Tag: History

By on November 18, 2016

1983 Volkswagen Scirocco BiMotor (A1), Image: Volkswagen

Though today’s hybrids have popularized it, the idea of installing more than one engine in a car to supplement power isn’t particularly new or innovative. In fact, it’s almost as old as the automobile itself.

There are plenty of historical examples of multi-engine cars; probably the most notable are absolute land speed record attempts. Just last week, for example, was the 51st anniversary of the American-made Goldenrod’s 409 mph record, set using no less than four 426 Hemi V8s borrowed from Chrysler.

But even further back, Alfa-Romeo had tried to break the stranglehold of the Silver Arrows in Grand Prix racing by utilizing two straight-eights in a P3 Grand Prix chassis. The solution was innovative, if not particularly successful.

But the exploits of sticking multiple motors in a vehicle to boost power and traction were not limited to exotic racers and record setters. In the 1980s, the concept was reintroduced in a few interesting packages. As it became increasingly clear that Audi’s all-wheel drive would revolutionize the world of rally, Volkswagen Motorsport director Klaus-Peter Rosorius felt Volkswagen shouldn’t play second fiddle to the Quattro.

Instead, they’d play with a second engine.

(Read More…)

By on November 9, 2016

Robert_S._McNamara_and_General_Westmoreland_in_Vietnam_1965

November 9, 1960: Robert McNamara becomes president of Ford Motor Company just one day after John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States.

He may have only held automotive office for a handful of weeks before becoming JFK’s Secretary of Defense, but McNamara’s legacy at Ford is everlasting. However, after saving the company from its own ill-planned and cannibalistic Edsel division, he later created an Edsel of his own in the Vietnam War.

(Read More…)

By on November 4, 2016

volkswagen 1938

The sudden termination of historian Manfred Grieger’s contract with Volkswagen is generating controversy in Germany, with some accusing the automaker of trying to put a lid on its dark past.

Grieger spent 18 years on the VW payroll, and was hired specifically to air the automaker’s dirty laundry. During his time with the company, Grieger penned detailed accounts of Volkswagen’s wartime use of forced labor from concentration camps while opening up the company’s archives to journalists and historians.

The New York Times reports that his contract came to an end this week. Some suspect that Grieger’s criticism of a report on Audi’s past led to his departure, and they worry VW could be trying to downplay revelations about its history with the Nazis and Brazil’s military dictatorship. (Read More…)

By on October 27, 2016

Poling Ford Taurus

Exactly a decade ago today, Ford ended production of the legendary Ford Taurus.

Along with Dodge’s Caravan, the Taurus is absolutely one of the most influential and important cars of the 1980s. It ushered in a new era of automotive design in North America and created a wholly new template for the modern sedan — and Ford turned its back on it.

(Read More…)

By on October 7, 2016

AMC Pacer

There’s some weird stuff out there today, but let’s get to the pop culture stuff first.

One of the world’s ugliest and most unappealing cars is going on the auction block by way of Barrett-Jackson next week — and it could fetch a ridiculous price.

Yes, it’s the Wayne’s World car. (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2016

Falcon (Five Starr Photos/Flickr)

It’s a sad day in Australia as Ford Motor Company closes the door on 91 years of domestic vehicle production.

Some 600 Ford employees are now out of work after the automaker shut down factories in Melbourne and Geelong. This marks not just the end of Australian Ford production, but the death of a long-running nameplate. (Read More…)

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 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 6, 2016

Untitled

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…)

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