Category: Wikipedia

Susie the Little Blue Coupe – Walt Disney 1952

Susie the Little Blue Coupe – Walt Disney 1952

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Susie the Little Blue Coupe is a 1952 animatedshort film produced by Walt Disney Productions and originally released by RKO Radio Pictures on June 6, 1952.[1][2] The eight-minute film was directed by Clyde Geronimi and based on an original short-story by Bill Peet. The story was adapted for the screen by Peet and Don DaGradi.

Susie is a small blue coupe on display in a dealer showroom who is bought by a well-to-do man who is taken with her. Thrust into high-society, she finds herself surrounded by much larger, more luxurious cars but eventually makes do. He treats the car well but neglects to maintain her; after years of neglect, wear and tear, the car no longer runs properly and the owner, when informed that Susie needs a massive overhaul, abandons Susie for a new vehicle. At a used car lot, Susie is purchased again, but the new owner, a cigar-smoking man who lives in a seedier part of town, does not treat the car with the same fondness as the first and leaves her on the curbside at night.

One night, she is stolen, chased by the police and is wrecked; presumed “dead“, she is sent to a junkyard. She shows stirrings of life, even in her wrecked state, and a young man notices and buys her at a bargain price. With the help of his friends, the young man completely restores and revives Susie as a brand new hot rod. An overjoyed and like-new Susie rides off. [3]

Sources – Wikipedia and ichi3ruki3 on YouTube

Hybrid From 1916: The Owen Magnetic

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Sherlock Holmes described electricity as “the high priestess of false security” and that aptly describes the wonder of how this Owen Magnetic generates electricity using a gas engine.

The Owen Magnetic was a pioneering[1] American brand of hybrid electric luxury automobile manufactured between 1915 and 1922. Car models of the brand were notable for their use of an electromagnetic transmission and were early examples of an electric series hybrid drivetrain. The manufacture of the car was sponsored by R.M. Owen & Company of New York, New York. The car was built in New York City in 1915, in ClevelandOhio, between 1916 and 1919 and finally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1920 and 1921.

While the cars were powered by a six-cylinder engine, power for the wheels was based upon the same electromagnetic principle that propelled the Battleship U.S.S. New Mexico.

Automobile author Henry B. Lent described the drive mechanism thus:The drive mechanism had no direct connection between the engine and the rear wheels. Instead of a flywheel, a generator and a horseshoe shaped magnet were attached to the rear of the engine’s crank shaft. On the forward end of the car’s drive shaft, was an electric motor with an armature fitted into an air space inside the whirling magnet. Electric current, transmitted by the engine’s generator and magnet attached to the armature of the electrical motor, providing the energy to turn the drive shaft and propel the engine’s rear wheels. Speed for the car was controlled by a small lever adjacent to the steering wheel.

The first Owen Magnetic was introduced at the 1915 New York auto show when Justus B. Entz‘s electric transmission was fitted to the Owen automobile: “R.M. Owen have leased the large new three story fireproof building at the corner of Fifth avenue and One Hundred and Forty-second street, New York, where they will build the new Owen Magnetic motor cars.”[2] Walter C. Baker, of Cleveland, Ohio, owned the patents on the Entz transmission, thus each of the 250 Owen Magnetic automobiles produced in New York was built under license. The former Owen plant still exists and is presently a self-storage facility.

The car became as famous as the company’s clientele, which included Enrico Caruso and John McCormack. Owen Magnetics were advertised as “The Car of a Thousand Speeds”.

See more here at Wikipedia

Twentieth Century Motor Car Corporation – The Dale “A Car to Die For”

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The fascinating story of the Twentieth Century Motor Corporation, Liz Carmichael and the Dale three wheeled car.

The Twentieth Century Motor Car Corporation was an automobile company started by con artist Geraldine Elizabeth “Liz” Carmichael,[1] in 1974, incorporated in Nevada.[2][3] The company’s flagship vehicle was the Dale, a prototype three-wheeled two-seater automobile designed and built by Dale Clifft. It was touted as being powered by an 850 cc air-cooled engine and featuring 70 mpg‑US (3.4 L/100 km; 84 mpg‑imp) fuel economy and a $2,000 (in 1974 US dollars) price, which were popular specifications during the mid 1970s US fuel crisis.[4]

Liz Carmichael, a trans woman, appeared to be of an imposing size—estimated to be at least 6 ft (1.8 m)[2] tall and 175 to 225 lb (79 to 102 kg).[5] She claimed to be the widow of a NASA structural engineer; a farmer’s daughter from Indiana; and a mother of five.[6] In reality, she had been wanted by the police since 1961 for alleged involvement in a counterfeiting operation. She had changed her name and identity from Jerry Dean Michael (born c. 1917).[3][7] She often introduced Vivian Barrett Michael—the mother of their five children—as her secretary.[8] The company would ultimately prove to be fraudulent when Carmichael went into hiding with investors’ money.[9]

The Dale

Before meeting Carmichael, Clifft hand-built a car made of Aluminum tubing and covered in naugahyde.[10] The Dale prototype was designed and built by Clifft, and the project was subsequently marketed by Carmichael. Much of the interest in the Dale was a result of the 1973 oil crisis: higher economy automobiles like the Dale were viewed as a solution to the oil crunch.[6] Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times in November 1974, Carmichael said she was on the way to taking on General Motors or any other car manufacturer for that matter.[6] She said she had millions of dollars in backing “from private parties” and also talked of a 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) corporate office in Encino, CA. The prototypes were built in Canoga Park, CA, and an aircraft hangar in Burbank, CA, was supposedly leased for the assembly plant, with more than 100 employees on the payroll.[6]

The Dale was also marketed as being high-tech, lightweight, yet safer than any existing car at the time.[4] “By eliminating a wheel in the rear, we saved 300 pounds and knocked more than $300 from the car’s price. The Dale is 190 inches long, 51 inches high and weighs less than 1,000 pounds,” said Carmichael. She maintained that the car’s lightness did not affect its stability or safety. The low center of gravity always remained inside the triangle of the three wheels, making it nearly impossible for it to tip over.[6] She also went on record to say that she drove it into a wall at 30 mph (48 km/h) and there was no structural damage to the car (or her). She said the Dale was powered by a thoroughly revamped BMW two-cylinder motorcycle engine, which generated 40 hp (30 kW) and would allow the car to reach 85 mph (137 km/h). She expected sales of 88,000 cars in the first year and 250,000 in the second year.[6] The vehicle’s wheelbase was 114 in (2.90 m).[3]

A non-running model of the Dale was displayed at the 1975 Los Angeles Auto Show.[7] The car was also shown on the television game show The Price Is Right.[7]

The Petersen Automotive Museum-The strange case of the Dale from the Vault

Fraud

The company had already encountered legal troubles when California’s Corporations Department ordered it to stop offering stock for public sale because it had no permit.[2]

Rumors of fraud began to emerge, followed by investigations by a TV reporter and some newspapers[3] as well as the California Corporation Commission began an investigation.[11] Although Clifft said he still believed in the project and said that he was promised $3 million in royalties once the Dale went into production, he only received $1,001, plus a $2,000 check, which bounced.[3] Carmichael went into hiding and was featured in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries (S1 E22 which aired on April 26, 1989), which detailed the fraud behind the Dale as well as the fact that Carmichael was wanted.[5] She was eventually found working in Dale, Texas, under the alias Katherine Elizabeth Johnson,[7] at a flower shop. She was arrested, extradited to California,[3] tried and sent to prison for ten years.[7][12]

Carmichael eventually died of cancer in 2004.[12] Clifft, never shown to have been involved in the fraud, later formed The Dale Development Co., and developed and received several patents;[10] he died in 1981.

Source – Wikipedia

Watch the documentary – Seduced by Speed “A Car to Die For”

Buick Master Six Roadster 1927

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The Buick Master Six was an automobile built by Buick from 1925 to 1928. Before then, Buick was using the six-cylinder 242 engine in their high-end cars and a four-cylinder engine in their smaller, less-expensive cars, but for 1925, they dropped the four-cylinder engine and designed a small six, which they called the Standard 6, to replace that end of the market. They coined the name “Master Six” for the high-end cars, now powered by the 255 engine released the year before.

Read the rest at Wikipedia

The Ford EXP – The Forgotten Ford Escort

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The Ford EXP is a sports compact coupe that was produced and sold by Ford Motor Company in North America from the 1982 to 1988 model years. The first two-seat Ford since the 1957 Thunderbird, the EXP made its debut at the 1981 Chicago Auto Show. Sharing the dashboard, wheelbase, suspension, and powertrain with the Ford Escort, the EXP was longer, lower, and more aerodynamic than its five-seat counterpart.

Read more here

Motometer Central – an excellent resource

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I recently became aware of the Motometer Central website as a result of my membership of The Society of Automotive Historians. The site is a wealth of information on the Motometer device which became very popular in the 1920’s with the Boyce variety being the most popular. This device is the father of the temperature gauge amongst other modern condition indicators in motor vehicles.

You can find the a history of  Motometers here

You can find information on the Boyce and other Motometers here on Wikipedia

There is a further site Moto Meter Collector here

BFGoodrich Tire Company (Wikipedia)

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My gone but not forgotten US Spec Ford Ranger was shod with BFG rubber

Founded by Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich in 1870, the B.F. Goodrich Company, later known as BFGoodrich, was among the first rubber tire manufacturers to be located west of the Appalachian mountain range. In the previous year, Goodrich had purchased the Hudson River Rubber Company. Based in Akron, Ohio, the BFGoodrich Company began as a manufacturer of rubberized hoses, which were sold mostly as firehoses. The company also produced rubberized belts, similar to those used on modern vehicles as serpentine belts (fan belt). As the company grew, it began to manufacture pneumatic bicycle tires, eventually leading to the production of pneumatic automobile tires in 1896, making BFGoodrich the first company in the United States to manufacture this type of tire.

 

BFGoodrich was not the only tire manufacturer in the United States at the turn of the 20th Century. Among its competitors were GoodyearFirestoneGeneral and Uniroyal. Due to extensive research and scientific methods, such as tire wear evaluation and longevity testing, BFGoodrich was at the leading edge of the industry. Ford Motor Company, then owned by Henry Ford, chose BFGoodrich tires to be fitted in the new Model A Ford in 1903. That same year, the Model A, equipped with the tires, became the first car to cross the United States from east to west. This event made BFGoodrich a household name. Michelin North America., Inc., makes B.F. Goodrich tires. The Goodrich Corporation, formerly called B.F. Goodrich Company, stopped making tires in 1988 and sold the business and the B.F. Goodrich name to Michelin.

The Bill Thomas Cheetah

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The Bill Thomas Cheetah was a sports car designed, engineered entirely with American components, and built from 1963 to 1966 by Chevrolet performance tuner Bill Thomas. It was developed as a competitor to Carroll Shelby’s Cobra. The story of the car is here on Wikipedia

The cars often attract a huge premium at auction, a couple of examples can be found here 1967 Chevrolet Cheetah at Russo & Steele which is actually believed to a 1964 & here Cheetah sold for a world record price

 

 

Earl “Mad Man” Muntz – One of a Kind

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Earl Muntz was one of those incredible eccentric entrepreneurs that come along every once in a while. Earl dabbled in the automotive industry with his electronic ideas and eventually the Muntz Jet sports car.

There is an interesting page here about a film of Earl’s life and times

Earl Muntz

Earl Muntz’s Muntz Jet

Earl William “Madman” Muntz (January 3, 1914 – June 21, 1987)[1] was an American businessman and engineer who sold and promoted cars and consumer electronics in the United States from the 1930s until his death in 1987. He was a pioneer in television commercials with his oddball “Madman” persona – an alter ego who generated publicity with his unusual costumes, stunts, and outrageous claims. Muntz also pioneered car stereos[1] by creating the Muntz Stereo-Pak, better known as the 4-track cartridge, a predecessor to the 8-track cartridge developed by Lear Industries.[2]

He invented the practice that came to be known as Muntzing, which involved simplifying otherwise complicated electronic devices. Muntz produced and marketed the first black-and-white television receivers to sell for less than $100, and created one of the earliest functional widescreen projection TVs.[3] He was credited with coining the abbreviation “TV” for television,[4] although the term had earlier been in use in call letters for stations such as WCBS-TV. A high school dropout,[5] Muntz made fortunes by selling automobiles, TV receivers, and car stereos and tapes.[6] A 1968 Los Angeles Times article noted that in one year he sold $72 million worth of cars, that five years later he sold $55 million worth of TV receivers, and that in 1967 he sold $30 million worth of car stereos and tapes.[1]

After his success as a used car salesman and with Kaiser-Frazer dealerships in Los Angeles and New York City,[1][7] Muntz founded the Muntz Car Company, which made the “Muntz Jet“, a sports car with jet-like contours. The car was manufactured between 1951 and 1953, although fewer than 400 were produced.

Muntz married seven times.[8] His wives included actress Joan Barton (who appeared in Angel and the Badman with John Wayne) and Patricia Stevens of the Patricia Stevens Finishing Schools.[9] Phyllis Diller was among his many girlfriends. He was friends with celebrities such as singer Rudy Vallee, comedian Jerry Colonna, actor Bert Lahr,[6] television presenter Dick Clark, and cowboy actor Gene Autry.[8]