Tag: History

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…)

By on December 19, 2019

After years of trying, an urban revitalization group attempting to get Toledo, Ohio, back on track has gotten an affirmative nod from Fiat Chrysler to build an automotive museum devoted entirely to the Jeep brand. The 56,000 square-foot facility will be called “The Jeep Experience” and play host to numerous interactive exhibits.

Modeled after the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee and the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, the site has not yet been officially announced. Final negotiations are necessary before a contract is put in play. However, The Toledo Blade recently received confirmation from ProMedica President and CEO Randy Oostra, a member of the revitalization group, that there shouldn’t be anything standing in the way of the museum opening in 2022.  (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2019

GM Canada

Canada had just turned 40 and Teddy Roosevelt was running a zoo out of the White House when the first automobiles rolled out of Oshawa, Ontario.

Starting in 1907, Oshawa built vehicles of the McLaughlin Motor Car Company, with the cars carrying Buick drivetrains shipped in from Flint, Michigan. An early alliance! Thank the close friendship between Sam McLaughlin and William Durant for that partnership. The Chevrolet brand set up shop at the lakeside assembly plant not long thereafter, and in 1918 General Motors of Canada Limited was formed from McLaughlin and Chevrolet Canada.

Fast-forward 101 years, and the last GM vehicle has left the factory. Workers put the finishing touches on the final vehicle today. (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2019

1993 Plymouth Voyager in Colorado wrecking yard , hood ornament - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

As the automotive industry fluxes towards utility vehicles and electrics, the death of familiar nameplates has become an all-too-common occurrence. Goodbye, Focus, Fiesta, Taurus, LaCrosse, and Regal. And goodbye, too, to the Ultradrive four-speed automatic transmission, which meets its end in the coming year.

The Pentastar-stamped unit — seemingly older than Kirk Douglas’ dad — meets its maker after a lengthy career managing power in a dizzying array of models. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

An article posted yesterday on these renowned pages really got me thinking about how certain brands seem to not have much of a future in the automotive landscape of 2020 — and beyond. If you didn’t click the link there, you may be wondering which brand I’m presently speaking of. It is of course Alfa Romeo.

Let’s do some Italian-style pondering.

(Read More…)

By on November 5, 2019

A strange coincidence today — as exotic-obsessed auto journos took to Twitter to drool over Caterham’s latest iteration of the classic Lotus Seven roadster (and rightly so, as motoring doesn’t get any purer), Lotus itself may be planning to resurrect a famous nameplate from the past.

This model’s a little more modern than the Seven, but only just. According to sources who spoke to Autocar, the British automaker, now flush with cash from its Chinese parent, has its eye on a new Elan. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

1982 Dodge Aries Wagon in Colorado Wrecking Yard, front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin

Millennials find themselves at a societal crossroads. Wage growth isn’t ideal, living (and certainly education) costs are rising faster than their paychecks, and technological advancements are rendering swaths of middle-class jobs obsolete.

Which is why, in this author’s opinion, it’s time for Aries. (Read More…)

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 August 15, 2019

Steph Willems/TTAC

Automotive collectibles emerge from pop culture all the time, but this particular auction item can be assured of stratospheric bids. It’s an icon, one that’s thrilled generations of audiences for 51 years, ever since San Francisco’s nattily-dressed Lieutenant Frank Bullitt spotted a suspicious black Dodge Charger in the rear-view of his Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang 390 fastback.

Two identical Mustangs went into the Holy Grail of all movie car chases, but only one remains in drivable condition (the subject of this story didn’t have to endure the suspension-twisting jumps). Ford pressed both it and Steve McQueen’s granddaughter into service during the 2018 Detroit auto show, using the historical eye candy as a backdrop to its launch of the new Bullitt edition ‘Stang.

Come 2020, the actual Bullitt Mustang will change hands. Who the lucky bastard is who gets behind the wheel remains to be seen. (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2019

While Lotus Cars’ world premiere of the Evija hypercar was easily the biggest announcement made by the company in the past ten years, another major announcement slipped in beneath the radar this week. Apparently, Lotus has a new logo.

Whilst browsing the brand’s latest press releases, we noticed it had uploaded some new photos of the Evija and a gaggle of snapshots from its new partnership with the Norwich City Football Club. Despite European soccer sponsorships holding this author’s interest about as well as a sieve holds water, something looked a little off about the Lotus emblem emblazoned on the Evora and Exige models parked outside of the renamed “Lotus Training Centre.”

Why Lotus decided to bury its new branding announcement deep within a press release about its favorite sports club is anybody’s guess. Perhaps it felt the changes to the logo weren’t extreme enough to warrant a separate announcement.  (Read More…)

By on July 24, 2019

Today marks the first entry into a two-part Question of the Day series where we’ll step back in time. The purpose of the journey? To fix the mishaps committed by automakers. First up are the missed opportunities.

(Read More…)

By on July 18, 2019

Space may be the final frontier, but humanity’s efforts in up there resulted in new and advanced technology down here. Some of that technology has found its way into the automobile. Since it’s the 50th anniversary of humans first stepping foot on the moon, it may be a good time to check out some of the space-inspired tech in your car.

Nissan created an infographic highlighting some of the tech. Tires are the most important part of any car, and modern winter tires can trace some of its roots to the space program. Nokian developed winter tires in the 30s, but Goodyear’s special tires for the lunar rover needed to remain pliable at -195 degrees. Those are conditions that aren’t experienced on Earth.

(Read More…)

By on July 11, 2019

Volkswagen’s Beetle has officially ended production. The last examples of the brand’s famous model rolled off the assembly line at VW’s Puebla plant in Mexico this week, with the company reserving the final one for display at Volkswagen’s local museum. The automaker said the car would live on as “a lasting tribute to the automobile’s rich and storied heritage.”

As one of the most recognizable and historically important cars ever made, the original Type 1 was manufactured between 1938 and 2003. The “New” Beetle hit the assembly line in 1997 before being replaced by the A5 version in 2011. Technically, that’s the car that’s getting the axe. However, with nothing in line to replace it, Beetle as a whole is going the way of the dodo.  (Read More…)

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