All of their bikes will be assembled in Birmingham, Alabama, not far from the Mercedes-Benz plant in nearby Vance. I say "assembled" because the engines are cast and completed in East Texas, then shipped to the Yellowhammer State.
The bike will be offered in what's called a sport-touring model, and in two versions, the MST and the MST-R (shown here, with the fancy red valve covers). Each bike weighs around 500 pounds, which is a featherweight in this class.
As always, this is the place to talk about whatever automotive thing may be on your mind.
We had our first meaningful snowfall this past week here in Ohio. Alex's school called off early in anticipation of a full-dress lake effectsnowpocalypse, but all we actually got was about an inch and a half. That's not to say we won't be getting our fair share of the white stuff in the coming months.
Turkeys on the way, on the way, way, way!/Turkeys in the car, in the car, car, car!/Start it up, off the clutch, anywhere you are/And hit up a tune called 'Turkeys in the Car.'
Here at the Car Lust family table, the turkey and dressing are the same as everywhere else, but the conversation tends toward the automotive. Feel free to discuss your favorite four-wheeled topic while you pass the mashed potatoes.
Here's hoping you have a good holiday and, if you're travelling like many of us will be, a safe journey.
This review was first posted on November 22, 2011. I tried to avoid any conspiracy theories and tried to simply describe the limousine that was used in Dallas. It will always be the center of the event, and luckily it is still here as an artifact, a silent witness, and a victim.
It was 48 years ago today, on November 22, 1963, that the world changed again forever. We all know the horrible details of our 35th President, John F. Kennedy's murder, so I'll refrain from them in this post. But on that day, our nation and the world immediately went into unified mourning and shock, and national television was uninterrupted for four days. Nothing of this magnitude had been repeated until September 11, 2001.
He was riding in an open-car motorcade as all Presidents had done before, and none have done since.
After factory assembly, it was shipped to Hess & Eisenhardt in Cincinnati and cut in half (It is a unibody design). The car was then elongated about 3½ feet and modified with special luxuries, plus foldable jump seats, grab handles, rear bumper footrests, special lighting, flagstaffs, and a rear seat that would rise 10 inches.
At its debut in 1963, the Buick Riviera turned heads. Far from the flabby and drab small coupe it would become later in its life, the Riviera was sharp. While the mechanicals were respectable, it was the looks that really made it special. The Riviera was at once clean yet aggressive, with its sharply creased lines conveying an avant-garde styling sportiness.
Crisp detailing on forward-raked egg-crate grille, combined with quad round headlights, set off the long side lines and the rakish thin-pillared greenhouse. As opposed to the bulbous cars slathered with chrome filigree that were so common in the early 1960s, the Riviera was angular and elegant in its understatement--one of Detroit's earliest attempts to capture European style for the American consumer.
Editor's note: Since this is the 50th anniversary week of JFK's assasination, we are re-running a few of our posts having to do with cars from that year and also directly with JFK himself. This was the very first Car Lust post I did way back in 2008. They say that if you really want to learn something about a subject, teach a class in it. Very true. In the last five years of writing here I've learned more about the history of automobiles than from all of the books and magazines and television programs I'd ever read up to that point. And learned a lot from my fellow conspirators contributors about cars that I never gave a second glance to. Please enjoy my first foray into Car Lust, hopefully as much as I enjoyed writing it.
As odd as it may sound, the Chrysler Turbine was not just a concept car but a limited-production model; 50 were actually produced and placed with Chrysler customers for real-world testing. Consequently, this was closer to actual production than your average concept car.
The idea of using a turbine engine in automobiles has been around for a while and the concept continues to be batted around and appears every few years in popular technology magazines. A turbine engine works by first compressing air, heating it up either directly or indirectly by burning fuel, and using the expanding air in a turbine which results in work which is used to both further compress incoming air and also provide either rotational energy or thrust, depending on the application. Regular aircraft engines are too large and emit too much heat to simply be placed in a car, so Chrysler's research focused on reducing the size of the engine and developing a regenerator to recycle hot exhaust gas back into the combustion chamber--thus increasing gas mileage and reducing the output temperature of the exhaust gases.
Ladies and gentlemen, following up on yesterday's look at airport limos, we present to you the airport limo to end all airport limos, the sleekest and swankest jet age marvel ever to grace a terminal loading zone: the Jetway 707 built by American Quality Coach Corporation.
What was your first impression of this vehicle? Did you think, as I did, that it looked like an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser that had been caught in a taffy puller, or pumped full of growth hormones by mad scientists engaged in diabolical avant garde experiments previously performed only on insects and other small, meaningless creatures?
OK, it's the 1960s, give or take a decade or so, and let's say you're going to stretch a car and make a limousine. Many, if not most of us, would probably choose a premium brand such as Cadillac, Chrysler, or Lincoln. But the fine folks over at Armbruster Stageway and other places seemed to have liked more "base model" cars, such as Chevys, Fords, and the now dearly departed Pontiacs.
And from 1962 to 1977 (except for 1975), Checker even built their own in-house 9- and 12-passenger "Aerobus" models. Heck, one of them, the Convoy, was designed to haul prisoners. Now that's pedestrian travel!
Here is a Checker Aerobus airport limousine. This one has "only" 6 doors, but other Checker limos had the full 8-door treatment as well.
What makes up an airport limousine? Well, they seem to be a large, lower trim level 4-door sedan, station wagon, or truck that has been stretched and has one, two, or three doors added on each side. There is usually a large roof rack for extra/oversized luggage and/or Aunt Edna. These vehicles were built for function more than form or luxury; getting passengers and luggage to and from airports and hotels quickly was their reason for being. Going to the opera or prom... not so much so.
Up until 1965, we were a one-car family, and Dad invariably drove the "Oldredford" to work. If we wanted to go shopping or to the doctor's office, or anywhere else during the business day, Mom called the Independent Radio Taxi Company and ordered up a cab to take us there.
Independent Radio Taxi operated a fleet of white-over-black Checker Marathons, with the firm name proudly hand-painted on the front door in three different fonts. (I've seen old photos from the era of Chevy sedans operated by Independent, but I only remember riding in Checkers.) Its major selling point was that its cabs were equipped with two-way radios, and could be dispatched to pick you up anywhere in the city on a moment's notice, with just one phone call to the firm's downtown office (RIverside 6-8844). There were other taxi operators in Youngstown, but I don't know if if any of them were up-to-date enough to have radios in their cabs; we always got our taxis from Independent.
The big Checker would appear in the driveway within five or ten minutes of Mom making the call--this was space-age efficiency at its finest!--and we would go out the front door and get in. The back seat of a Checker Marathon is a large space, and it's even larger when you are two or three years old. The cab had a two-way radio--just like an airplane!--and a fare meter with numbers that changed, and those were cool in their own right, but what really made it a great place for a kid was the fold-down jumpseats.
Now, regular readers of this blog will probably not go out and buy any of this week's theme cars since they are manifestly expensive and impractical for daily use. Nevertheless, like certain other specialized vehicles, we all stand a pretty good chance of at least riding in one some day (whether we're aware of it
or not). So we might as well know something about them and the weirder the better.
According to Wikipedia, the modern limousine is a standard automobile -- usually an existing luxury model -- driven by a chauffer. A "stretch limo" is usually considered as one that has had its wheelbase lengthened, either by the manufacturer or by a third-party coach builder. In this they are similar to the specialized coaches built for carrying the dead to their final resting place. For most of their history, limousines were standard luxury sedans used by the wealthy and the well-connected to go about their daily high-profile business. The last few decades have seen an explosion in stretching nearly any vehicle and are most often used as rental vehicles for weddings, sweet sixteen parties, proms, you name it. And the odder the original vehicle, the better.
I find myself at a unique place in life, a first for me. I have to sell a car. Two in fact. Well, one is a van, but you get the idea.
Thankfully, neither are lust worthy vehicles (in my mind at least). I have a 1996 Honda Civic with 285K miles and a 2001 Dodge Caravan with 260K miles. Both run well still, and the Honda in particular has had quite a bit of recent upkeep (new timing belt & water pump, new tires, some other stuff) because we thought we'd keep it another year. But the right car came along to replace it, so I now have to move something.
The question I raise to you today is what is the best way to sell a used vehicle (quickly for a high price!)? I purchased a used truck once from a dealer. That's the whole sum of my experience in this realm. Craigslist is the obvious starter, but my dillema is that I live in a small town in Southern Minnesota where the nearest town (Mankato) with its own Craigslist is 30 miles away. We don't have a consignment lot, and I'm not sure that either of these well used vehicles would do well there anyhow. I'd consider donating them, but I don't need any more tax write-off (and it isn't close).
What have you done, or if you haven't sold, what experience do you have on the purchasing side?
Further, what ways do you need to prep the vehicle(s)? I hand shampooed the carpets in the Honda as they had never been done. I hit a few spots on the seats as well. Everything was shined up and I've washed the car. I'd consider wax, but wax is wasted on this paint. It's a black car, so should I spray paint some of the rear wheel rust spots that every Honda develops?
Words of advice? Recommendations? I'd like to sell them sooner rather than later, so I'm motivated. Because the snow is coming.
Hello everybody! Cookie the Dog here once again, with an important message.
Ever since I was a pup, I've been told that dogs can't drive. Thanks to the groundbreaking work of pioneering researchers in New Zealand, and the humans who have been assisting them, that conventional wisdom has been rendered obsolete:
However, our family's social conventions have not yet caught up to the settled science. Despite intense lobbying on my part, my Owner refuses to loan me the car keys and insists on driving everywhere we go.
There is, to put it mildly, no good reason for this. I have a valid license, my senses of sight, smell, and hearing are better than humans', I have previously demonstrated my profound knowledge of all things automotive on this very blog.
Please, just talk to him for me. I'm a good dog, I can handle the responsibility. I mean, what could go wrong?
This is also the place for you to talk about other automotive or canine topics.
The names read like a litany of tragedy: Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Winehouse. . .promising musicians who drugged and/or drank themselves to the grave before they even turned 30. Open up the age bracket a bit and you'll find Hutchence, Bonham, Moon, and Scott; all cut short at or near their prime creative
years. And that's just a few of the more famous ones, an exhaustive list makes for rather depressing reading.
But before them all was Hiram King Williams, better known as Hank Williams. Perhaps the first country music superstar, Williams died from drug and alcohol related causes in the early hours of 1953. . .before his 30th birthday as well. And because this is Car Lust (and Halloween), I've chosen to highlight this particular celebrity's untimely demise because the unhappy event occurred in the back seat of his car, a 1952 Cadillac convertible. No haunting. No bizarre coincidences. No stories of the car being cursed and causing death and destruction long after the initial event. Just an unfortunate end to a short but spectacular career of an artist perhaps many people these days don't even know about, and if they do they may regard him as some kind of goofy hillbilly.
Such is far from the case (well, okay, there was something of the hillbilly about him), and many artists of the present and recent past were influenced by his music. . .and not all of them are or were country artists. So before you click away, sit back and have a short read about one of the most influential but underappreciated artists of the 20th century, his tragic end, and his way cool car.
that just might be the longest car title in the history here at Car Lust.
That's probably fitting, since this may be the longest car ever featured
here as well.
It may also be the widest car ever here. In 1977 GM downsized its largest cars, so this body barely escaped the truncation.
How wide is it? Well, it's so wide that the casket can be
placed into the coach's rear and moved forward into its latching position. Then the casket can be rotated 90 degrees while still inside. That's with all of the doors shut, of course. Then it can be made to protrude a bit, and
be removed from either the left or right side rear door, or out the back. This makes Valentine a true "Three-Way" model.
The Coach belongs to my friend Travis, who hosts a Halloween event
every year. I have attended two of these so far, and hundreds of people from
all over Northern California (and other parts of the country) flock there to see Valentine, as well as to receive some delicious treats, I'm sure.
The full moon rises over the dark and misty moors. . . .
A hound bays in the distance as the ever-present low fog curls around the barren trees. . .is that a house in the distance?
Or is it perhaps. . . . .A GARAGE??!!
We here at Car Lust ring in the spookiest week of the year with an Open Thread devoted to spooky car stories, yours or those with a bit more notoriety. There are quite a few ghost stories and urban legends involving cars. Perhaps the most famous and oft repeated is that of the phantom hitchhiker:
Two young men are on their way to a dance when they spot a girl their
age walking along the road in a party dress. They stop and ask if she'd
like to attend the dance with them. She accepts and spends the evening
dancing with them. When the dance is finished, the young men offer to
take her home and she insists they drop her off at a certain spot. They
agree, and since it is raining, one of the boys gives her his coat,
saying he will pick it up from her later. As she requests, they drop her
off at a house on Meshack Road. A few days later, the boy returns to
the house to retrieve his coat... but is told by the woman at the house
that the girl he describes sounds like her daughter, who died in an
accident on that road. When the boy visits her grave at the cemetery,
his coat is laying beside her tombstone.
The basic story has several variations, including the girl vanishing in front of a house or vanishing at the site of the accident that killed her. A well-known variant is Lydia's Bridge, a staple of North Carolina phantom lore.