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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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December 9 Weekly Open Thread, Current Events Edition: Electric Car Sticker Shock

Come in out of the cold, grab some hot chocolate, sit down by the fireplace, and let's talk cars.

Just in time for Christmas, General Motors announced the 2014 Cadillac ELR Saks Fifth Avenue Edition, in a limited production run of just 100 vehicles, with an MSRP of $89,900.

*Bling!*

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Car Lust Classic: 1963 Chrysler Turbine

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.
 
by Anthony Cagle on August 12, 2008

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.63turbinf

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.

To read the original post, click here.

Citroën DS

The idiom "outside the box" or "thinking outside the box" is (over)used so much these days that the meaning has become diluted. It's reached the point where something's referred to as being "outside the box" when it's no more than mildly atypical.

Not so the topic of today's discussion. It's atypical, but there's nothing mild about it. It's so far outside the box that you can't see the box from there. It's something from an alternate universe, a bizarro world where boxes have been outlawed, where Ryan Leaf has been voted into the Hall of Fame, lobsters grow on trees, and mountain lions can teleport.

A 1956 DS at the Autostadt Museum in Wolfsburg, Germany

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"Do you know where I am?" The Cell Phone Turns 30.

From the decade of the 1980s -- those heady times that brought us such luminaries as the Fiero, the DeLorean, the Cimarron, and the unforgettable RAMPAGE! -- comes something else that we all love to hate. . . and love: the cellular telephone.

Today, October 13, 2013, is the thirtieth anniversary of the cell phone. Now, some may quibble about the date and argue that the true birth of the cellular telephone came at least a decade earlier, on April 3, 1973 when Martin Cooper made a call from a Manhattan street corner using an incipient cellular network. However, that call was "Muffy, I'm on my way to pick up the BMW......"made from a prototype phone on a prototype network, and the technology was not commercially viable for another ten years. It wasn't until 1983 that the first commercial phone call was made on equipment and a network that was then ready for market.

Love it, hate it, denigrate it, celebrate it: it's here to stay. Cell phones enhance, structure, provide entertainment for, and some would say rule, our lives these days--even among those who have yet to embrace the technology--and many if not most of us now wonder how we ever got along without them.

But what does this have to do with Car Lust? A couple of things, actually. For one, the earliest cell phones were primarily used in cars as the automobile provided a handy power source and a place to put the equipment necessary for receiving, sending, and processing calls. Telephones in cars weren't entirely unknown prior to that time, but they were exceptionally rare and confined mostly to the very wealthy and/or powerful. And second, that first call was made from a perennial (if somewhat underserved) Car Lust favorite, which will be revealed later.

I aim here not to provide an extensive history of the cell phone, nor even a detailed timeline of car phones, though both subjects will be touched on. Rather, I hope the reader will indulge me for a bit while I look back a bit to see what life was like before we were able to be in constant contact 24/7/365, often whether we like it or not, and how this has changed the motoring landscape. And maybe do a little cultural and automotive reminiscing along the way.

Can you hear me now?

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September 30 Weekly Open Thread: A Simple Car Ad Trick

Many years ago, a very successful artist friend of mine taught me about airbrushing, shadowing, overlaying, and other graphic arts methods of the day. Many of these tricks were either done by hand or clever applications of everyday darkroom enlargers and other equipment. Of course, now we have these amazing computers that do the same work much easier and faster. And anybody with an imagination can do it.

But one trick he taught me, especially from the 1960s, was how the automakers would stretch an image to make a car look longer... you know, have more rear overhang for a perceived larger trunk, and other styling elements that are frowned upon today. This was usually used on large cars to make them even larger. And l don't know if this image below has been altered, but was the rear overhang on these cars really so long?

1965 Cadillac Prestige-10-11

I've been wanting to "play" with an image I found a while back to see how far the illusion might be taken. This image is "unique," and I stretched it a mere 15 per cent... just enough for extra elongation, but not enough for exagerration (I hope). So presenting here, in full color even, is the result:

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Mars Rovers

What would you say is the greatest off-road vehicle ever built? The humble yet mighty Willys MB? The Cherokee? The Land Rover? The FJ Cruiser? Monster trucks? Baja 1000 rallyers? Dirt bikes? The Thiokol Snowcat?

While all of the above are worthy contenders, I submit for your consideration a quartet of candidates in three model series which were built for the most extreme off-roading ever attempted by the human race. They are also the most advanced driverless vehicles ever built, and have been successful beyond their creators' wildest dreams.

Clockwise from lower right: Sojourner, Spirit/Opportunity, two guys in lab coats, Curiosity.Today, we'll do a little off-world off-roading, as we take a Car Lust look at the NASA Mars Rovers.

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Engineering a Driverless Vehicle

Contributed by P.J. Morley

Modern cars are robust machines, designed to protect their occupants in the event of a crash, but no amount of engineering can make a car completely safe if the driver isn't paying attention....or can it?

Self-driving cars are something we've been promised for years and they just might be on the roads sooner than later.  This summer, at the University of Arizona, I was one of the ten undergraduate students chosen from across the country to participate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department's CATVehicle research program.

The CATVehicle REU Team
Left to right: Matt Bunting, Sean Whitsitt, Eric Westman, Dylan Watson, Tarif Haque, Dr. Haris Volos, Miguel De Jesus, Ethan Rabb, P.J. Morley, Alex Warren, Nicole Chan, Joanna De Los Santos, Duc Lam, Dr. Jonathan Sprinkle, Nancy Emptagen

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August 19 Weekly Open Thread: Autonomous Vehicles Week Kicks Off

We start out this week with what may be one of the biggest bang-for-the-buck projects in NASA history: The Spirit and Opportunity rovers. In fact, this could realistically be posted as a Very Good Year story as they were launched 10 years ago. . .and how many of us remember what we were doing in 2003? 800px-Spirit_Rover_Cleaned

What I want to just briefly highlight here is these two indefatigable rovers, whose original mission duration was set at a mere 90 Martian days and here they are, still (mostly) in operation almost ten years after they landed on Mars. Spirit was launched on June 10, 2003 and Opportunity followed on July 7. After journeys of six months they both landed in January of 2004. They were both fairly ungainly-looking but proved to be exceptionally rugged in operation and after their original mission periods, both were extended indefinitely, or until they were no longer operable.

Sadly, Spirit's time came on March 10, 2010 (day 2210 of the mission) when contact was lost. It had been having trouble with one wheel and had become stuck in soft sand, whereby it was decided it was to act as a stationary observation platform until it stopped transmitting. It was officially declared "dead" in May of 2011 when attempts to regain contact ceased. At that time it had logged 25 times its alloted time on Mars and covered over 7 kilometers (4.8 miles) of ground, far exceeding its planned range of 600 meters.

Opportunity, however, soldiered on and, at the time of this writing, is still rolling around Mars conducting scientific observations.

I have to admit that I always had a soft spot for Spirit, probably because it kind of got the short end of the stick, location-wise, and most of the important discoveries were made initially by Opportunity. And it always seemed to be having problems of some sort; I like the whole underdog theme she had going (both rovers were always considered to be females). I'll also readily admit that part of that has to do with some wag's initiation of a LiveJournal for Spirit which is utterly charming in its light humor. At any rate, it's hard not to feel a bit of sadness at her passing.

These weren't the first Mars probes, nor even the first Mars rovers -- that honor goes to the Pathfinder mission with its little rover Sojourner -- but their design and construction have bequeathed to us a wealth of data on Mars and given us a great example of what talented engineers can do when they put their minds to it.

The rest of this week will be devoted to other autonomous vehicles, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial. They may not be ready for the American driveway as yet, but the systems they are experimenting with may eventually find their ways into yer average grocery-getter in the not too distant future.

--Anthony Cagle

The image here is a self-portrait of Spirit taken on Martian day 586, from Wikipedia.

"One Flying Car, Coming Right Up!"

224Yesterday here at Car Lust, the question was raised, "Where is my flying car?" Well, while at the New York International Auto Show last year, I saw an amazing something that wasn't solar/electric or satin-finished. It didn't have self parking or a V-12. It was, truly, a flying car.

Now it wasn't quite as convenient as George Jetson's "Pop into a briefcase" machine, though it did fold up. And it does seem to have merit. After all, it was in the Jacob J. Javits Center, right?

The Terrafusia Transition is the first street legal flying vehicle to pass NHTSA regulations, and the FAA gave the craft permission to fly in 2010, certifying it to be flown as a Light Sports Aircraft. So there, we have now officially arrived in the 21st Century.

But before you go up into the wild blue yonder, to drive, I mean fly, er... operate this machine, you'll need a driver's license, a sport pilot's license, license plates, car registration, aircraft certification, tons of insurance, a full tank of gas, an H.E.R.E.*, and a lot of nerve. After all, one needs to know about transponders, wing tip vortices, artificial horizons, and other day-to-day thingamajigs just to get this vehicle off the ground.

In addition to all of that, you'll also need to know when it's running "A little hot."

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

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