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November 10 Open Thread: The More Things Change. . . . .

You know the saying "There's nothing new under the sun"? Yeah. 

Submitted for your contemplation: Girls + Cars. Cars + Girls. I'm fairly certain that the average Roman  curri dealer occasionally had a couple of calida mulierculae Romana* posing next to the new (AD) 14 models. And you can bet that the first thing some guy will do when he invents an anti-gravity landspeeder is dress up a future honey or two in quasi-futuristic bikinis (or perhaps grab a couple of Fembots) and sit them on the hood. It's what we do. Hence, compare and contrast:

Flappercar

That, according to Vintage Everyday, is a Peerless Touring Car, taken in 1923 in San Francisco.

And here. . . .

Two_girls_one_car_by_Graffton

is a more recent rendition.

A couple of things I noted:

-- There's no bumper on the Infiniti to stand on

-- There's probably more steel in the hood of the Peerless than in the entire Infiniti

-- You could probably outfit 20 of the modern ladies in the material in one of the vintage ladies' suits. 

Anything else? 

Sources for the photos in the links above. And let me tell you, if was a tough assignment doing research for this post. . . . .

* Hot Roman Babes. Loosely translated, of course. 

1989: It Was a Very Good Year!

Nineteen eighty-nine was a dream in a dream
We straddled the thin line between what it means or it seems
To be sure enough we left the world behind

--Grey Eye Glances, "The Lost Coast"

Though nobody expected it to be that way at the start, 1989 was a momentous year, one in which much of what seemed a permanent part of the world was left behind by December 31.

It was certainly that way in Eastern Europe. The "Iron Curtain" looked like it would be there forever on January 1, but that would soon change. In February, the Polish Communist government and representatives of the Solidarity independent trade union entered into the "Round Table Agreement" for the liberalization of the political system; the country held free elections that summer and the new government abolished state socialism and withdrew from the Soviet-dominated "Warsaw Pact" by year's end. In East Germany, a series of mass demonstrations inspired by Solidarity's success led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November.

"You can bend me you can break me, but you'd better stand clear/When the walls come tumblin' down..." --John MellencampThere were other peaceful transitions to democracy in Chezchoslovakia ("the Velvet Revolution"), Bulgaria, and Hungary. The not-so-peaceful Romanian Revolution in December overthrew the brutal Caucescu regime, and the tyrant met his fate before a firing squad. Even in the Soviet Union, the seemingly-mighty empire which would go out of business completely in anticlimactic fashion just two years later, the government had begun yielding to the tide.

The tides of liberty weren't confined to Eastern Europe. Down in South Africa, P.W. Botha met face to face with Nelson Mandela, one of a series of negotiations which led to the end of the apartheid system of racial segregation. The thuggish Noriega dictatorship in Panama was put out of business Just under half of the class appears in this photo.by U.S. military intervention. Brazil and Chile held their first free elections in decades. In China, the Tiananmen Square protests captured the world's attention before the democracy movement was brutally suppressed.

On a much smaller scale of importance, 1989 was a year of great changes for me personally: I graduated from law school, moved, passed the bar, got married, and embarked on my present career. With my law school class holding its 25-year reunion in August (photo at right), and me being all nostalgic and such because of that, it seemed an appropriate occasion to look back on the automotive world of 1989.

Continue reading "1989: It Was a Very Good Year!" »

Miller Motorcars (née) Chinetti Motors, America's First Ferrari Dealership

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Miller Motorcars

There is an elegant structure in upscale Greenwich, Connecticut. It's something of a stately 2-story Tudor with large picture windows, and graces Putnam Avenue with style. At first glance, the building could house antiques and/or art... and yes... in many, many ways, it does house fine art.

The establishment features Ferrari, Maserati, and the occasional "previously owned" Rolls-Royce Motorcar and such. Why, I even thought I saw a more-pedestrian BMW on the premises. They also feature new and, ahem, used Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, McLaren, Pagani, and Rolls-Royce. In fact, they are the only factory authorized dealership for all these unique brands in the state of Connecticut.

Continue reading "Miller Motorcars (née) Chinetti Motors, America's First Ferrari Dealership" »

4th Annual Home Depot Cruise-In, Medina, Ohio 9/14/14

Last Sunday was a perfect day for a cruise-in, so the Frazer Manhattan and I went to the one sponsored by our local Home Depot.

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There were probably close to fifty vehicles that were in attendance at one point or another over the span of five hours, and it was a pretty eclectic mix.

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Here's some of what we saw.

Continue reading "4th Annual Home Depot Cruise-In, Medina, Ohio 9/14/14" »

The Forgotten Mustang

As of this year, the Ford Mustang, the prototype, archetype, and trope maker of the "pony car," has been in production for half a century. In all the discussion of the Mustang's golden anniversary, and its unquestionably important place in the history of the American automobile, I've seeen very little about the other Mustang, the Mustang that came before the Mustangs that we all know and love.

Ford publicity photo, 1962The "Mustang I" concept car of 1962.

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Notes from the 2014 Cleveland Auto Show - Part One

The 2014 Cleveland Auto Show runs through Sunday, March 9. I was there on Saturday the 1st, and here's some of what I saw.

Ford would like one of these to be in your future.100_3939100_3942

Continue reading "Notes from the 2014 Cleveland Auto Show - Part One" »

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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1958 Facel Vega Coupe

For the Tuesday installment of French Cars Week, we're going to take a closer look at the '58 Facel Vega coupe that was at the SDC Meet in Tallmadge back in August.

"Allons enfants de la Patrie,/Le jour de gloire est arrivé!/Contre nous de la tyrannie,/L'étendard sanglant est levé, l'étendard sanglant est levé...."The car is owned by Roger Hicks, who did the restoration himself.

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Sometimes It's Better To Give (Back) Than To Receive

NARTOne of my most valued life possessions was a cloisonné Ferrari North American Racing Team (NART) badge, given to me in 1978 by my late friend, George Arents III. This badge, maybe two by three inches in size, was on his racing car when he raced in LeMans, Sebring, Bridgehampton, and a few other places as well. It has a few scratches from here and there, a mute testimony to many brutal laps on world-class racing courses.

And in fact, George, Luigi Chinetti, and Jan de Vroom started NART, though some sources give that lone credit to his business partner, Mr. Chinetti. The 48 stars indicate that NART was formed in 1956, before Alaska and Hawaii joined our great Nation. NART won LeMans in 1965, and Chinetti Motors was the first Ferrari dealer in North America. It was originally located in New York City then later moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, and is now known as Miller Motorcars.

Being the heir to the American Tobacco Company, the family could afford to race in the most prestigious auto arenas of the world. George's father, who passed in 1960, was also a race car driver, and was seriously hurt in an accident in a Vanderbilt Cup race in 1904 in Westbury, Long Island. And following his rich tobacco history, in 1942 he gave his collection of 6,000 books on tobacco (The world's largest collection) to the New York Public Library, where it remains today and has enlarged.

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Pop's Cruise-In Car Show, Wadsworth, Ohio, August 3, 2013

This past Saturday, there was a charity car show in nearby Wadsworth benefitting the local youth basketball program. It was a perfect day for such things, sunny and comfortably warm with low humidity.

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Here's some of what I saw.

Continue reading "Pop's Cruise-In Car Show, Wadsworth, Ohio, August 3, 2013" »

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

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