There are few hot rods cooler than the ’49 Merc. A family friend had one years ago – with its chopped top, bulbous shape, and loud exhaust, it was the epitome of the lead sled. So how do you make a ’49 Mercury even cooler? Make a hand-fabricated dwarf version of it, naturally.
Museums that celebrate car culture and the colorful history of the automobile rank high on enthusiasts’ minds when planning a vacation. What could be better than stepping into a time capsule of hobby?
What’s that, you say? There’s a hidden collection? Follow the jump for the explanation. Continue Reading →
The double nickel. Fifty five miles per hour. From this day in 1974 until 1987, the national maximum speed limit was set by law at 55 miles per hour. States were free to set their own speed limits above 55, of course, but doing so would have forfeited federal highway funds. None did, but Nevada, but that state’s brief flirtation with a 70 MPH limit ended when highway funds were pulled, and the limit automatically reverted to 55 MPH as a reaction to that. Money talks, after all.
Five years ago, visitors to the Middle East International Motor Show, in Dubai, were asked, ‘What is your dream car?’
‘BMW,’ they replied. Mercedes followed, then Lamborghini.
Back then, these luxury cars were unaffordable. Even if you could afford them, there was still the car insurance to think about.
However, times have changed.
A university project I am working on recently got me reading about Ferdinand Piëch, the venerable chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen AG. One of the man’s radical ideas was that Volkswagen was to build a luxury saloon that can rival the best of any of its German rivals, but is understood never to be able to make any money. The Phaeton, as it was called, was to be the flagship of the company, the car to create the halo for the rest of its products, the car that the average Golf owner would aspire to.
Thanksgiving is a special time of year, during which some friends and extended families gather to share a meal as well as each others’ company. I’m fortunate to have seen some friends who live a state away, as well as family who live in town but I don’t get to see very often. Being known as a “car guy”, friends and family often ask me car-related questions when we happen to see each other. This holiday weekend, I had that experience again.
While I was able to happily answer relatives’ questions about many different automotive topics (the Chevy Volt and its promotional $199/month lease was a favorite for conversation this year), I got two questions from late model hatchback owners about the same topic: the “tire warning light”, or TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) indicator lamp. Continue Reading →
About a year ago, our own Kevin Gordon posed a question about the Progressive Snapshot – basically, asking whether it was worthwhile to allow “spying for savings.” In the six years that Autosavant has been online, this is the most-viewed and most-commented post ever. In fact, if you Google “progressive snapshot” (without quotes) this article is on the first page of the results. Though many of the 155 comments to date are not in favor of the device or the concept behind it, I thought that having a neutral party evaluate the device would be a good way to provide additional information to the public about the Snapshot.
It was a long time ago, like almost everything else. John F. Kennedy was in the White House, De Gaulle was in the Elyseé, Khruschev was in the Kremlin, and I was in the back seat of a 1961 Renault Dauphine. My father was driving and smoking, my mother was reading the map and smoking, and I, too young to smoke, was smoking by proxy. We were tearing through central France at a dizzying 55 mph or so, on those long, straight treelined Roman roads, our objective: Omaha Beach in Normandy, where my father’s infantry division, the 29th out of Philadelphia, had spent an unpleasant few days sixteen years previously. He wanted to salute a few dead comrades up there. I didn’t care; I was as happy as could be, just looking out the sliding rear window at the passing farmhouses and wheat fields and vineyards and mentally totting up my favorite cars, most of which, quite naturally, tended to be French.
We know that many of you read this site on your iPhones, and even if you’re reading this on a PC or Mac, chances are that you’re still at least aware of the news that yesterday, Apple announced an all-new iPhone, called the iPhone 5. (Just to make things even more complicated, it’s actually the 6th generation iPhone – original iPhone, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, 5). Also, the ubiquitous Apple 30-pin dock connector has been thrown out after years of loyal service, replaced by an all-new 8-pin connector called “Lightning.” That last point has implications for the auto industry.
As any person in the old car hobby can attest, car shows are a large part of the lifestyle. On any given weekend, most popularly on swampy, hot summer days, one can find and attend a nearby car show. Some of these shows are marque-specific, some are import-only, British-only or American-only, and some are exclusive of manufacture date (pre-1970, pre-1959, etc.). Add to that, you can also participate in cruise nights, club events, poker runs, time rallies, and so on.
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