Tag: History

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. (Find Out…)

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.  (Find Out…)

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. (Find Out…)

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.  (Find Out…)

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.

(Find Out…)

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.

(Find Out…)

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.  (Find Out…)

By on July 3, 2019

fca

It’s seldom spoken of publicly, but every writer keeps in the back of his or her mind an obituary they hope to never pen. In this keyboard jockey’s case, that obit would be the one you’re reading now.

Tuesday night brought word that Lee Iacocca — era-defining auto executive, marketer extraordinaire, outspoken patriot and critic — passed away at the age of 94. Lia Iacocca Assad says her father died of complications from Parkinson’s disease at his Bel-Air, California home, The Washington Post reports. (Find Out…)

By on May 30, 2019

Once the sedan of choice for discerning Anglophiles and 1980s crime-fighting New Yorkers played by Edward Woodward, Jaguar’s XJ has seen a long fall from grace. This summer, the stately model officially hits the ground.

Amid tanking sales for both it and its sedan stablemates, the Jaguar XJ will cease production in a matter of months, with the automaker claiming its death is merely a passing phase. (Find Out…)

By on May 23, 2019

It’s the end of an era. Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz announced the death of the SLC (formerly SLK) roadster, and today Audi announced it will do the same to its own two-seat roadster and four-place coupe.

The TT first appeared in late 1998, bringing youthful excitement and distinctive design to the brand’s sedan-heavy lineup. It also served as an excellent rival to the SLK, which bowed a couple of years earlier. Thanks to dwindling sales and Audi’s push for electrification, the recently refreshed TT is now doomed.

It’s not the only gas-powered model that could disappear from the lineup, either. (Find Out…)

By on May 15, 2019

1967 DeTomaso Mangusta, Image: DeTomaso

De Tomaso, the idled Italian supercar brand that built a handful of drool-worthy models during its tumultuous lifespan, is poised for a resurrection.

The one-time maker of the Ford-powered Mangusta and Pantera will return from its hibernation with a new model introduced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 4th, the brand’s owners claim. Lovers of the brand’s historical offerings no doubt have their fingers crossed, hoping this isn’t another false start. (Find Out…)

By on April 17, 2019

1996 Chevrolet Impala SS - Image: ChevroletLast week, we accepted suggestions for our readers’ least favorite front-drive cars from the 1990s, but commenter Art Vandelay (an importer/exporter) wanted more. We’re back a week later to repeat the same question, but with a focus on rear-drive rides. Let the aero-infused criticism begin.

(Find Out…)

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.  (Find Out…)

By on February 1, 2019

If you drive, or walk, down Woodward Ave. from Detroit’s New Center area to downtown, you can’t help but notice the economic development along that corridor. Detroit has bottomed out. Areas formerly bereft of businesses and housing have been filled in, and hopefully that development will start spreading east and west of Woodward, Detroit’s version of Main Street. Over on the east side of town, one of America’s most blighted urban areas, there is another hopeful sign — a symbol of the city and domestic automobile industry’s decline has literally come crashing down.

The Packard plant bridge over East Grand Boulevard, target of lazy photojournalists for years, collapsed last week, perhaps due to extreme temperature swings the midwest has seen recently. (Find Out…)

By on January 4, 2019

2018 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate Black Edition

Ten years of lost time has a way of diminishing past events, even one so extreme as the global financial meltdown of 2008-09. It also pushes aside memories of a lot of vehicles that still lingered on the market a decade ago.

At the time, the U.S. economy found itself in freefall. Unemployment rose like a Saturn 5 rocket bound for lunar orbit, gas prices spiked as oil suddenly gained the value of a icy cold canteen on a desert island, and auto sales tanked like Lindsay Lohan’s career. Trucks and SUVs, which were gaining ground throughout the 2000s, ceded territory to passenger cars as the overall industry shed 3 million sales in 2008. The following year brought the worst of it, followed by a steady climb out of the depths. Happier days, just not for traditional passenger cars.

What a difference a decade makes. (Find Out…)

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