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63

The Atkinson (And Miller Cycle) Engines – Not Exactly What They Started Out To Be

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“Atkinson Gas Engine Animated” by MichaelFrey – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atkinson_Gas_Engine_Animated.gif#mediaviewer/File:Atkinson_Gas_Engine_Animated.gif

(first posted 10/15/2012)     Let’s start by stating the obvious:  Apparently, the “Atkinson Cycle” and “Miller Cycle” names are not trademarked since neither is true to its original patents when it comes modern Otto engines. Of the two engines, the Atkinson is the more significantly changed. From this animation of the original/genuine Atkinson Cycle engine by Bill Todd at douglas-self.com, it’s quite obvious that this complex mechanical dance is not what’s taking place under the hoods of millions of the Toyota and other hybrid cars claiming to use an Atkinson cycle engine. Indeed, a key aspect of James Atkinson’s 1882 engine design is being employed, but in a much simpler form. Read the rest of this entry »

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Car Show Outtakes: 1972 And 1974 Ford Taunus GXL Coupe – Both With A Cologne V6

(first posted 1/31/2017)    It was quite simple in the early seventies. If a family wanted a sporty looking and fairly-priced midsize car that could withstand our In Rust We Trust maritime climate for at least five years, give or take a few years, then the shortlist would contain only one model: a Ford Taunus Coupe.

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Curbside Classic: 1990-93 Chrysler Imperial – Tarnished Crown

(first posted 1/31/2017)    Sumptuous American luxury with modern mechanicals, efficient packaging and a more compact size. Sounds like a winner! And indeed, much to the chagrin of many enthusiasts, the 1983 New Yorker was a commercial success, selling better than its larger, rear-wheel-drive predecessors had during the 1970s. But almost a decade later, Lee Iacocca was still stretching and contorting the same basic platform. What had seemed a novel idea in the early 1980s had become decidedly passé as the new decade started. Read the rest of this entry »

53

Curbside Newsstand: “Mustang Mach-E Is Not Profitable And Is Not Going To Be Profitable” But Ford Is Cutting Its Price Anyway – The Model T Effect?

I run an automotive history site, but the first thing I read every morning is autonews.com. The industry is going through one of the greatest disruptions ever, and it’s a show I love watching unfold, in real time. Of course I’m referring to the transition to EV’s, and Tesla’s outsized impact in driving that and influencing it. Things have been quite exciting enough, but then Tesla announced massive price cuts of up to 20% on all of its models on Jan. 13.

This is a huge deal, not just because it stimulates Tesla’s demand, but because Tesla is following Ford’s Model T strategy, dropping prices because they can. Tesla has very fat profit margins ($15k gross profit per car) due to their rapidly growing production volume and their relentless drive to improve production efficiencies. Meanwhile, essentially everyone else is losing money building EVs. Seriously; but no one in the industry likes to talk about that ugly little fact any more than necessary. Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer for Ford’s EV unit did so this past weekend at an industry conference.

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26

What If: 1975 Studebaker Lark Redux – Making Sausage in a New Way

As promised at the end of my last post about imaginary AI-generated 1975 Studebaker Larks, I’m working on working on what mid-70’s Avantis might have looked like if Studebaker had stayed in business. I’m not thrilled with the results.

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25

Curbside Outtake: 1975 Chevy C10 Pickup – Little Feet

The Midwest CC contingent tells me that these Chevy “box” pickups have largely disappeared there. You’ll be happy (or not) to know that there’s still a very healthy contingent out on the streets here. I’ve shot and posted a number of them, so I mostly don’t bother anymore, but this fine mustard gold one was too good to pass up. And it’s even got a six and three-on-the tree; that alone qualifies it for CC gold.

And it has such dainty feet!

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26

Curbside Classic: 1988 Ford Crown Victoria LX Wagon – Disappearing Wood

1988 Ford LTD Crown Victoria LX wagon. Chicago, Illinois. Monday, January 2, 2023.

I had a few, basic entertainment goals to accomplish during the extended New Year’s Day weekend at the beginning of this month.  They were, in no particular order, to ride public transit out to one of favorite, reasonably priced vintage shops, to try out a nearby Chinese restaurant, and to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  I managed to do two of those three things, as the eatery wasn’t open when I got to the front door.  That weekend was a weird one for planning activities, as New Year’s Eve and Day fell on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, and many businesses and venues were closed.  Some places were also closed on Monday.  The zoo is open 365 days a year.  A part of me felt bad for the staff who had to work that day, but I was thankful to spend part of the first day of the year in one of my happy places, as I love all the creatures and plant life on display at this incredible zoo.

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Curbside Classic: 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse – A Victim Of Its Target Demographic

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(first posted 4/19/2013)     You try finding an intact gen-one Eclipse; it took me months, and this one isn’t even one of the hidden-headlight early ones (1990-1991). Forget about finding a Turbo; they’ve all been riced, diced, sliced and mashed into oblivion. Was there ever more of a young-guy car than this?  I’ll go out on a limb and say that the turbo AWD version of this (and its Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon DSM clones) was the closest thing there was to a four-wheeled crotch rocket in its day.

It may be a bit on the young side for Curbside Classics, but I figured I’d better grab this Eclipse now, because it may well be the last one in town, especially since its driver is a young guy who works at this convenience store. High testosterone levels lead to several types of driving, but not generally one that pertains to preservation. The Eclipse is the victim of its target demographic. Read the rest of this entry »

49

Curbside Classic: 1926 Buick Standard Six – Money Is Useless

(first posted 1/30/2017)     The Buick name is one of the older marques in the automotive kingdom.  A brand that has brought about a tremendous number of varied automobiles during its lifetime, an examination of its early days is something that hasn’t happened until now.  With our featured car being from 1926, and being the oldest Buick CC has discussed so far, it’s time to learn about the early days of this fabled brand.

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49

Vintage R&T Road Test: Triumph’s TR7 – Britain’s Last Great Hope in the Sports Car Sector

(first posted 1/30/2017)    The arrival Triumph TR-7 was a very big deal. Great Britain had essentially created the whole 1950s-1960s sports car boom after the war with its MG TC/TD, Jaguar XK-120, and Triumph TR-2/3.  These were the bedrock of a market sector that once was very hot, and enjoyed wide public interest and a very decided image and related prestige. But as is so well known, the classic British roadsters were built for way to long, and were all getting obsolete by the 1970s.

Meanwhile, the Japanese were on the attack, most of all with the Datsun 240Z, which turned the market on its head for its unbeatable price/performance ratio as well as for being a coupe. The Italians were also aggressive, with the Fiat 124 Spider and the spunky X 1/9, and Porsche re-entered the lower-mid end of the market with their mid-engined 914.

The TR-7 was BL’s last chance to save a significant share of the sports car market for Great Britain. It had many quite strong qualities, as well as some weaknesses. R&T takes a very close look at it here, and identifies what those are.

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21

Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: Sunbeam Imp – A Different Rear Engined Car For Rome

posted at the Cohort by Bruno Ferlito

Finding a compact car with a rear engine in Rome, and Italy generally, cannot be difficult. From 1955, first with the 600, then the 500 Nuova as well, later the 850 and finally the 126 and 133, Fiat were selling substantial numbers of rear engined cars for nearly 50 years. All in, I suspect you’re looking at  perhaps 12 million or more cars. So, seeing a rear engined car in Rome is not an event. But I suspect this one is. Read the rest of this entry »

11

CC Video: Pas Op! Zwenkt Uit *)

One of the events I want to visit this year is the annually held Truckstar Mack & Speciaaltransportdag. Middle-of-the-road trucks and combination vehicles are not allowed (and will probably be towed), only heavyweights are invited to the party.

The Spotting Channel posted a video on YouTube featuring multiple, rolling and roaring participants of last year’s edition.

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22

CC Cinema: The Cars Of “A Man And A Woman” (Un Homme Et Une Femme)

Not long after my father’s passing, I decided to explore the world of his young adulthood by delving into somewhat forgotten pop culture events. That to-do list included Claude Lelouch’s 1966 ‘A Man And A Woman’ (‘Un Homme Et Une Femme’), a massive international hit in its day that’s not quite obscure, but not as known as sixties icons such as Bullit, Psycho or Mary Poppins. As with many European films this is partly due to lesser distribution networks, not by fault of the film itself.

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33

Vintage Car Life Road Test: 1961 Cadillac Coupe DeVille – Still “The Standard Of The World”?

In 1961, Cadillac was still riding high; eight miles high. Yes, some early adopters were snapping up Mercedes, but in absolute numbers, it was still peanuts. In 1961, Cadillac outsold Lincoln and Imperial combined by a four-to-one ratio, for a 79% share of the domestic luxury car market. It may—or may not—still have been “The Standard of the World” (a somewhat tired slogan anyway), but it most certainly was still the standard luxury of cars in the United States.

Car Life set out to find out how well it met its lofty reputation in the real world, including a brisk drive over the Angeles Crest Highway in Southern California, a driver’s mecca with an equally lofty reputation.

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50

Creekside Classics: Opal Creek Mining Camp Survivors – They Rust In Pieces

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(first posted 4/22/2013)    On Sundays, we usually head for the great outdoors, a break from cars and CC. But sometimes they’re hard to get away from, even in the deep woods. Especially so if one heads up the trail along the North Santiam River to Opal Falls. There was mining activity up there once, and the proof of that is encountered all along the way. Read the rest of this entry »