Tag: Autoweek

What Year Was Peak Wagon in America? – Murilee Martin @Autoweek

What Year Was Peak Wagon in America? – Murilee Martin @Autoweek

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MERCURY DIVISION, FORD MOTOR COMPANY

There were two model years when American car shoppers had 47 station wagons to consider. Care to guess?

With the rise of the minivan in the 1980s and the SUV in the 1990s, most Americans lost interest in buying station wagons. Oh, sure, you can still buy a new wagon here today (all of which come from European marques, if you still count Volvo as European), but there was a time when the station wagon was so mainstream that American car shoppers could choose from dozens of different longroof models. The important question here is: what model year had the most new station wagon models available in the United States? Yes, we’re going to determine the year of Peak Wagon now!

As was the case with my still-controversial dive into the subject of the final two-speed transmission offered on a new car in Americadefinitions become all-important here. There are some very important such definitions involved here, and I assume you will be very angry about my interpretation of each of them. Just as with the maddeningly wrong and probably malicious definitions I deployed when I wrote about the Chevy Rat Motor, subjectivity comes into play.

First, calling your van a wagon doesn’t make it a wagon. Yes, Volkswagen of America called the Type 2 Transporter a station wagon in its marketing materials. Chrysler did the same with the Dodge A100, as did Ford with the Econoline and GM with the Corvair Greenbrier. Warlord-grade trucks aren’t wagons, either, so you Land CruiserLand RoverJeep and International Harvester fanatics might as well begin wailing and gnashing your teeth right now. I will allow that sedan deliveries are wagons— that’s a tough call, because some of the early ones are pretty truckish and/or not-so-wagonlike— but you’ll see that the sedan delivery model count doesn’t have any effect on determining the year of Peak Wagon in America.

Second, ordinary Americans had to be able to obtain a mass-produced wagon from a licensed dealer in America, and it had to be highway-legal here at the time of sale in order for it to count toward Peak Wagon scoring. That means no oddball wagons imported by servicemen stationed in Naha or Grafenwöhr, no backyard-built wagons with hand-carved poplar bodies and steam engines, no swoopy atomic-powered wagon prototypes built for World’s Fairs, no onesy-twosy imports of Soviet wagons by spirally eyed fly-by-night entrepreneurs (this one really hurts, because I was dying to include the available-here-in-theory GAZ Pobedas and Volgas, not to mention the Moskvich 402/407), no bracketed-by-asterisks homologation specials, no wagonified Detroit luxury sedans or muscle coupes custom-commissioned by high-ranking Detroit executives for their wives. No, no, no!

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What Does DeLorean EVolved Actually Promise? – Jay Ramey @Autoweek

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  • DeLorean Motor Company appears to be planning a battery-electric coupe under the DeLorean brand, with a reveal set to take place sometime this year.
  • The Texas-based company, which acquired the rights to the automaker’s name, currently sells parts for the original model.
  • Italdesign is involved with the new sports car project, with Giorgetto Giugiaro having designed the original DMC-12 coupe.

If you’ve been waiting this whole time for a cyberpunk EV and don’t necessarily want it to look like a truck, there could be another option not too far in the future.

The DeLorean Motor Company, or rather its successor in the IP rights, has shared a short teaser video previewing an EV with gullwing doors, set to a Chris Nolan-style trailer soundtrack with ominous-sounding horns.

The vehicle is promised to arrive in 2022, perhaps under the name DeLorean EVolved, as the company’s tweet suggests.

Curiously enough the previewed vehicle does not really suggest a design composed of mostly flat geometric shapes, especially when it comes to the profile of the roof. If you look closely, the teased design appears to feature a pronounced curvature to the A-pillars and the hood.

It does, however, feature gullwing doors, which at this point appear to be the sole element carried over from the original, along with the badge up front. To us the rendering in the teaser video looks far more like a front angle of the Bricklin SV-1 rather than the original DMC-12.

The only thing clear at the moment is that it is intended to be an electric sports car with gullwing doors.

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Tom Cotter: Inside the Mind of That Barn Find Hunter Car Guy – Al Pearce @Autoweek

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Popular author and YouTube star has found his niche in the car world.

Some years back, during a Morning Edition segment on National Public Radio, a 100-year-old veteran gave the world his secret to a long and fulfilling life. That secret? “The same things that excited me as a 14-year-old still excite me today.”

In the case of 66-year-old Long Island native Tom Cotter, that means cars.

New cars. Old cars. Racing cars. Touring cars. Restored cars. Need-to-be restored cars. Two-seaters. Woodies. Classic hot rods. Stunning barn finds. Grocery-getters. Everything from the stock Pinto he drove on his honeymoon 44 years ago to an iconic Cunningham C-3 and the 1964 Corvette he races just for fun.

“I’m a one-trick pony, and it’s all about cars.”

“I’ve been a car guy almost from birth,” says Cotter, a runner and even a marathoner (he’s done most of the world’s major runs at least once) now living in Davidson, North Carolina. “I’ve hunted once, fished maybe three times, and never played golf. I’m a one-trick pony, and it’s all about cars. They’ve always fascinated me, always made an impression, even when I was just a little kid. I get as excited about a cool car now as I did when I was 14.”

In one form or fashion for most of their lives, Cotter and his wife, Pat, and their son, 29-year-old Brian, have pushed, pulled, towed, hauled and occasionally driven cars to the garage beside their home. Cotter left college after two years, hoping to become the next Bob Sharp, the famous Connecticut-based championship sports car racer/team owner/businessman. When that didn’t work out, he ran a repair shop, sold auto parts, sold furniture (?!), and spent several years working with motorsports marketing pioneer Dick Bauer. That led to a 1985-1989 gig with Humpy Wheeler at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Cotter’s “pass in the grass” promotion—even though there was no pass—remains legendary.

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The Coolest Fords at Ed “Isky” Iskenderian’s 100th Birthday – Mark Vaughn @Autoweek

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The Niekamp Roadster, winner of the first-ever America’s Most Beautiful Roadster at the first-ever Oakland Roadster Show, AKA The Grand National Roadster Show, in 1950.

The hot rod hero’s birthday brought out L.A.’s finest Fords for all to see.

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1966: INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER MAKES LUXURY PICKUPS – Murilee Martin @Autoweek

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Some suspension of disbelief required.

In the middle 1960s, North Americans weren’t limited to just Chrysler, Ford and GM when shopping for a new Midwest-built pickup truck — they could buy a Gladiator from Kaiser-Jeep or a C-Series made by International Harvester as well. Here’s a magazine advertisement for the 1966 IHC pickups.

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JUNKYARD TREASURE: 1985 PONTIAC FIERO 2M4 – Murilee Martin @Autoweek

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Like the Chevrolet Corvair that preceded it by a couple of decades, the Pontiac Fiero became a pretty decent sports car… just before The General killed it off. The 1984-1987 Fieros had Chevy Citation front suspensions in the back, Chevy Chevette front suspensions in the front, weighed 200 pounds more than the Toyota MR2… but looked pretty sharp for cars intended for low-cost penny-pinching commuter duty. You won’t see many Fieros today, but I see the occasional example in junkyards, especially in California. Here’s an ’85 in a Silicon Valley self-service yard.

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1972: J.C. WHITNEY OFFERS COMPREHENSIVE SELECTION OF PENNY-PINCHER HUBCAPS – Murilee Martin @AutoWeek

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Want GTO or Mustang “wheels” for cheap? Magnificent mags? J.C. Whitney had you covered in 1972.

Chicago’s J.C. Whitney has been around for 104 years now, though most of its business today happens online. Back in the printed-catalog era, the J.C. Whitney catalog was the source for parts and accessories

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CUSTOM SURVIVOR: THE RADICAL 1957 FORD ‘SEABURST’ IS FOR SALE Wesley Wren @Autoweek

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This period custom is the perfect way to enter the custom car world

In the early 1960s, nearly everyone with a driver’s license was trying to make their aging sedans look like something from one of the magazines of the day with the pennies they saved working after school. If you weren’t buying speed parts to make your car faster, you were sourcing custom work from local body shops to make your cruiser stand out. There was no shortage of local body shops churning out bespoke builds for neighborhood kids and adults alike. But there’s one major problem with custom cars: changing trends. As the 1960s slipped away, maintaining your now extensively modified, decade-old car could become a hassle. Especially if you’d rather be rowing through the gears of a Pontiac GTO.

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