Don’t call me Ishmael, but it seems to me that stories of failure are perhaps more engaging than those of success. Sure, we all love a good Horatio Alger story of someone pulling their socks up and making something of themselves, but they’ve made a lot more movies about the Titanic than stories about the Queens Mary and Elizabeth, both 1 and 2 all combined. The same is true of the automotive world. As far as I’ve been able to determine, there’s never been a theatrical movie dramatizing the life of Henry Ford (Cliff Robertson played him in a television mini-series and PBS’s *The American Experience recently profiled Ford on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth) but I bet you remember Jeff Bridges as Preston Tucker. Maybe there’s more dramatic meat to work with, the inherent tragedy of one’s reach exceeding one’s grasp, in a notable failure. Perhaps that’s why there have been a number of documentaries produced about John Zachary DeLorean’s eponymous company and the car that it produced (and why there was even a Bricklin musical). It needs saying, also, that a lot of the interest in the DeLorean can be attributed to the car’s starring role in the Back To The Future movie franchise. Combine a pop culture icon and the dramatic failure of a bravura personality and there’s bound to be interest. (Read More…)
TTAC readers, the Best and the Brightest, seemed to have liked the first Magazine Memories so I started to sort and organize the boxes of old buff books in the basement, with an eye towards another column for you guys. The first piece was about a Sports Car Graphic from 1969, a golden age for both performance cars and auto racing. I thought it would be interesting, by way of contrast, to look at an era of less worthy automobiles, the “malaise era”, so named because of a speech given by Jimmy Carter during his presidency that attempted to address a sense of national lethargy. Though Carter never actually used the word malaise, the tag stuck. Looking at magazines from the middle of the Carter years, the winter of 1980-81, though, the cars were so boring and mediocre that I thought it’d be too much of a challenge to even joke about how boring and mediocre they were.