

Winton Flyer from “The Reivers” (1969). Designed to look like a 1904 car, this one-of-a-kind fictional vehicle driven in the movie by Steve McQueen and owned by him. It was created by the legendary artist and car craftsman Kenneth Howard, aka Von Dutch.

1966 Chrysler Imperial (“Black Beauty”) from “Green Hornet” (1966). Originally created by customizer Dean Jeffries, this modified Imperial rolling arsenal starred with Van Williams and Bruce Lee in the 1966-1967 ABC TV series.

Leslie Special from “The Great Race” (1965). Driven by good guy Tony Curtis in the Warner Brothers movie, this gleaming white roadster was loosely designed to look like a 1907 Thomas Flyer, which actually won the real “Great Race of 1908″ from New York to Paris.

1977 Pontiac Trans Am  from “Smoky & The Bandit” (1977). This special black “T-top” Trans Am was driven by Burt Reynolds in the smash hit Universal Pictures movie, which made $300 million and almost doubled the sales of Trans Ams

1982 Pontiac Trans Am (“K.I.T.T.”)  from “Knight Rider” (1982). A replica of the advanced supercomputer in a bullet-proof body on wheels. The robotic KITT could communicate with humans, drive itself and shoot flames and tear gas in the NBC TV series which ran into 1986.

Nissan 240 SX  from “Fast & Furious IV” (2009).One of the many customized cars used in scenes from the Universal Pictures action movie starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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63rd Annual Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village – Vintage Motorcars Being Driven As They Were Meant To Be. Bonus: Early Electric City Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/63rd-annual-old-car-festival-at-greenfield-village-vintage-motorcars-being-driven-as-the-were-meant-to-be-bonus-early-electric-city-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/63rd-annual-old-car-festival-at-greenfield-village-vintage-motorcars-being-driven-as-the-were-meant-to-be-bonus-early-electric-city-car/#comments Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:35:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=517857 To watch  videos in 2D, see note below The Old Car Festival is held every September on the grounds of Greenfield Village, one of The Henry Ford (boy, do I hate that rebranding, “the Henry Ford what?”) institutions in Dearborn, Michigan. The Festival is one of the oldest car shows in America, literally and figuratively. The show […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

To watch  videos in 2D, see note below

The Old Car Festival is held every September on the grounds of Greenfield Village, one of The Henry Ford (boy, do I hate that rebranding, “the Henry Ford what?”) institutions in Dearborn, Michigan. The Festival is one of the oldest car shows in America, literally and figuratively. The show was started in 1951, making this year’s edition the 63rd, and there can’t be many other enthusiast car shows (as opposed to dealer and manufacturer “auto shows”) that have been held continuously for a longer period of time. Also, it’s called the Old Car Festival for a reason. To the youngest of those in the 18-35 male demographic an old car is one that was made before they were born. To a young adult today, a 19 year old 1994 model is an “old car”. In 1951, going back 19 years would be 1932 and in the early 1950s, a ’32 Ford V8 was, like that ’94 is today, just an old car, not a treasured antique. Though you’ll see plenty of Fords at the Old Car Festival, you won’t see any Thunderbirds or Mustangs because the judged show is open only to vehicles made in 1932 or before. While the event is held at a facility strongly associated with Henry Ford and Ford Motor Co., Fords aren’t the only cars on display. Offhand I can recall curved-dash Oldsmobiles, Hupmobiles, some early Cadillacs, a couple of Detroit Electrics, a survivor 1924 Rolls-Royce Twenty, and even a stately Stearns-Knight with it’s fabulous jousting mascot, definitely not compliant with current pedestrian safety standards.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Actually, display isn’t the right word. “In action”, would be a better descriptor. Another thing that makes the Old Car Festival unique is that many of the cars are not on static display. Greenfield Village, as the name indicates, is laid out like a small American town from the early 20th century.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The roads in the Village are almost all paved, and car owners are encouraged to take their flivvers, steamers and electrics out for a spin or three around the town. Since the Village is self-contained, other than an occasional modern van or SUV owned by the museum, or vehicles pulling trailers for cars so old and fragile (or so valuable) they can’t even be driven from the parking lot, there’s no modern traffic to contend with.

Click here to view the embedded video.

That brings up another thing that makes the Old Car Festival unique. I’ve learned that if you go early and stay late at a car show, you can see (and shoot video of) some very rare and special cars actually being driven, if only to and from the aforementioned trailers in the parking lot. However, while it’s exciting to see a Can Am vintage Lola T70 or Jaguar D Type move under its own power, parking lot speeds are still only parking lot speeds. At the Old Car Festival you can see Model Ts and Model As puttering around at pretty much the same speeds they achieved on the roads back then.

Click here to view the embedded video.

(This one’s a bit shaky, I had put my steadycam gizmo away).

Old cars aren’t the only attraction. Besides the cars and Greenfield Village itself (alone worth many visits), there were vintage fire engines going around, hand cranked sirens blazing, and the museum’s own vintage Model AA “Dearborn Coach” bus carrying people around the village. Going over the video and the few photos I shot, I spotted wreckers from two different eras.  While I noticed one breakdown, fortunately nobody needed to go on those wreckers’ hooks. Antique cycling enthusiasts were there riding both high-wheelers and safety-frame bicycles, wearing period clothing, as were many of the car enthusiasts. The two wheeled regiment was also represented by at least one vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle that I saw.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Late in the afternoon as people started to leave, I set up my video rig on a tripod right between a main Village road and the road that led to the Ford Museum parking lot, where most of the old cars’ trailers were. In the background was one of the Village train stations. With vintage cars going by to the cameras’ right and left, a steam locomotive chugging out of the train station in the background, and people walking and riding in period dress, you could almost imagine you were back in time, somewhere in small town America in the 1920s.

Click here to view the embedded video.

I don’t know how old the oldest car at the event was, I think I read a reference to 1897. I saw a couple of real, not replica, 1903 Ford Model As, the first car model that Ford Motor Company made, and some early Cadillacs, the company that Henry Leland and Ford’s backers made out of the Henry Ford Company, Henry’s second automotive venture (the third was the charmed FoMoCo). A woman brought her 1908 Renault survivor that she drives to and from the  Orphan Car Show held every year in Ypsilanti. No trailer queen that. There were at least two high wheeled cars that must have been from the late 19th century. All forms of early automotive propulsion were represented, with internal combustion, steam and electric cars.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Speaking of electric cars there was even a 1924 Auto Red Bug Speedster.

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More photos (2D and 3D) of the Auto Red Bug Speedster here. 

First called the Flyer, and originally made by A.O. Smith (which would later make early Corvette bodies), who then sold the rights to Briggs & Stratton, it was first powered by a British designed gasoline driven fifth wheel when so-called lightweight cyclecars were briefly popular. Eventually the design changed hands, apparently to the Automotive Electric Services Corporation (other sources say Automotive Standards, both companies may have been involved or the same company used more than one name), which I’m guessing made or rebuilt starters and generators because when they ran out of their stock of gasoline engines for the wheelmotors, they changed it to an EV powered by lead acid batteries and a Dodge starter motor on one back wheel. The little buckboard was slowed with a Model T parking brake on the other back wheel. The Red Bug’s own parking brake was a piece of wood that locked against the rear tires. It had enough equipment to be street legal, headlights, a taillight and a prominent horn, something that must have been used with regularity if you think about how tall conventional cars of the era were. No wonder they were painted red, that was probably to make them more visible in traffic. Depending on battery voltage, and equipped with a two speed controller, it has a top speed of 12-16 mph and a range of about 10 miles. Sold ostensibly as a runabout for adults (“Red Bug is not a toy… it is a dependable electric roadster that carries two adults comfortably), at $300, about what a new 1924 Model T cost, it was more often used as a plaything for the children of the wealthy, though some resort hotels bought them for guests’ use. If you want one for yourself, you can find plans online to build a replica, which would undoubtedly be cheaper than buying a real one.  Apparently restored Red Bugs are worth a lot more than the 300 dollars they cost new.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Gold Bug Speedster was a 1924 model. Nineteen-twenty-four is almost 90 years ago. Watching cars that were 90, 100, and even more than 110 years old being driven down the street at the speeds they were designed to go, I couldn’t help but wonder if people like Henry Ford, Ransom Olds and Henry Leland thought that the machines and industry that they created would last more than a century.

Click here to view the embedded video.

To watch in 2D, start the player then pause. Click on the settings icon (the one that looks like a gear) and you can turn off 3D or select from a variety of popular 3D formats.

A word about 3D. Like Martin Scorcese, who knows way more about photography than I ever will, I now shoot everything with 3D rigs. Cars are three dimensional objects and are best seen stereoscopically. However, I understand that some people are annoyed by 3D and the last thing we want to do here at TTAC is to annoy you, our readers. If you want to watch the videos in 2D, the YouTube 3D video player is very easy to change to 2D mode. After you start the player, pause and click on the Settings icon in the YouTube player menu bar, that’s the one that looks like a gear. You then have the option of turning off 3D or selecting from a variety of popular 3D formats.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Why You Should Go To A Concours d’Elegance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/why-you-should-go-to-a-concours-delegance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/why-you-should-go-to-a-concours-delegance/#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 18:50:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=498409   This is at least my third, maybe the fourth, attempt at writing a post explaining why, if you’re a car enthusiast of any stripe, you owe it to yourself to attend a first rate concours. I first started writing it after seeing a real baby seal Jaguar D Type, the kind of car that […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

This is at least my third, maybe the fourth, attempt at writing a post explaining why, if you’re a car enthusiast of any stripe, you owe it to yourself to attend a first rate concours. I first started writing it after seeing a real baby seal Jaguar D Type, the kind of car that you would normally only see in photos, videos or in museums, actually being driven after the end of the Concours of America at St John’s last year. Okay, so the D Type was being driven off the show field to a trailer in the parking lot but it was still being driven. Still, after those attempts, I just didn’t think I was doing the subject justice so I never submitted any of them for publication.

Click here to view the embedded video.

I go to lots of car shows. The internet is voracious when it comes to content, I like to have fresh 3D photos or video up on Cars In Depth as often as I can, and it’s also nice to have photos of specific cars to use here at TTAC without needing copyright clearances and permissions. Besides, there are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than looking at cool cars in the presence of fellow enthusiasts. I’m a procrastinator by nature and because of that I realized that if I take my time at car shows and hang around until they’re over, I can see (and shoot 3D video of) the trailer queens actually being driven. Sometimes the vehicles are even rarer than a run of the mill overrestored Boss 302 Mustang clone. At this year’s Eyes On Design show, for example, I got video of two truly iconic custom cars built by Detroit’s truly legendary builders, the Alexander brothers, being driven, the Dodge Deora of Hot Wheels fame and the Little Deuce Coupe that graced the cover of the Beach Boys album of the same name. At the EoD show I was also able to see that the Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis concept is not a pushmobile but rather a fully functioning automobile – or at least functional enough to be driven from show field to trailer.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The car shows that I attend range from parking lot events to regional meets to major events like the NAIAS or the Detroit Autorama. In addition to those, the Detroit area has a couple of very special shows, the Eyes On Design show held on Fathers Day at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford estate on the northern edge of Grosse Pointe and the Concours of America, usually staged at the end of July at the St. John’s conference center and golf course in Plymouth (formerly a seminary belonging to the Catholic archdiocese of Detroit). Eyes On Design is a great show with concours level cars, and it’s unique among important shows because it’s all about design, but unquestionably the event that is now called the Concours of America at St John’s, formerly the Meadow Brook Concours, is the top shelf car event in the Detroit area. Now the simple fact is that almost all car events around Detroit, even the aforementioned regional or parking lot events will sometimes have special cars and significant people in attendance, but the Concours is on a different level, a level that is recognized outside of southeastern Michigan, in the wider world of collector and special interest cars.

Click here to view the embedded video.

I’m not part of the competitive show car world. I’m just a car guy who’s lucky enough to get paid writing about my hobby, but it seems to me that while there are many fine concours d’elegance in America, the Detroit area show is one of the three premier judged shows in the country, on a level with Amelia Island in Florida and Pebble Beach in California. I say that not as Detroit booster but rather as someone who reads a lot about significant cars who sees only those three shows mentioned in the provenance of cars that I research, well, that is if they win an award at those shows.

As I mentioned, I like to hang around car shows at the end to see the cars being driven. This year it rained on Saturday, the day before the Concours, when the cars are usually taken off their trailers (to be fair, some of the cars are indeed driven to the show, like the irreplaceable McLaren M1B at last year’s concours) and put on the show field. I realized that the cars would likely be driven out onto the show field early Sunday morning. I got the bright idea that if I drove out to Plymouth early enough, I’d get to see some very special cars on the road (well, on a driveway or paved parking lot at least) being driven as they were intended (well, at low speeds, but at least under their own power).

Click here to view the embedded video.

I got there before dawn and it was cold for a July morning, so cold that my fingers were getting kind of numb, but losing sleep and cold hands were worth it. How often do you get to see one Duesenberg being driven, let alone maybe a half dozen? A Porsche 908? A Lola T70 race car? Century old electric and steam powered cars? A Tatra? Yes, a Tatra. Not one, but two “Pullman” Mercedes-Benz 600s. Hupmobiles. Cords. Even a ‘Hupmobile/Cord’. Speaking of Cords, last year I wrote about a one-off replica of the 1931 Cord L-29 La Grande Boattail Speedster that was being auctioned off by RM at the sale held in conjunction with last year’s St. John’s concours. This year I got to see it started (it took a few tries to get it to idle, btw) and driven. The Cord La Grande speedster took a while to idle. Junior Johnson’s 1963 Chevy with the famed “mystery motor” also idled kinda roughly. That wasn’t the only historic NASCAR racer that went by me. There was also Ramo Stott’s Daytona 500 running, ARCA championship winning 1970 Plymouth Superbird, the only known extant Superbird race car with all original bodywork and period modifications from when it was raced. It was a cornucopia of great and significant cars, a candy store for car guys and gals. While I was shooting the video, one of the show’s judges, an engineer at Ford, was standing on a berm overlooking the show field entrance, three hours before the judging began, just to enjoy the parade. The oldest and newest cars in the show, for what it’s worth, were both battery electrics, an experimental electric runabout made by Thomas Edison in 1889, seven years before an employee of his named Ford would build his own first car, and a Tesla Model S made earlier this year.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Just about all of the cars in the show were moving under their own motivation. A handful of vehicles were towed in by utility vehicle or, as in the case of some rare historical artifacts like the Edison runabout or electric concept vehicles from GM’s Heritage Center and collection, on trailers, but well over 90% of the show’s ~375 vehicles were driven on and off the show field. Some of the juxtapositions were remarkable, like a Nissan Leaf (EVs, old and new, were a judged category this year) and a Stanley Steamer waiting together to get on the show field.

I’m still not sure that I can do the topic justice with mere words. In fact right now the word count is past the cliched verbal value of a single picture. If a picture of a car is worth 1,000 words, what’s the value of action video of hundreds of very special cars?

So instead of trying to tell you why you owe it to yourself to see a first rate car show, I’ll just let the motion pictures do the talking.

Click here to view the embedded video.

A note on my videography. The videos were shot with inexpensive Kodak ZX3 pocket cams and the editing is rudimentary at best. As a photographer, I make a decent writer. Somehow I managed to get one of the cameras set to zoom for a period so one of the video compilations isn’t available in 3D. When playing the other videos, for those of you who haven’t used YouTube’s 3D video player, after you start the video if you click on the 3D icon in player, you can select a variety of 3D formats, or shut off 3D and watch it in mono. I would also suggest viewing them in 720P high definition.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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2013 Canadian International Auto Show: Coles Notes Version http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/2013-canadian-international-auto-show-coles-notes-version/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/2013-canadian-international-auto-show-coles-notes-version/#comments Fri, 15 Feb 2013 11:23:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=477566 As per usual, press day at the Canadian International Auto Show was filled with automakers busying themselves with the “Canadian Premières” of their wares. Very little had not already been seen and what vehicles haven’t been shown are probably being saved for the New York or Geneva shows. This event fell on February 14th, meaning I […]

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As per usual, press day at the Canadian International Auto Show was filled with automakers busying themselves with the “Canadian Premières” of their wares. Very little had not already been seen and what vehicles haven’t been shown are probably being saved for the New York or Geneva shows. This event fell on February 14th, meaning I also needed to rush and buy a Valentine’s Day item. Before I did, however, I put together some notable observations from the 2013 Maple Syrup & Hockey Canadian International Auto Show.

The 2014 Corvette Stingray still looks like a pissed off Transformer that is smoking four cigarettes.

 

BMW will grant Canadians the privilege of purchasing a 3-Series wagon, as of summer 2013. It will be offered in one trim, the 328i xDrive featuring the 2.0L engine and all wheel drive. This does not spare us from the horror of the forthcoming 3-Series GT, however.

 

The 2014 Kia Rondo was a North American debut, mainly because no one south of the border could be bothered. Described as featuring a “tiger nosed grille”, it will have optional niceties such as a panoramic sunroof and parking helpers.  A 2.0L four-cylinder with 164 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque is on tap. Take six speeds either way you like them – manual or automatic.

 

Here’s a picture of the new Audi RS7. Why? Because 560hp. Maximum torque from the twin turbo V8, all 516lbs-ft of it, will reportedly be available at just 1750 rpm. This means that you can enjoy face altering acceleration while taking your children to school. Prices? Firm release dates? Nein!

 

And finally, Toyota brought us their Fun Vii concept. This has been making the rounds for a while, since the 2011 Tokyo Auto Show. The body serves as a giant tablet, enabling owners to change the colour, display pictures, or – potentially – hurl abuse at other drivers through printed word and creative phrases. Resembling a steampunk locomotive, it was nevertheless a refreshing departure from, say, the forlorn current-gen Corolla parked just 20 feet away.

The Canadian International Auto Show is open to the public from February 15th – 24th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

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An All-Canadian Rat Rod (Beaver Rod?) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/an-all-canadian-rat-rod-beaver-rod/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/an-all-canadian-rat-rod-beaver-rod/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 19:48:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450928 There’s an annual Show and Shine every Canada day here on Saltspring island. The choir sings the forgotten verses to Oh Canada and the band plays the Victory March (the Monty Python theme tune) and the bagpipers skirl and you have a choice of dried-out cheeseburgers or falafel. Like all the best car-shows, it’s a […]

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There’s an annual Show and Shine every Canada day here on Saltspring island. The choir sings the forgotten verses to Oh Canada and the band plays the Victory March (the Monty Python theme tune) and the bagpipers skirl and you have a choice of dried-out cheeseburgers or falafel. Like all the best car-shows, it’s a weird, homogenous mix of stuff, and this ’36 GM truck caught my eye right away.

Then I listened to the owner talk about it, and knew I had to share.

He didn’t know whether this truck was born back east in Oshawa or Waterville, but the more likely birthplace was Regina, Saskatchewan. That’d make it a grain-hauler, helping get the wheat from the breadbasket of Canada to the CN railway, and from there to the ports and across the world. The plant would have built trucks up until WWII and then started beating those plowshares back into swords.

Build-time? Two weeks. Seems incredible, but when you’ve got a shed full of parts and are handy with a welder, it’s easy to put the “Can” in Canada.

Drop the hammer? Nah, we’re a nation of lumberjacks, after all.

The tap-handle shifter is a nice touch. When the winter Olympics were in my hometown, Germany House actually ran out of beer and had to have kegs air-freighted over – something that had never previously happened. We all felt a bit patriotic about that one.

Being Canada, these horns have never been used.

Cheap beer, cheap smokes and an 8-track with Stompin’ Tom Connors and Anne Murray on it. Can’t beat that.

This air-cleaner is clearly an homage to our national bee-keepers. Or something. It’s sitting atop a 327 truck motor that’s reportedly barely enough to spin the rear wheels.

A pickup-bed full of self-reliance. That long-range tank ought to come in handy for the long, straight prairie roads.

All-in-all, a curious mix of craftmanship and hack-job hastiness. I’d rather like to chauffeur the Queen around in it.

Oh yeah, or on this:

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SoCal Rockabilly in the City of Glass http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/socal-rockabilly-in-the-city-of-glass/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/socal-rockabilly-in-the-city-of-glass/#comments Mon, 28 May 2012 14:54:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=446454 Vancouver’s a funny place when it comes to car culture. One one hand, we’ve got a downtown core that’s switching over to highly affluent residential living, similarly well-heeled Western regions and, carved into the hillsides of West Vancouver, a community that rates its own “Real Housewives Of…” unreality show. Fuelled by wealth swirling off the […]

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Vancouver’s a funny place when it comes to car culture. One one hand, we’ve got a downtown core that’s switching over to highly affluent residential living, similarly well-heeled Western regions and, carved into the hillsides of West Vancouver, a community that rates its own “Real Housewives Of…” unreality show.

Fuelled by wealth swirling off the Pacific Rim, there’re a lot of high-status automobiles on the streets: throw a rock at random and you’ll likely hit a Supercharged Range Rover, but only after a bounce off two 911s and a Ferrari California. I’ve seen more curbed dubs, beat-up Vantages and hack-job ‘tuner’ M3s than I care to remember. I even recall seeing an RS4 with doilies on the headrests.

Still, to each his own, and for the residents of East Vancouver that means a backlash against conspic-consump buggies and an affinity for hot-rodding. Quick, hand me a ballpoint before somebody notices I don’t have a neck tattoo.

Loud. That might well be the theme of this year’s East Van Show and Shine. A four-piece band just finished hooking the crowd with Back in Black and have moved into their own set list which is considerably uptempo. Cars are rolling in and out, this chopped n’ channelled rod’s lumpy idle sounding like Rodimus Prime falling down a flight of stairs.

Naturally, no show could be considered complete until somebody shows up in a Studebaker Avanti with straight-pipes and has a rev-off with a chopper-bike. (The Stude takes the win, if you’re interested.)

The heterogeneity of the crowd might well be summed up by this particular eyesore. Sure, the two Ray-Ban’d young persons checkin’ it out might be just back from a photo-shoot for hawking underpants or cologne, but there’s all sorts here. Also, a Corel Word Perfect sticker? Seriously?

Bike culture is big in Vancouver, and, like other West Coast cities, much of it could be described as anti-car. Not these two harmonious lead-sleds – make welds not war.

Not a commuter-car then. Gas flipped to a buck-fifty per litre this weekend (past the $6-a-gallon mark), which should mean we all run out and buy Velosters for high-style low-impact motoring. Alternatively, run this thing and rob banks.

Bikes are a big part of the outlaw identity of those pushed East by developers, but cubes don’t necessarily count.

There’s a whole range of two-wheelers here, and I kinda dig the sharpie-scrawl on this next one…

On a Husqvarna no less!

Categories? This ain’t that kinda show. with a single block set aside for angle-parking, it’s the wide mix you get that makes things interesting. A pink Isetta just makes sense.

And not everything is weird or ratty. Plain black t-shirt with jeans and green Chucks = still a badass.

D’ye loike dags? Funny how there’s a pack of mutts here and not a single dalmatian: no Sublime fans?

Just shot down Snoopy.

More evidence of the Grand National Problem: every Firechicken a Burt, every Gran Torino a Starsky.

The old. An empty lot, a ratty Olds, a decrepit VW bus, body-shops, brickwork and bars on the windows.

The new. Splinters of glass-front hammered into the East as the real-estate bubble swells outward. This cherry cherry Caddy lasted. It won’t.

Gas is expensive. The car is a dinosaur. Efficiency is king. Gridlock strangles horsepower. Regulations clamp down fun. The public is falling out of love with the automobile.

Rock n’ Roll is dead. Except, of course, that it isn’t.

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