By on September 9, 2019

Even if antique autos aren’t your jam, you’ve probably heard of the Blower Bentley. It’s the exceptionally rare racing variant of the brand’s pre-war 4½ Litre model. While perhaps not as iconic as the 6½ Litre/Speed Six, the Blower has become prominent for its ultra-thirsty, persnickety powertrain and straight-line performance. By attaching a Roots-style supercharger to the engine, Bentley turned the standard 4½ Litre into an absolute freight train. Upon seeing it in action, Ettore Bugatti famously referred to the gigantic car as “the fastest lorry in the world.”

Seemingly inspired by other British manufacturers’ recent foray into continuation vehicles, Bentley has decided to rerelease the 1929 Team Blower for a limited production run. Like Jaguar’s XKSS and D-Type, as well as Aston Martin’s DB4 GT, the Bentley will be recreated as painstakingly close to the original as possible.  (Read More…)

By on February 19, 2019

While Mazda’s most famous rotary-powered racer is undoubtedly the 787B Group C prototype that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991, the company spent years fielding the RX-7 in every motorsport event it could qualify for.

Back when the 787 was little more than a twinkle in Nigel Stroud’s eye, Mazda already had RX-based cars running the world’s oldest endurance race. Among these vehicles was the 254i, which served as the culmination of Mazda’s efforts in Le Mans up until 1982 (and was the final RX-7 to run the event). While it didn’t win, it proved that Japan could compete and served as a jumping-off point for the company’s more successful Group C cars.

Unfortunately, it’s customary for race vehicles that don’t manage to take home a trophy to become lost in the sands of time. The two 254i race cars Mazda built were no different — or so it seemed, until the last surviving example resurfaced.  (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2018

To mark the 120th anniversary of the birth of Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari, the Ferrari Museum in Maranello is launching two new exhibitions showcasing the man and the machines he was particularly fond of.

The first display is a photographic journey entitled “Passion and Legend,” which follows Enzo’s life and times at Ferrari. However, the second exhibit, called “Driven by Enzo,” looks to be the more interesting of the two. It features the various four-seater models driven personally by Ferrari. While Enzo was known to test every vehicle the company produced, his penchant for the more-practical 2+2 frequently resulted in them becoming his daily driver. Interesting, considering the man supposedly only built road-going cars to fund his love of racing.  (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2018

In 1987, Ford Motor Company published a game for the long-defunct disk operating system universally known as “DOS.” In reality, the software was less of a game and more of a digital showroom that allowed you to demo the company’s 1988 lineup from the comfort of your personal computer. As marketing materials go, you couldn’t have done much better than this for the era, and now it’s a top-rate piece of automotive nostalgia.

Ford Simulator was essentially the car-based equivalent to the CDs distributed by America Online, but before such a thing even existed. The software just had a way of casually showing up and finding its way into your computer room. This was an era when promotional materials were physical and technology had reached a point where the industry could experiment a little.

Tragically, the internet has eliminated this phenomenon like a dog with rabies. You don’t see much physical media at automotive trade shows anymore and any games that include branded models come through publishers that are able to work out a deal with automakers.

However, for almost 10 years, Ford produced a series of computer programs many of us remember fondly — despite being objectively terrible to play. (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2018

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Wednesday that it will transform the former Detroit production site of the Dodge Viper into a haven for historic vehicles. Unfortunately, it also said the collection will not be open to the public — at least not right away. Conner Avenue Assembly produced its last Viper in August, as updated safety regulations made future manufacturing impossible. The future of the site looked bleak. While large enough to produce hand-built models of a low-volume supercar, the 400,000-square-foot facility would prove insufficient for much else.

Many expected FCA to shutter the building until it could be sold.

Fortunately, that will not be the case. As the company prepares the space for the future, it’s auctioning hundreds of mass-produced and one-of-a-kind pieces of Viper memorabilia to benefit the local United Way. Afterward, the factory will be renamed Conner Center and house a collection of 85 of the company’s nearly 400 historic vehicles — cars FCA says have remained scattered across various locations for far too long. Hopefully, it’ll eventually let the public enjoy them.  (Read More…)

By on November 27, 2016

dealership

Have you ever wondered why the model year and actual calendar year of production vehicles rarely coincide? Do you ever notice American-made cars have a tendency to come out almost comically early? Have you ever wondered why?

The answer is as uniquely American as the question itself, revolving around agriculture, consumer culture, and television.

(Read More…)

By on April 15, 2016

Nazi Volkswagen decal

Volkswagen gets a lot of unflattering press these days, but a faction of the automaker’s fan base seems determined to malign its name even more.

A disturbing subculture exists on the fringes of the Volkswagen fanboy community, and it manifests itself in decals and not-so-subtle window stickers that feature Nazi imagery.

Most normal, reasonable people would want to avoid associating themselves with a man who can claim responsibility for causing the deaths of about 70 million people, but there’s weirdos out there, and some of them are really keen on their Volkswagens. Frankly, it’s as depressing as the atmosphere inside the Fuhrerbunker, circa early May, 1945. (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2016

1951 Cadillac Fleetwood 75

If you’re fabulously wealthy and have a thing for musicals, get thyself to the UK right now.

Bonhams auction house will be selling a 1951 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Limousine at the March 20 Goodwood Members’ Meeting Sale, but this isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill Fleetwood 75 Limousine.

Oh, no. This Caddy was the presidential car for former First Lady of Argentina María Eva Duarte de Perón, also known as Evita (also known as the lady from that Madonna movie your girlfriend made you watch in the ’90s).

(Read More…)

By on March 16, 2016

As a relative newcomer to the car-building scene, Honda doesn’t quite have the heritage of classics piling up in a dusty warehouse like most other automakers. They do have a legion of rabid fans, however, including one restorer who specializes in very early Honda cars — and found the very first N600 built for the U.S. market.

Honda partnered with that restorer, Tim Mings, and today released the first of a series of videos and features on the restoration of this very special classic on the website Serial One.

(Read More…)

By on June 16, 2015

delorean-erstbesitz-mr-delorean-baujahr-1982-1

Should you happen to be in Berlin next Friday, you could have a shot at the DeLorean once owned by none other than the former Mrs. DeLorean herself.

(Read More…)

By on March 27, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In response to my post about how the Nazis tried to write Austrian inventor Siegfried Marcus (who was Jewish) out of history by ordering German encyclopedia publishers to replace Marcus’ name and credit Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz as the inventors of the automobile, some of our readers felt that I was unfairly diminishing Daimler and Benz’s contributions to automotive history. My point that in pre-1938 Austria Marcus was considered the inventor of the gasoline powered automobile was dismissed as the result of Austrian chauvinism – as if Germans haven’t been eager to accord their own countrymen the same honor.

(Read More…)

By on July 5, 2013

libertymotorsbuilding2_r

It’s not unusual for automakers to wrap themselves in their national flags. After citing baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, and sponsoring Dinah Shore to tell us in song to see the USA, Chevrolet is the car company that comes to mind pretty quickly when considering automotive nationalism, but they all do it one way or another, in their home markets. Export markets too, in the case of German and Japanese cars. Those cases might be nationalism or they might just be good marketing but there was once an American car company whose founder was so patriotic that he built a copy of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall for his company headquarters. Actually, there were two car company founders that did that. You may know about one of those buildings and you undoubtedly know about who built it because it’s called the Henry Ford Museum. Percy Owens, however, is less well known, and he built his copy of Independence Hall before Ford has his own replica of America’s architectural symbol of independence made. There are other replicas and near replicas across the country, mostly at colleges, Mercer, Howard, Dartmouth, Brooklyn and Dallas Baptist. Knott’s Berry Farm in California also built a full-scale replica outside their Buena Park amusement park in 1996, but the Motor City is the only place there are two. (Read More…)

By on May 24, 2013
Polo-cat

German launch catalog for the Polo

Where did the names of Volkswagen’s Passat, Golf, Scirocco, Polo come from? What is their meaning? For four decades, it was shrouded in mystery. Forty years later, a famous former Volkswagen CEO, Dr. Carl Hahn, and his illustrious former sales chief, “WP” Schmidt, help TTAC get to the bottom of an unsolved question,

Some of the worst performers in the truth department are the gossip press and the automotive media. A good deal there simply is fantasy. Knowing well that no-one will complain or check, bogus new product plans are being published.  The large-scale availability of cheap 3D rendering software (here is how it’s done) and of WordPress turns this disease into a pandemic.

Most of these lies come and go. Some stay and turn into history. A dark chapter of automotive history falsification is about the names of the new generation of cars that, in the early 1970s, rescued Volkswagen from the brink and that helped turn VW into the powerhouse it is today: Passat, Golf, Scirocco, Polo.

There is so munch nonsense written about those names, that we had to go to the very top, and ask the people who decided these names 40 years ago. (Read More…)

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