Though it may seem hard to believe, we’re only a month away from celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Wedge Era in automotive designs.
To those of us who still think of the Countach as a sharp enough design to be considered cutting edge, this is a sad reality. Yet the prototype of what would become the 1980s poster child was first shown in a hard-to-conceptualize 1971.
The influence of the angle extended far beyond the Countach in the 1980s. It also started before the scissored doors opened on the stand in Geneva in 1971 and was seen in many more marques than just those wearing the Raging Bull. Even more impressive than its age is the reach of these designs, some of which are still being refined today. So, let’s take a look at some of the interesting and influential doorstop shapes and where they later found a home.
Our annual feast of dead bird, fine pigskin, family arguments, cheap electronics, and roughly 200 (of 600) good episodes of The Simpsonsis upon us. And once again, we take a glimpse into the wild world of classic car auctions, sure to be another magnificent family tradition.
Due to the holiday weekend here in the States, this week we look east to Milan for RM Sotheby’s Duemila Ruote 2016, an auction featuring over 400 collectibles — all at no reserve. I loved looking through this catalog. The exotics are awesome, of course, but the relatively pedestrian cars that we just don’t see here are what catch my eye.
In fact, the performance extracted from them was unfathomable even a generation ago. How did we end up at a 500-horsepower Audi, a 640-horsepower Cadillac and 707-horse Dodge? What were once numbers reserved for otherworldly exotics now are found in a pedestrian nameplate.
But this is no new trend, for while the current power war we’re experiencing has generated outlandish performance numbers for a mere average Joe, the recipe of sticking the most punch possible into a sedan for the masses goes back a long way.
Notably absent from FCA’s 5-year plan was Lancia. The Italian brand known for iconic models like the Aurelia, Fulvia and Delta Integrale will be pared down to one model that will be sold in Italy only.
Via Zero Hedge, we have a listing put up by the Italian government of 1,500 luxury cars that are being auctioned off. Italy, which is deep in the throes of austerity, is doing the wise thing from an optics perspective, as the cars have come to symbolize government waste and unnecessary opulence.
One of the awful side effects of being really really good looking is that you tend to have lots of kids; and four kids later I find myself driving a VW Touran. It is the sensible-shoes option for the sexually successful in Europe- cheap to buy, cheap to run. Drinking in the TTAC cool aid, on a recent trip to the USA I booked a Lincoln Town Car for the six of us from Hertz, and ended up in a Dodge Durango; after which I have found a bit of red on my neck. (Read More…)
I have a confession to make. In the wee hours, while my wife and children sleep, I often start my computer and do what I many men do when they finally have a moment of privacy at the end of a long day, I Google myself. Much to my surprise, it turns out that there are more Thomas Kreutzers in the world than I ever imagined. One of my namesake is a real estate agent in Kokomo Indiana while another is a member of a German world championship darts team. One Thomas Kreutzer is a community minded plumbing contractor in Woodbridge, VA and yet another, who lives in Florida, runs a video production company. However, the be all end all of Thomas Kreutzers, it seems to me, is in Germany and, like yours truly, he just happens to have a special interest in often derided small car. Creepy, huh? (Read More…)
I’ve just returned from the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance, which is among the finest annual events involving wealthy people who smoke cigars and stare longingly at the possessions of other wealthy people, smoking nicer cigars.
Nobody said it would be easy to sell a rebadged American large car in America, but with the recent economic hammering that Italy and other countries have endured, the market for the Lancia Thema, a rebadged Chrysler 300, is suffering in Italy and the rest of Europe.
Sergio Marchionne told Auto Express that Fiat may stick to small cars in the future, with vehicles like the 500L and the much-lauded Panda acting as Fiat’s “bigger” offerings. The reason behind the move appears to be greater consolidation with Chrysler and Fiat’s larger cars meeting a cool reception in the market.
Chrysler’s latest “Imported From Detroit” ad, which seems to be trying to convince itself to “see it through,” continues the brand’s recent tradition of associating itself (perhaps a bit too closely) with the trials and tribulations of the city of Detroit. That approach, like the 300 itself, might play well in parts of the US market… but Chrysler needs its cars (and ads) to do more. Imagine how this ad might go over in Berlin or Milan, and you might catch a glimpse of Chrysler’s larger challenge: making its cars relevant globally as both Chryslers and Lancias. (Read More…)
The turnover of inventory at self-service junkyards near major West Coast ports is extremely quick, what with the hunger of Chinese industry for scrap steel; some yards keep vehicles for just a month or two before crushing them. This steel-company-owned yard in Oakland, California, gets some interesting machinery, but a Lancia Beta? I can’t recall the last time I saw a Beta in any condition, but Volvo parts hunter David ran across this ’78 while seeking parts for his 240. (Read More…)