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"Cruise-In" at the Templar Motors Factory

David Buehler, who showed me around the old Templar Motors factory in Lakewood for the post I wrote last winter, was interviewed for last Sunday's episode of Cruise-In, a locally-produced car show. Here's the episode on YouTube; David and the Templars take up the first twelve minutes or so.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

Notes from the 2014 Cleveland Auto Show - Part Two

We're back again with more from the Cleveland Auto Show.

Das Auto.Hyundai. Yes, Hyundai.

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1937-1940 Ford Coupe

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean. . ."

And he'll probably be driving those mean streets in a 1940 Ford Coupe. Preferably black.

If the El Camino is the Steve McQueen of cars, the 1937-40 Ford coupe is the Phillip Marlowe. Kinda tough looking on the outside, but philosophical on the inside. Not flashy, suave, sophisticated, or calling attention to itself, but tough, effective, and not looking for trouble unless it comes looking for 1940FordTophim. Yeah, that's what this car is all about: “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.” Or the car.

All melodrama aside, this may seem an odd Lust for me. Heck, pretty much anything pre-1960s is a bit odd for me, even though I've dipped into preceeding decades a few times (e.g., here, here, and here). I'm not even sure why this particular model caught my fancy: I'm really not that into hot rods, of which this generation of Fords is rightly famous. Chopped, lowered, painted gaudy colors. . . .no thanks. I won't bash 'em but I also won't celebrate 'em.

Then again one could conceivably argue that the '37-'40 Fords marked the start of the mass-produced muscle car, of which I am definitely an aficianado. They weren't factory-produced muscle cars like the later ones, but they had the basics down: largely standard cars that many owners -- often for very particular reasons -- modified into ground-pounding monsters. And for the most part they didn't dress them up like a two dollar hooker -- again, for very particular reasons. I like that. I'm a fan of the sleeper, a wicked fast car that looks like a standard grocery-getter until you step on the gas and all those horses come roaring to life.

On top of that, it's a very handsome car, IMO. It's got a nice balance, not too chromed up (usually), and with more of a modern form to it than many others from that period. You can kind of see the direction that automobile design is heading, from the big carriages-on-wheels to a more modern, sleeker, and more aerodynamic design.

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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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"Old Betsy" (1918 REO 5-Passenger Touring Car)

"Old Betsy" was arguably the most fascinating vehicle on display at this year's Studebaker meet in Tallmadge.

Old BetsyShe's a four-cylinder REO Touring Car owned and restored by Dave Masek.

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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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Some Cars Just Should NOT Have 4 Doors

"You're travelling through another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. At the signpost up ahead, your next stop... the twilight zone." --Rod Serling

Dodge Charger 2006Yes, folks, some cars just should not be 4-doors. A lot of folks felt this way when the Dodge Charger was reintroduced in the 2006 model year, but we did get used to it. For the most part. I know the cops sure did.

And usually, if a car has a back seat, I'd like back doors there. I learned my lesson in a 2-door Chevette about leaning forward to let folks in the back.

But there are some cars that no amount of time will ever pass to let them be. They are surely from, or should go to, the twilight zone.

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Car Lust Easter Classic: What Did Jesus Drive (WDJD)?

On this Easter weekend we resurrect (pun entirely intended) a Car Lust Classic that poses a question nobody really asked: Just what did Jesus drive?

A somewhat farcical question to be sure, but one that we here at Car Lust are more than willing to throw ourselves into with gusto. This post has as its ultimate source a small movement some years ago by environmentally-directed religious groups to get people out of their gas-guzzling SUVs and into JesusDrivingsmaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles (no obvious relation other than in name to the band). While the merits of this quest of theirs is beyond the scope of this post, it nevertheless spurred me to ponder the question: Just what did Jesus drive?

Admittedly, a small treatise on the wheeled vehicles present in the early 1st century AD Levant isn't all that relevant to modern drivers. OTOH, it's still (IMO) a useful exercise that may shed some light on our common wheeled heritage going back a bit further than the initial stabs at automobiles early in the preceding century. Besides, a little foray into ancient history never hurt anybody and it might add another small  dimension of humanity to the divine that many of us are celebrating this coming weekend.

So, come with me as we journey back 2,000 years to see what sort of wheels our Car Lusting forebears were perhaps drooling over and come at least a little closer to answering the age-old question of: What Did Jesus Drive?

(Obviously, If Jesus did come back today, He would certainly drive a 15-passenger Econoline van: room for the 12 Apostles, plus the two Marys, of course!)

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The 2012 Nashville British Car Club Show

Call this a hat trick if you will. The 2010 and 2011 Nashville British Car Club Shows have been featured here at Car Lust, so now we complete the trilogy with the October 13, 2012 presentation, which included the Sunbeam Alpine Invasion.

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The weather for each of these three shows was simply superb... dry October days with temperatures in the low 80s. Quite the contrast from the damp country that built these magnificent automotive specimens, which may explain why many of them are here in the first place.

2010 and 2011 brought a multitude of Triumphs, MGs, Jaguars, and the like. They were lined in rows that seemed almost endless. And there were a number of those roadsters at the 2012 show, but this year seemed to be devoted to the rarest of the species. And that's what we'll concentrate on here... so let's start with the really rare:

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

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