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The Cars of Templar Motors 1917-1924

The Templar Motor Car Corporation, located in Lakewood, Ohio, was one of the 57 locally owned automobile companies that operated in the greater Cleveland area between ninety and a hundred years ago.

Templar: the Superfine Small CarThough Templar went bust in 1924, its 300,000 square foot three-story factory still stands. After Templar's demise, the building was the home of Lake Erie Screw, a maker of threaded fasteners, for many years, and now serves as "Templar Industrial Park," a business incubator for smaller companies, studio space for local artists, and a banquet hall. It's also the home of the largest concentration of Templar automobiles in the civilized world.

The assembly hall display.Templar built 6,500 or so vehicles during its automotive career, of which there are 37 known survivors. Eight of these are displayed in the third-floor assembly hall of the old Templar plant--the room where they were originally bolted together--and another is displayed on the second floor where Templar's engines were once manufactured.

David Buehler and Mr. Templar's TemplarThe curator of Lakewood's Templar collection is David Buehler, a lifelong resident who has had a lifelong fascination with his hometown's only indigenous auto company. David owns the cars in the third-floor display, and has five more Templars of his own at home--and he knows where every one of the other 24 survivors are. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Templar, from company history to minute mechanical details, and a personal collection of Templar artifacts ranging from employee ID badges to blueprints to the only known example of a Templar children's pedal car. Over Thanksgiving weekend, he gave me the full guided tour of the old Templar factory.

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Car Lust Classic: Santa Claus' Sleigh

Santa's sleigh Car LustWhat an amazing vehicle! Used only once a year, this marvelous machine travels at infinite light speeds, delivering a massive quantity of packages unparalleled by any other transport device ever conceived by humankind. It's quite stealthy, too! No actual photos of the sleigh are known to exist--the image here on the right was compiled by an artist from dozens of witnesses' descriptions.

The owner of this airborne transcontinental transport device, a Mr. Santa Claus, registers it at his home at The North Pole. He lives there with his wife, and they tend to a small but talented herd of reindeer; a herd that not only has the ability to propel this craft and its contents through the nighttime sky, but also can achieve quick and safe take-offs and landings. One particular reindeer named "Rudolph" reportedly has a unique ability to brighten the evening skies with an illuminated proboscis. The herd stays in shape all 12 months of the year, as their annual one-night, global circumnavigational mission is quite physically taxing, to say the least.

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Great Cars of Death: Hank Williams' 1952 Cadillac.

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 HJCaddy1years. 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.

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2013 Nashville British Car Club Show... "Brits At The Parthenon"

"Brits At The Parthenon"

2013 Nashville British Car Club Show 058

Well, we're back again. And it's another unbelievably perfect Autumn day, October 12, 2013, to be exact. We're in Centennial Park in Nashville, Tennessee, to see the 2013 Nashville British Car Club Show.

And does it get any better than a British Racing Green Jaguar E-Type in front of the Parthenon? Yes of course it could, but only if the Vanderbilt University Marching Band was practicing right across the street... which it was.

This was the fourth year in a row (2010, 2011, 2012) that I have motored into Music City USA to see this event. And never has it been disappointing. This year's theme was simply "Brits At The Parthenon," which didn't single out any particular make, model, or time period. And I think that was a good thing.

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Studebaker Lark Convertibles

It's the new convertible, seats five adults in style. It's so pert and perky! Runs on pennies per mile.

--Studebaker Lark radio jingle, 1960 model year

The owner was offering it for sale because, he said, he has "too many Studebakers." Is that even possible?There seemed to be something of a run on Studebaker Lark convertibles at this year's SDC meet in Tallmadge. A Lark is a fundamentally happy car, and that goes double for the drop-tops.

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2013 Studebaker Drivers Club Ohio Chapter Meet, Tallmadge, Ohio

Late August means it's time once again for the SDC's Ohio Chapter meet, the largest one-day Studebaker show in the world.

Avanti Row -- two Youngstown-built "Avanti Carlos" and a '64 in stunning pastel turquoise.

An exaltation of Larks.Here's a little of what I saw at this year's show last Saturday:

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Arkansas Valley Fair Car Show, Rocky Ford, Colorado

Contributed by Norman Kincaide.

The dust has settled from Saturday night’s demolition derby at the Arkansas Valley Fair. The aroma of teriyaki chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, turkey drum sticks, and cotton candy has all but dissipated with the sunrise.

An eclectic mix: everything from a Chevy SSR to a Studebaker Lark taxicabSunday morning at the Arkansas Valley Fair did entertain another automobile event.

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August 26 Weekly Open Thread--Late Summer Delights

Welcome to the Car Lust Cruise-In, Barbecue, and General-Purpose Social Event. Grab a hot dog from the concessions truck, sit down here at the picnic table, and join the conversation.

We've had fine weather this August--mostly sunny, and comfortably warm, with few of those humid "dog days" we usually get this time of year. In other words, it's been perfect car show weather. I made my annual pilgrimage to the Studebaker-Packard meet in Tallmadge this past Saturday, and I'll be sharing my photos with you later in the week.

Here's one to give you a taste:

Look!  It's Mrs. Kennedy!I've seen this particular Lark convertible before, but I hadn't gotten a really good picture of it. This time around, I got lucky and happened to be standing right there when the owner backed it in to one of the parking spaces. With that blouse and scarf, she looked like she'd driven here through a time portal from 1961.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

1950-51 Studebakers

The appearance of the Studebaker causes an immediate reaction in the minds of most persons: They either like it or have a positive distaste for it. It is not for us to state whether or not the lines are good or bad from an esthetic point of view; however, they do possess strong originality.

--Walter Woron, Motor Trend (June 1951).     

The topic of today's presentation is the most popular Studebaker in the company's entire history. More of these cars were sold in just two model years--343,164 in 1950 and another 268,565 in '51--than any other design of wheeled vehicle produced in the company's entire 112-year history, from the first six ox-power 1854 Conestoga convertible to the last 1966 Cruiser sedan. It played a starring role in one of the most beloved family films of all time, and because of this it's the car most people who aren't car buffs think of when they hear the word "Studebaker." It's also a perennial favorite of every flavor of car nerd, from hot-rodders to restorationists. You could say that this Studebaker is number one on the charts--with a bullet.

Bullet nose, that is.

"Big old jet Studebaker/Don't carry me too far away...."

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One Big Project (Finis)

025Last week, as you recall, I started yapping about replacing the folding top on the 12-year-old Miata. The top was dirty and worn, was beginning to let light through, it leaked, and it stank a little bit. The leak had soiled the rear deck carpet and turned it from tan to moldy black, so that was to be replaced as well.

I had decided to replace the front floor carpet while the seats were out with a new piece from the Mazda dealer. And, by chance, I found some brand new Miata floor mats online from an out of state Mazda dealer. They match perfectly and even still have that "New Car Smell."

So, off we went. The fiddly bits and the old top were removed, and soon the new one was being screwed, glued, bolted, squeezed, and riveted on. I saved the old top for a while for references.

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A Miata is tiny until you bring it into the house. Luckily, I had an empty room to store the carpets, seats, the old roof, and the small parts.

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Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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