Tag: 1920s

By on February 3, 2022

An early American car company, Stutz started out as a manufacturer of a race car for the road. However, much like its founder, the brand’s direction changed very quickly. Stutz followed a winding path to its creation and went through a wild ride of death and rebirth over several decades. We begin our story in Ohio in the late 1800s. Everything is probably dark and muddy.

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By on January 7, 2022

In our introductory article on historical Scottish car maker Arrol-Johnston, we covered the company’s 1895 inception, its invention of four-wheel automotive brakes, and the financial difficulties that led it to become a subsidiary company under steel magnate William Beardmore. Today we finish with the brand’s rise to luxury and rather rapid demise.

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By on January 6, 2022

Today we conclude the story of Isotta Fraschini, a company that started as a simple import business but rose quickly through racing successes to become one of the most highly regarded luxury car makers in the world. In our last entry, the Great Depression finished off IF’s last passenger car – the 8B – in 1934. Afterward, the company moved on to heavy truck manufacture alongside its marine and aeronautical engines. Said trucks were still in production when Isotta Fraschini launched a grand final attempt at a return to the luxury passenger car market.

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By on December 28, 2021

Isotta Fraschini advanced very quickly from its humble roots as a French car importer. Through racing recognition and the utmost attention to quality and engine technology, IF became one of the most well-regarded luxury car companies in the world. The firm’s first two large cars the Tipo 8 and 8A were considered on par with Rolls-Royce, and the company found buyers in the elite of America and Hollywood stars.

But the company’s fortunes changed in 1929 as The Great Depression bowed its head, and put a big dent in the ultra-luxury car market. The 8A concluded its run from 1924 to 1931 with under 1,000 total sales. IF was immediately ready with another super lux car as the world was still deep in The Great Depression, but company ownership attempted to pursue other passenger car avenues. And IF might’ve prospered were it not for fascist government intervention.

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By on December 20, 2021

Isotta Fraschini never intended to build its own cars and was founded as an Italian-based importer of French vehicles and engines. But as we learned in Part I, after a few years in the business its small group of owners experimented with building their own cars. Then they tried their hand at winning races with Tipo D in 1905. After D’s successor the Tipo FE was unsuccessful at racing, the company redirected itself and decided to make sporting luxury cars instead. We pick up the action in a year many of you remember vividly: 1910.

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By on November 2, 2021

Our series on Imperial continues today, after a strong start in the coachbuilt Twenties turned into a big aerodynamic flop in the Thirties with the Airflow Imperial. The error in judgment was immediately apparent; the Imperial with groundbreaking styling lasted only three model years.

Chrysler was determined to start Imperial over, and in its third generation returned to a much more conservative large luxury car template.

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By on October 22, 2021

Rare Rides Icons continues the history of Imperial today, after Part I left us neatly at what would become an unfortunate aerodynamic turning point. Ready for some Airflow?

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By on October 19, 2021

Today Rare Rides Icons features a special Chrysler that was a car, then a brand, then a car again. Throughout its varied history, Imperial always represented the best of what Chrysler offered. First, we travel back to the Twenties.

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By on April 6, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride hails from a brand your author hadn’t heard of before this writing. A preeminent luxury car firm in its day, Locomobiles were built for power, longevity, and reliability.

Let’s check out a very rare 90 Sportif.

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By on February 23, 2021

It’s fitting that the first electric vehicle ever featured in the Rare Rides series is today’s two-door Detroit Electric. One of the earliest electric cars, the luxurious Detroit Electric was whirring around cities when many people still used horses.

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By on February 10, 2021

In the midst of the Great Depression, Cadillac offered a new range of ultra-expensive motorcars that featured 16-cylinder engines – a count never offered previously by a domestic automaker. One of the V-16’s most prestigious variations is today’s Rare Ride.

Presenting the extremely exclusive All-weather Phaeton sedan.

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By on December 12, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride hails from a brand which ceased its operations decades ago. At its peak, it never produced more than a couple thousand cars a year. Said vehicles were largely confined to sales in Europe, and specifically within Italy.

Let’s learn about the brand behind this little red Moretti 750.

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By on February 5, 2014
Photo Courtesy JamesBlackRestorations.com

Photo Courtesy JamesBlackRestorations.com

It is late March in 1924, and a dim sun is setting over the city of Cork in the southeast of Ireland. Spring is coming, and in the patchwork of fields that surrounds this busy coastal town, green shoots are already poking up through rich, damp earth.

To the east, through the double-stomach of twinned harbours, the British destroyer Scythe lies tethered at anchor, a dull-grey line of glowering steel. Here, the smaller village of Queenstown is a treaty port, one of three deepwater harbours that remain under English rule as party of the bitterly contested Anglo-Irish Treaty. Signed three years ago, it divided Ireland in more ways than one, creating an Irish Free state at the expense of a partitioned Ulster and a subsequent bloody civil war.

Down at the pierhead, troops are landing from Spike Island, a former penal colony and current fortification that houses the British presence. The launch bringing the soldiers across has only just tied up to the jetty, when the thrum of a racing six-cylinder engine can be heard approaching.

Skittering through the narrow cobblestone streets at breakneck pace, a primrose-yellow Rolls-Royce open-topped tourer slews round a corner and races out onto the beach opposite the pier. Its four occupants are grim-faced and composed; the gaping air-cooled maw of a mounted .303 calibre Lewis gun swings towards the clustered troops.

It opens fire. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2012

While nosing around in yesterday’s ’64 Valiant wagon Junkyard Find, I spotted this little brown book on the floor beneath the rifled-by-tow-truck-driver glovebox. It looked ancient, far older than even the 48-year-old car in which I found it… but it turns out that you can still buy the Ward’s “Ever-Ready” Motor Record Book. (Read More…)

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