(photo courtesy: www.usatoday.com and Charles Krupa, AP)
I don’t know what Tom Magliozzi thought of our little Piston Slap creation, sadly we never met. So I write to remember an inspirational person who did great things: Mr. Magliozzi made the undesirable job of fixing a car into an info-tainment legacy.
Never forget: people make all the difference. This often overlooked fact in the glamorous world of automotive styling rings true for the life of Mr. Uwe Bahnsen. I froze in my tracks when I heard of his passing on Car Design News. His work at Ford and with the Industrial Design community influenced me, and every American who loved cars in the 1980s.
Brethren, we are once again gathered together to mourn the passing of another automobile company. Saab was of that rare breed of car that always had a band of devoted, aye, fanatical followers. In her prime, Saab could not fail to ignite the after-burners of anyone with a predilection to genuine character, speed, innovation, intelligence, and even sexy good looks (at times). Not bad for a company that never once designed a clean-sheet new engine and borrowed more platforms than Heidi Klum. But when you’re small and from Sweden, resourcefulness is essential: Saab finagled an existence in this brutal industry far longer than might have been expected. But now she joins an august group of other fallen automotive heroes in Valhalla: Borgward, Panhard, Tatra, Kaiser, Glas, TVR, Jowett, etc…better that then whoring herself to another rich benefactor. But Saab’s story is worth retelling. (Read More…)
According to many news sources, the historic Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota is headed for a not-so-grand finale. Come December 19th, the 86-year-old facility that originally built Model Ts will be history. Ironically, Twin Cities is currently making the T’s spiritual successor: the (somewhat iconic) Ford Ranger compact truck. So shall we, the collective group of automotive journalists, lament the loss of this famous nameplate from Ford’s storied past? (Read More…)
Good night, sweet luxo-barge. After nearly 10 years in production, the 430’s sales have fallen from about 14k in its first several years on sale to 720 units last year and about 2k units the year before that. Which, for a rather ungainly and quite expensive boulevardier, is not half bad at all. It will never be a car that enjoys enthusiast or collector cachet, but cougars and their plastic surgeons alike appreciate its smooth power, anonymously ostentatious looks, and old-school personal luxury coupe style. In short, it’s been the closest thing to an old-school Buick Riviera on the US market in decades. And as of July it will be gone forever.
In his own ew-inducing sort of way, Oedipus defined the Tragic Hero. His story teaches us that character is fate; the arrogant King can no more escape his destiny than a bad guy on a cop show. And so it is with the Ford Taurus, a vehicle named for either the constellation of the same name (minus the Ford) or the Zodiac sign ascribed to it. According to pseudo- science, Taureans are practical, reliable, patient, affectionate, competent, ambitious, determined, lazy, jealous, inflexible, greedy and stubborn. And some people wonder why the model took twenty years to die an ignominious death…