Lotus has a history as the most innovative of all the small British car builders, with a slew of innovations and “outside the box” thinking going back to the 1950s. The company also has a long record of innovation in design and the use of materials, and of course in chassis and suspension design and tuning, much of which is completed for others and is kept private. Even now, Lotus’s consultancy business is probably more important than its car building, at least to the accountants. The man behind Lotus was, of course, Colin Chapman, perhaps the most innovative race and sports car builder of the last half of the twentieth century. Read the rest of this entry »
(first posted 5/1/2012) Ah, the Country Squire. What says 1960s to 1970s upper-middle class suburbia better than one of these? Before minivans, before SUVs, and before crossovers, these were the ne plus ultra family hauler for upwardly mobile moms. Read the rest of this entry »
Curbside Classic: 1965 Chevrolet C60 Truck – Maybe Independent Front Suspension For Big Trucks Wasn’t Such A Hot Idea After All
1960-1963 was a remarkable period of time when GM introduced a number of innovative vehicles, the result of an adventurous spirit in the air (or something in the water) at GM. The rear engine Corvair, the Buick aluminum V8 and cast-iron V6, the Tempest with its independent rear suspension and flex-drive, the turbocharged Olds Jetfire and Corvair Spyder. GM seemed determined to break out of its rather conservative mold on a number of fronts.
And the trucks were not spared either; in 1960, GM did something very unusual, even to this date: it equipped almost all of it s truck, from light duty pickups all the way to HD semi-tractors with torsion bar independent suspension. And like so many of the innovations from that period, this one didn’t last either; by 1963 solid axles were back, and the light duty trucks got a conventional coil-spring front suspension.
Presumably, that big-truck IFS was less than successful on several levels, because finding one still on the road has become nigh-near impossible. I actually did see one driving not long ago, but I couldn’t shoot it. So this handsome solid-axle ’66 Chevy C60 will have to stand in, and be a testament to the fact that not all innovations pan out. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve thought long and hard about what kind of article I wanted to write about our Outback. The grayish-greenish-blueish station wagon/SUV-thing was supposed to be our family car for the long run. It was supposed to be the first car of our fleet of two as my wife and I raised our family and commuted to work and school. It was great in every sense of the word: clean, dealer maintained by the previous owners, and solid as the day it rolled off the assembly line in Indiana. I figured that we would take care of it and I could hand it down to my son when he reached driving age. But none of it came to pass and we did not make it through the winter before it was all over.
Concept Classic: 2009 BMW Vision EfficientDynamics – A Continuation Of 75 Years Of BMW Sportscar Design.
I find the 2009 Vision EfficientDynamics to be an extraordinarily beautiful vehicle. Today I’m going to take a close look at this car, presenting it as a defining element within the BMW sportscar continuum and examining some of the broader aspects that seem to have influenced its shape.
Car commercials come in all sorts of varieties, with typical ones often emphasizing a characteristic such as speed, power, luxury, handling, fuel efficiency, space, or fun-to-drive nature, whether or not the subject car actually possesses any of these qualities. But every once in a while there comes along a car commercial that’s just plain weird.
Here is a car I chanced upon one day; I only pulled over for a couple of quick photos and while I can tell it is a Fomoco product, beyond that I’m not exactly sure what it is! A Thunderbird perhaps? Can anyone ID this car?
The third time is often the charm. After my two prior attempts were aborted for various reasons, this time I was finally able to engulf myself in the well of Ford Galaxie. As the laws of nature would dictate, with the two past events being within 120 miles of home, I was able to attend when the convention was nearly four times further away.
In all there were 80 Galaxie’s present. While I did not capture all of them, what I have assembled here is a healthy cross-section of the attendees. There was some rarely seen iron and equipment in attendance.
When it comes to driving old cars there is a fine, yet distinct, line between adventuresome and masochistic. As someone who recently took his fifty-two year old Ford Galaxie on a journey through six states, I’m not yet sure onto which side of this line I fall.
A street, curbside or parking lot sighting of a sports car from the 1940s or early 1950s is a rare occurrence, and such sightings of coveted high-end icons such as the Mercedes-Benz 300SL or Jaguar XK120 are rarer still. You can imagine my surprise at spotting a Jaguar XK120 in the wild for the first time in my life, in a mundane shopping center parking lot full of ordinary sedans and SUVs. It was an occasion calling for a detailed look at this pioneering postwar sports car. Read the rest of this entry »
(originally posted at ttac in 2008 as GM Death Watch #189) In the ancient Buddhist text Visuddhi-Magga, “name” and “form” are described as powerless in their respective isolation. But when they propitiously combine and mutually support one another, they attain power and “spring up and go forth.” GM’s announcement that the 2010 Chevy Cruze would [eventually] replace the Cobalt marks a dubious milestone in its continuing struggle to establish a lasting presence in the all-important compact car market. The Cruze will be the recipient of the eightieth (or more) name that GM has used on one of its mid-sized or smaller sedans since 1968.
Why 1968? It’s the year Toyota introduced the Corolla. We could have started with 1973 (Civic), 1976 (Accord) or 1982 (Camry). But you get my drift: consistency and the lack thereof. Read the rest of this entry »
You are probably familiar with the old adage about waiting for a bus for a seemingly inordinate amount of time, and then due to the combination of timetabling, traffic and customers, 2 or more coming at once. Always true, always frustrating. Read the rest of this entry »
GM’s massive and very expensive investment in new generations of FWD cars starting in 1980 led to some…hedging. Numerous RWD cars that were at one time scheduled to get the ax were given a reprieve. And new FWD models were given…old names. No GM division played that game more aggressively and confusingly than Oldsmobile, which of course had a lot on the line: Its RWD Cutlass had been the best selling cars in the land, or nearly so, for a number of years in the mid-late seventies. So the Cutlass name became a sub-brand, or more correctly, a prefix brand, and found its way on the head end of two whole new families of cars, Ciera and Calais, including this Cutlass Ciera S coupe, a body style that has become increasingly hard to find on the road anymore, especially with the sealed beam headlights. Read the rest of this entry »