Tag: History

By on May 15, 2016

Dodge LaFemme, Walter P Chrysler Museum, Source: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

Just two days after Cadillac announced opening up what they hope will be an au courant coffee shop on the ground floor of its trendy lower Manhattan digs, Fiat Chrysler announced it will reopen the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, on the grounds of Chrysler’s campus in slightly less trendy Auburn Hills, on June 4th.

The museum, which first opened in 1999 when Daimler owned Chrysler, has displays that cover the history of the current Chrysler brands along with the company’s former nameplates, starting with a 1902 Rambler from the Jeffrey company (the progenitor to Nash) and American Motors. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2016

2016 Jeep Wrangler, Yokohama Geolandar G015 Launch, Moab, Utah, Image: Lerry Liu/Yokohama

More than 300 jobs are coming to a historic Toledo manufacturing site, and you can thank the car-buying public’s thirst for Jeeps for it.

Dana Holding Corp. is spending $70 million to build a 300,000 square foot axle plant at the former Willys-Overland site, with Jeep being its only named customer, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2016

Fuzzbuster II Radar Detector, Image: dave_7/Flickr

by Richard A. Ratay

In 1974, Congress passed legislation establishing the national highway speed limit of 55 mph. The original goal of the law was to conserve gas during the first OPEC Oil Crisis. Later, proponents of the lower limit argued it reduced highway fatalities. (Remember “55 Saves Lives”?) In time, studies showed the lower limit accomplished neither objective. It did, however, irk just about every driver across America.

Truckers were already equipped with their own means of skirting the new limit. Using their CB radios, long haul truck drivers kept each other informed about the whereabouts of “bear traps” and “Smokeys” lurking along the highways.

But drivers of automobiles sought their own weapon for combatting enforcement of the new lower speed limit. They found it in a device called “The Fuzzbuster.” Released a year before passage of the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit, the Fuzzbuster was the creation of Dale Smith, an Ohio driver who had earlier found himself seething at the side of the road after being nabbed in a police speed trap.

(Read More…)

By on April 27, 2016

Chevrolet Cavalier

No matter who you are or what status you hold in society, at some point in the past 34 years you did something in a Chevrolet Cavalier, and it was probably a lackluster experience (barring anything in the backseat, though even then…).

For reasons unknown, the nameplate that once summed up everything that was wrong with domestic compacts will return to the automotive landscape on a China-only Chevrolet model, GMInsideNews reports. (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Exterior-008

Will there be a Green Mile edition?

The slow-selling Volkswagen Beetle is living on borrowed time, if a tweet by industry insider Autoline can be believed, but aside from nostalgia, why should the world mourn a vehicle that few buyers want?

In the wake of the disruptive and wildly expensive diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen needs sales in a big way, and they’re not getting them from the Beetle. Seven months out from the diesel revelations, Volkswagen’s sales are still dropping, and the Beetle’s popularity with buyers has all the power of, well, an original Beetle engine. (Read More…)

By on March 29, 2016

Trans Am SE Bandit Edition (Image: Trans Am Depot)

Ungodly horsepower and unbridled car lust? Check. Gaudy awesome lettering and badges? Check. (Optional) Disco era moustaches? Check.

If you’re triggered by anything that isn’t subdued, then the Trans Am SE Bandit Edition is definitely not a safe space.

Trans Am Depot, the Tallahassee-based creator of custom-built Trans Ams (using 5th-generation Chevrolet Camaros as a canvas), is out to satisfy 77 lucky buyers who yearn for the heady days of the late 1970s.

(Read More…)

By on March 25, 2016

Jaguar XK-SS (recreation)

When fire destroyed Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant on Feb. 12, 1957, nine of the 25 existing XK-SS models were consumed by flames. The spartan roadster — a road going version of the famous D-type race car — went on to become a legend and the remaining 16 examples are among the most valuable collector cars on the market.

Now, the lost nine are going to rise from the ashes, as Jaguar plans to use their serial numbers on a limited run of exact replicas, mirroring last year’s E-type Lightweight.

(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 26, 2016

Round Door Rolls, 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Aerodynamic Coupe front 3/4, Petersen Automotive Museum, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

I’ve tangentially touched on the topic of this post, the famous art deco “Round Door Rolls-Royce”, before when discussing Audi advertising and some Detroit history. On my recent trip to Los Angeles to drive a McLaren 675LT (you think Jack Baruth is the only TTAC staffer who can swing the loan of a supercar?), I took the opportunity to visit the newly renovated Petersen Automotive Museum and the unusually bodied Rolls happened to be on display right where you walk into the building.

It’s a striking looking car, to say the least, and a multiple show winner undoubtedly worthy of historical note. Almost more interesting than the car, though, is the way its tale is presented and what that teaches us about the way ideas get entrenched, how a single facet of a story can obscure its context. (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2016

1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster Lake Maggiore Mullin Museum front 3/4 beauty shot flash © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

Every car has a story. In the case of this 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster, it has two. Both are good stories. One, however, is the stuff of legend, and the other closer to historical truth. (Read More…)

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