Tag: History

By on July 2, 2020

As you read in the previous post, Lincoln has finally admitted what everyone by now knew — that the Continental’s days are numbered. The marque plans to shelve the model after pulling the plug on production at the end of the year.

Big sedans have all the appeal of an uncontrolled cough in a crowded elevator right now, so there’s dim hope that the Continental name will ever grace a stately, rear-drive sedan or coupe in anyone’s near future. At least we have our memories, though… not all of which are good ones. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

For the third and perhaps last time, Lincoln will cease production of the Continental.

The discontinuation of the slow-selling sedan at the end of 2020 was confirmed late Wednesday by Automotive News and quickly backed up by a statement from Lincoln, though the news was something we’ve expected for quite some time. It was foretold by unconfirmed past reports and a growing mountain of evidence.

Alas, this year’s destruction of things from the past did not spare a nameplate that first appeared in 1939. (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2020

ford

The hazy year of 1981 brought the world many things, among them, yours truly. It was also a year that sent bullets flying through the air towards several world figures; a year that saw interest rates soar to new heights (while horsepower values fell to dismal lows), and brought what was arguably the last year of true classic rock.

In the background, New Wave ominously gathered strength.

Also gathering strength? The Ford F-Series’s popularity, as the model line donned the hat of best-selling vehicle in the U.S. that year. The F-Series traces its lineage to the Truman administration, and we now have a new generation to ooh and aah over. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2020

Your author was once a CNN addict. As soon as cable TV reached his humble childhood home, you could find him sitting cross-legged in front of that 20-inch set, absorbing a flood of diverse, on-the-scene news reporting taking place in a number of locales outside the Beltway. It was like Opposite World compared to today.

And yes, that impressionable youth stayed up late the night of June 17th, 1994, watching a certain white SUV make its way down an L.A. freeway. Twenty-six years later, the iconic nameplate that famously ferried the guy who played Detective Nordberg from Naked Gun (there was a football career, too, I’m told) is back, due for a July 9th reveal.

What are the odds that the (deferred) debut date happens to be the birthday of that infamous Bronco occupant? (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2020

Sometimes a commercial runs afoul of government overseers for reasons only an uptight, power-hungry bureaucrat could understand. Recall the UK giving Ford a hard time for suggesting its Mustang could go fast — perhaps even being capable of exceeding the speed limit. Worse yet, Ford implied that a driver might like it.

Over in Germany, an Instagram ad for the new Mk8 Golf took things in a more unsettling direction. We’re courting controversy ourselves just mentioning the incident, knowing that very concerned parties monitor our material regularly for the purpose of expressing online outrage over imagined word crimes. However, this occurrence is real, and it’s clearly something Volkswagen wishes had never happened. (Read More…)

By on April 22, 2020

Bentley

Bentley types are a discerning breed. Well versed in the world of leather and wood and highly respectful of heritage, these people interact with the brand like a museum curator. And the most discerning among them, those who claim to be most committed to preserving all that’s good and pure about the marque, aren’t happy with the automaker’s plan to hit “repeat.”

A present-day automaker churning out copies of a 90-year-old model? Blasphemy! (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2020

With no reason to risk going outside and industrial news at an all-time low, I’ve retreated into curiously dry hobbies as a way to maintain my sanity.

A substantial portion of my time has been devoted to parsing through old automotive catalogs and marketing materials. As someone who is notoriously difficult to shop for, dusty paperbacks that can easily be found for a nickel at any estate sale turned out to be ideal gifts… and I amassed a sizable collection. Over the weekend, I found myself going through vintage television spots — noticing they’re quite a bit different from the ads we encounter today.

While automotive marketing has evolved through the ages, there was a long stretch of time where companies basically just filmed a car driving around as a disembodied voice explained its strengths. This was back when advertisements featured voice-overs telling you that “Quality is Job 1” at Ford, or a choir of voices joyfully acknowledging that they absolutely loved what Toyota was doing for them.

Today, I’m celebrating the 30th anniversary of a totally mundane promotion from 1990 called “National Cadillac Week.” While the free AVIS rental and cash back on your purchase weren’t unusual (then or now), I happened to encounter it exactly three decades after it originally aired — as if destined by fate. It was a glaring reminder of how much car ads have changed in that time period. (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2020

“I’m a lawyer from Denver, Colorado, Mike… I probably can’t hit a thing.” – William Holden, The Bridges at Toko-Ri

Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you planned. Sometimes, despite erring on the side of caution and always treading the right path through life, fate deals a cruel blow. It’s just the way it is.

A man who did everything right can find himself dying in a muddy ditch, far from home. Other times, it’s an automotive brand laying in that ditch — a victim of circumstance, world events, changing societal trends, financial incompetence, or hasty cost-cutting. Whatever came before no longer matters.

Still, some deaths are worse than others. Which automotive demise was least charitable to the deceased? (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2020

With health concerns keeping everyone largely indoors, you may have spent this morning asking the mirror how you intend to get through the next few weeks with your sanity intact. We’ve been asking ourselves the same question. There’s not a lot going on out there and little reason to risk infection so you can witness nothingness first hand. That leaves millions of us at home trying to cobble together a battle plan on how to combat weapon’s grade boredom. The least fortunate will also have to do this for increasingly stir-crazy children. Luckily, reinforcements have arrived to stave off their youthful ennui for a few hours per day.

Temporarily closed on account of the coronavirus, Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum is offering free educational programing starting today. While the content is aimed at children under 12, the site is primarily concerned with producing family entertainment that will satisfy those isolated in the homes. The museum intends on providing daily opportunities to learn about the physics and/or history behind the automobile through the month of March.  (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2020

BMW is updating its logo for the modern era. The old glossy emblem with the dated lighting effects the company has leaned upon for the last 23 years will be replaced with a new transparent image that nixes the black background entirely while maintaining the lettering and central blue-and-white roundel. You’ve probably already seen it on the Concept i4, or are perhaps familiar with its monochrome cousin intended to help distinguish the brand’s flagship models.

The manufacturer has said the new logo aims to establish a new corporate identity for online and offline communication purposes, so it could be reserved for press materials and advertising. Yet it has appeared on one automobile already, indicating the brand may eventually have bins of them at the end of every assembly line. Is it a fashion faux pas or the perfect reimagining of the brand’s longstanding iconography?  (Read More…)

By on March 3, 2020

Listen, I know I’ve given Aston Martin a hard time ever since I’ve started writing about cars. My diatribe about the marque choosing New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as a brand ambassador netted me no shortage of attention from upset sportswriters and morning DJs who cared more about football than I ever could. To my surprise, the ordeal even landed my name in a book about the NFL that nobody read. Despite the indescribable waves of pleasure I feel from bashing the marketing efforts of any high-end brand, Aston’s cars have historically been quite desirable. In fact, I have a gigantic soft spot in my head heart for the V8 Vantage Volante Timothy Dalton drove around in The Living Daylights.

That bodes well for Aston as I prepare to exercise every ounce of pettiness from within my soul to comment up its 70th anniversary celebration of the Vantage. But then the manufacturer decided to put a bunch in an empty aircraft hangar for a photo op and I suddenly remembered that the Vantage name has been tainted by more than just Mr. Brady.  (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2020

2016 Chevrolet Impala LTZ Detroit - Image: GM

Mark this date on your calendar or, should you be so inclined, in your diary. Today — February 27th, 2020 — marks the end of the Chevrolet Impala.

Some 62 years after its launch, the last Impala sedan will roll off the line Thursday at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, The Detroit News reports. A very different future awaits both the factory and the industry, and it seems cars like the Impala have no role to play in it.

It’s been a long time coming. (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2020

DeLorean’s plan to produce updated versions of its only model has been delayed due to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dragging its feet on the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act. The car was supposed to be here as a turnkey classic years ago, but the regulator failed to act after the 2016 election. The NHTSA doesn’t currently have an administrator, and the acting administrator would not sign off on the regulations. Vintage automobiles probably aren’t very important to an agency that’s also trying to manage autonomous and electric vehicles.

However, the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act was supposed to be the keystone in allowing DeLorean and the like to assemble new cars. Noticing three years had passed with no progress, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) decided to sue the NHTSA last fall. James Espey, vice president of DeLorean Motor Company, has taken this as a good sign — and he believes the company could start production in 2021.  (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2020

This must be some sort of irony-steeped Radwood thing. How else to explain the sudden resurgence in enthusiasm for a mid-sized van that loitered in General Motors’ lineup for two uneventful decades?

It seems there’s a concerted — though perhaps not entirely honest — effort to return the lowly Astro to the Chevrolet stable. It’s a plaintive wail that will absolutely fall on deaf ears in the boardrooms of the Renaissance Center. And so it should. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

Nothing lasts forever. Not even, apparently, the Morgan Plus 4 — a low-slung, quintessentially British roadster that started production in 1950 and still looks looks like it comes from a land of postwar rationing. Beneath the 2020 Plus 4 lies the same ladder frame that underpinned the first Plus 4, which arrived on the scene when Betty White was just 29.

You won’t find many 2020 Plus 4 models. Just 20 commemorative examples are planned as Morgan gears up to enter the modern age. (Read More…)

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