“On week-ends,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in his classic American novel The Great Gatsby, “his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight…”
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It boasts one of the premier features of a James Bond-style car, yet it looks like the ultimate nerd-mobile. It has the classic styling elements of a vehicle from 1960s Detroit, yet it was built in Germany. And, while it runs great on land, it gets around just fine in water as well. “It” is the Amphicar, one of the quirkiest yet most ingenious vehicles in automotive history.
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards set forth by the Obama administration has been called the single most important aspect in shaping the future of the automotive industry. It is hard to argue with that. Given our current love of speed and need for large trucks in our infrastructure, we still have a healthy thirst for fuel, which makes the CAFE industry goals of 35.5 MPG by 2016 and 54.5 MPG by 2025 an incredibly daunting task.
Dita Von Teese is an American burlesque dancer– not a stripper! She is thought to have re-popularized burlesque dancing, and has a general affection for all things 1930s and 1940s. Part of that love-affair with that period is a connection with cars of the time. She loves he 1946 Ford Convertible, but one of her prized rides has been her 1939 Packard 120. Von Teese is now selling the Packard, and to help move the car, she posed in a series of photos that evoke the time and look when the car was built.
When we think of automotive pioneers, people like Henry Ford come to mind: late 19th-early 20th century inventors who harnessed the power of the internal combustion engine. Two figures that usually go unmentioned are Robert Fourness and James Ashworth. Yet a number of sources report that the pair built a functioning automobile as far back as 1788.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby tells the story of a mysterious man whose life is a testament to the evils of greed and wanton excess. Almost as mysterious is the automobile that Gatsby drives in the book. Fitzgerald describes it as “a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hatboxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns” (68). So what of the car in the new Gatsby flick, which comes out today?
What guy wouldn’t want to be Tony Stark? He gets paid to blow things up. He’s dating Gwyneth Paltrow. He seems to have more money than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined. And then there’s that metal suit.
Of course, none of those things can compare to his fleet of cars. Here’s a look at some of the ones that have appeared in the films. If the list makes you envious, then welcome to the club.
The term “people’s car” has a long history in the automotive world. I refer not to one particular model, but rather to the concept of a cheap, reliable vehicle that can haul the average Joe or Jane back and forth in comfort and safety. The Model T was the original attempt at creating such a car, followed in the 1940s by the VW Beetle. The Yugo was billed as the everyman’s ride of the 1980s, until it became apparent that it could barely make it off the dealer’s lot without exploding.
“Let me tell you a story about a man named Jed, poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed.”
For millions of Americans, those words were a welcome notice that it was time for another episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, which ran from September 26, 1962 to March 23, 1971. While it focused on the misadventures of Jed, Elly, Jethro, and Granny, one of the most popular “characters” was the truck that the family rode in during most episodes. As I grew up watching the program, I often wondered if it was an old production model or something custom-built for the show. Many other fans have wondered the same thing over the years.
The Munsters ran from September 24, 1964 to May 12, 1966, barely making it through two seasons before being cancelled. As a kid watching it in syndication I was never a huge fan, but two things about the show stuck out in my mind. One was Marilyn, Lily’s niece played by Pat Priest. The other was the family car, known today as the Munster Koach. Like Marilyn, it’s unforgettable.
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