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Author Topic: Car Trivia, Post a Feature, First, Statistic, or??? Gear Heads Welcome!! Back to Topics
Hambone61

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Oregon

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Message Posted: Nov 14, 2008 4:47:30 PM

List a bit of trivia, auto related, that you know for sure. It can be about anything automotive regarding sales, styling, firsts, features, performance, mechanical highlights, anything that may be interesting to someone who loves cars.

I'll get it started:
In 1938, Packard had a twelve cylinder engine. The engine was of V design and had an unusual valve layout that put both the intake and exhaust manifolds on the top of the engine. This engine had an innovative cooling overflow tank mounted alongside the engine. The cooling system on this car held a whopping 40 quarts and the engine took 10 quarts of oil!

I guess if you could afford to drive a Packard, you could afford the money for the five gallons of antifreeze required, not to mention the oil and maintenance required.

What do you have?
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2Tall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Sep 19, 2014 9:03:32 AM

Little-Known Fact: There is no production 1983 Corvette. Although 1982 was the last year for the third-generation Corvette, Chevy decided to wait until the 1984 model year to launch the all-new car. Why? Some sources claim tighter emissions regulations necessitated more time for development. Others say that quality glitches at the factory were the real reason. All we know is every 1983 Corvette prototype was destroyed, except one: a white car that now lives at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky.
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bongobro
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2014 2:44:15 PM

The hardtop station wagon was a phenomenon unique to the 1950s. At various times, Chrysler, Dodge, Oldsmobile, Buick and Rambler all offered four-door models without "B" pillars between the doors. (Chrysler and Dodge made them as late as 1964, in fact.) The most dramatic hardtop wagons of all the 1957-through 1960 Mercury Commuter, Voyager and Colony Park. Their "Dream Car Design" bodies were shared with no other Ford products. The 1959-60 wagons, on 126-inch wheelbases, were among the longest wagon wheelbases ever built, and the 1957-59 Commuter and 1957-58 Voyager were the largest two-door hardtop wagons ever made in the U.S. (the '55-'57 Chevy Nomad and Pontiac Safari rode 115- and 122-inch wheelbases, respectively) They didn't sell well when they were new, and surviving examples are extremely rare today. Mercury advertising boasted "there is only one side pillar in the new (1957) Mercury wagon," but their hardtop design was much more prone to rattles and squeaks, and the ravages of rust, than pillared wagons. But they were stunning, especially the 1960 Commuter, which was the cleanest-looking of all four model years. (Strangely, all Mercury hardtop wagon bodies, as well as their Olds and Buick counterparts, were built by Ionia-Mitchell Body Company, not by Ford or GM!)

[Edited by: bongobro at 9/13/2014 2:46:17 PM EST]
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cDagasGo
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Sep 10, 2014 11:21:55 PM

Plymouth only made 1,718 340 four-speed Barracudas in 1973. Now they're a collector's item.
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MeTaBall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Sep 4, 2014 2:42:47 PM

What American muscle car had highest horsepower all time? It was the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 w/ 450 hp stock outta the box.
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toms1120
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Aug 29, 2014 7:22:46 AM

Did you know what the term "Z28" meant? It was a production code that meant the car would have high performance options. 1967 was the first year for the "Z28" option. There were only 602 Z/28's made that year making it very rare and highly sought after.
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eB40
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Aug 23, 2014 1:42:49 PM

The first car to include anti-lock brakes was the 1966 Jensen FF which came equipped with the Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock braking system (originally developed for use on aircraft). Although crude by today's standards (and sometimes unreliable), the Jensen FF's anti-skid system was a huge technological breakthrough at the time. Three years later, in 1969, the Lincoln Continental Mark III improved on the idea, placing sensors on the rear wheels that modulated pressure on the rear brakes when they began to lock up.
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Aug 18, 2014 9:32:18 AM

The famous "silver streaks" that appeared on Pontiac automobiles from 1935 to 1956 were originated by a famous GM official--and were discontinued by the son of that man, who also was a GM official. Designer Frank Hershey was inspired by the oil-cooling fins of the French Napier race car when he created the bright strips that appeared on hoods, trunk lids and fenders of thousands of Pontiacs worldwide. William E. Knudsen, Pontiac general manager at the time, gave the go-ahead for the "silver streaks" to provide visual distinction from Chevrolets, which were being built in the same GM plants as an economy measure during the darkest part of the Great Depression.

While the "silver streaks" gave distinction to Pontiac vehicles during the pre- and post-World War II era, Pontiac's aging flathead six- and eight-cylinder engines gave the cars all the pizazz of Grandma's apron strings--or Grandpa's suspenders. That's how some wags described their appearance during the mid-1950s, as Pontiacs seemed to sell best to older adults. By 1956, GM officials gave an ultimatum to Pontiac: Get sales moving or the division would be dropped. (Pontiac came close to being dumped in the early 1980s as well, by the way.)

Semon E. "Bunkie" Knudson, William's son, took a look at the 1957 models then about ready to be introduced--and ordered the "silver streaks" be taken off at once. (There are a few pictures of '57s with the stripes on the hood, and frankly, they did nothing to improve their looks. The '57 Star Chief Custom Safari currently seen as my av picture, of course, doesn't have the streaks.)

By 1961, thanks to updated styling, improved versions of the Strato-Streak V-8 introduced in 1955, and active involvement in racing, Pontiac enjoyed several years as the third most popular make in America, behind Chevy and Ford.

[Edited by: bongobro at 8/18/2014 9:34:14 AM EST]
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Aug 16, 2014 8:18:07 AM

In 1954, Plymouth introduced its top-line Belvedere series in the U.S. The name had been used on the Cranbrook hardtop model first introduced in 1951, and a Belvedere sedan was introduced in Canada in 1953. There were four models: A four-door sedan, a two-door hardtop, a convertible, and a two-door station wagon. The Chevy Bel Air and Ford Crestline had similar lineups, except the Bel Air offered a two-door sedan and the Crestline the first glass-topped Skyliner hardtop; Crestline and Bel Air both offered four-door station wagons.

What made the Belvedere unusual was its use of "Color-Tuned" exteriors an interiors, in four bright pastels not offered on its Plaza and Savoy counterparts: Santa Rosa Coral, San Gabriel Green, San Diego Gold, and San Pedro Blue. On wagons, the door and window frames were painted San Mateo Wheat (beige), and interiors were accented with the main body color.

Look for the October 2014 HEMMINGS CLASSIC CAR, which features an article with all four beautifully restored '54 Belvederes; a sedan in black-over-Santa Rosa Coral; a white-over-San Diego Gold hardtop; a San Gabriel Green convertible, and a San Pedro Blue wagon.

All four are knockouts!
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MeTaBall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Aug 15, 2014 7:27:35 PM

Today, alloy wheels are all but ubiquitous and are used by automobile manufacturers as a key styling feature, often used to differentiate model ranges and equipment specification. They started becoming popular with the general public in the 1980’s, but were in fact offered sporadically since 1924.

Previous to the development of the alloy wheel, wheels were formed of two pieces of pressed steel, the rim and the disc, either welded or riveted into a single unit. Or, they were fabricated of a steel or aluminum rim, connected to a center hub by metal spokes. A transitional design was a hybrid utilizing a steel disc for strength and an aluminum rim for weight saving. Such a design was used by Porsche and Jaguar in the 1950’s. Another example was the Borrani Bimetal, used on several Italian sporting models.

Cast or forged alloy wheels offer reduced weight and greater stiffness than stamped pressed steel wheels. They also offer the designer almost unlimited freedom in terms of style.
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2Tall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Aug 10, 2014 12:33:28 PM

1965 the only year a Corvette was factory optioned with a 396. If you wanted a big block 'Vette from '66 onward, you had only 427's and the later 454's to choose from.
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toms1120
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jul 25, 2014 7:17:01 AM

The Ford GT-90 was a production car created in the mid 1990's to be Ford's next supercar, but production was eventually scrapped.
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eB40
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jul 20, 2014 7:00:35 PM

In 1970, Buick offered its potent Skylark GSX available with the Stage 1 455 cubic inch motor. Only 2 colors were offered by Buick for this car in 1970. Apollo White & Saturn Yellow.
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2Tall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jul 15, 2014 12:20:00 PM

Before the GTX, Plymouth was considered a bland car manufacturer. Then came the GTX. Some people might consider the Barracuda to be Plymouths first muscle car. But it was a pony car to compete with the Mustang until the late 60's when both became muscle car
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eB40
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jul 11, 2014 12:55:10 PM

425. Hemi engines were rated by Chrysler at 425 HP to keep insurance as low as possible, but the true rating was just over 500 HP! These were put in Chargers, Challengers, GTXs, Barracudas, and more!
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2Tall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jul 6, 2014 3:26:49 PM

The word "automobile" is a mixture of the French word 'auto' which means self and "mobile" which means moving.
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Jun 30, 2014 6:14:59 PM

Today is the actual anniversary of the first Dodge automobile...which was the first car to be built with an all-steel body (no mean trick in the days when carmakers prided themselves on how much wood they used in their carriage-type bodies!
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Jun 29, 2014 11:39:52 AM

Happy 100th anniversary Dodge! John and Horace Dodge (hence the early nomenclature of "Dodge Brothers") introduced their car in 1914 after years of building engines for Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company). Unlike the Model T, their first car offered a selective sliding-gear (read "standard") transmission with an "H" shift pattern. Oddly enough, however, instead of the now-standard H pattern of R-1-2-3 (from top to bottom, left to right), the first Dodge shift pattern was 2-3-R-1 (again top to bottom left to right). A little confusing, but Dodge built a reputation for "dependability" that served it well for years.

@toms1120: Dodge began producing a Charger with a slant-six engine in mid-year 1968, at the height of the "Scat Pack" craze. Not very many were built, but more were to follow in later years. BTW, from 1971 to 1974, "Charger" was essentially the two-door version of the Dodge Coronet 4-door sedans and wagons, much like the Plymouth Sebrings and Satellites of that time frame, and there were a few hidden-headlight Chargers produced during that period!
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toms1120
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jun 14, 2014 9:17:01 AM

Dodge Chargers stopped having flip-out lights in 1973, because Dodge now considered their muscle car a "family car."
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2Tall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jun 7, 2014 2:29:25 PM

The 1964 Pontiac GTO is generally regarded as the car that kicked off the muscle car boom of the 1960's. What does GTO stand for?

Gran Turismo Omologato. Named after the Ferrari 250 GTO, Car and Driver even pitted the new Pontiac against the Ferrari in a 1964 issue. The Pontiac faired well...too well. It was later learned that 421 cid powered ringer GTO's were served up to the press to keep things even when competeing with the Italian exotic. Still a fine car with the correct 389. Gran turismo omologato is Italian for homologated for grand touring.
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box driver
Champion Author New Hampshire

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Message Posted: Jun 3, 2014 12:19:56 AM

When I was overseas in late '63,I was looking at the '63 1/2 Galaxie with a 390 and a 4-speed that had a price of around $2,400.Wish I gone ahead and bought it :(
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Jun 1, 2014 3:58:14 PM

Fascinating fact about that shot of gasoline needed to start your car, eB40!

In the 1960s, Ford Motor Company changed its two-door hardtop rooflines almost as frequently as it changed model designations. After the debut of the Thunderbird-inspired Galaxie Club Victoria in 1959, the 1960 Galaxie two-door hardtop became the "bubbletop" Starliner--and the only two-door hardtop in the Ford full-size line. "By popular demand," according to the Ford brochures, the Galaxie Club Victoria reappeared and outsold the Starliner for 1961. For 1962, it was the box-top Galaxie or nothing. Unfortunately, the box-top roofline had the aerodynamic efficiency of a brick, so Ford attempted to campaign the Starliner roofline on the Sunliner convertible for stock car racing. NASCAR said no, so the 1963 1/2 Galaxie "scatback" roofline was hustled into the lineup, outselling the boxtop body once again. In 1964, the scatback roofline was adapted for all Ford full-size cars, and the boxtop disappeared for good. (At least until 1968.)
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eB40
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: May 31, 2014 8:00:36 PM

Your car requires just a quick drink to get going. It doesn't take much gas at all to get your car started; experts have found that the average car takes about half an ounce of gasoline to start. As a comparison, the average shot glass filled at your local bar gets somewhere in the neighborhood of one ounce poured into it.
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2Tall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: May 27, 2014 7:31:28 AM

In 1965, the Chevrolet Impala sold more than one million units in North America, setting a record that still stands today.
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eB40
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: May 22, 2014 1:06:44 PM

Some of the first V6-cars were built in 1905 by Marmon. Marmon was something of a V-Specialist which began with V2-engines, then built V4's and V6's, later V8's and in the 1930s Marmon was one of the few car-makers of the world which ever built a V16 car.

From 1908 to 1913 the Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik produced benzene electric trainsets (Hybrid) which used a V6 as generator-engine.

Another V6-car was designed in 1918 by Leo Goosen for Buick Chief Engineer Walter L. Marr. Only one prototype Buick V6 car was built in 1918 and was long used by the Marr family.
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eB40
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: May 17, 2014 8:45:40 AM

Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile brand following fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest automobile brands in the world. Cadillac was founded from the Henry Ford Company in 1902 by Henry Leland, a master mechanic and entrepreneur, who named the company after Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, who founded Detroit, Michigan. The Cadillac crest is based on his coat of arms.

General Motors purchased the company in 1909, and within six years, Cadillac had laid the foundation for the modern mass production of automobiles by demonstrating the complete interchangeability of its precision parts while simultaneously establishing itself as one of America's premier luxury cars. Cadillac introduced technological advances, including full electrical systems, the clashless manual transmission and the steel roof. The brand developed three engines, with the V8 engine setting the standard for the American automotive industry.

Cadillac is the first American car to win the Dewar Trophy from the Royal Automobile Club of England, having successfully demonstrated the interchangeability of its component parts during a reliability test in 1908; this spawned the firm's slogan "Standard of the World". It won that trophy a second time in 1912 for incorporating electric starting and lighting in a production automobile.
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toms1120
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: May 11, 2014 7:05:40 AM

1901 The first Grand Prix race was won with an average speed of 46 mph.
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eB40
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: May 4, 2014 2:17:54 PM

In 1909, Henry Ford had famously commented on his Model T – any customer can have a car painted in any color that he wants so long as it is black. His assembly line production system ensured that a new car rolled out every 15 minutes. Only Japan black color could dry fast enough to keep pace with the production. Model T occupied 55% of the market share of cars in 1916, a record that still stands today and will probably never be surpassed.
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MeTaBall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2014 9:19:00 AM

Your fuel gauge tells you which side your gas tank is on. If you're driving a rental or other new-to-you car, you may not know which side to fill up on. In newer models, car makers have begun to include a "secret triangle" to show you just that. Next time you hop in the car, look on your car's fuel indicator for this small arrow beside the gas pump icon. This is an easy way to show drivers which side to pull up to the pump.
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cDagasGo
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Apr 25, 2014 8:09:54 AM

The very last car to be able to play cassettes was the Ford Crown Vic, which still had an optional player in 2011.
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2Tall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Apr 21, 2014 6:59:49 AM

Mary Anderson invented the windshield wiper, a patent was issued. Now they are a standard feature on all American cars.

This Alabama belle is often confused with a labor organizer by the name of Mary Anderson. We do know that she took a trip to New York City where she took her sketchpad and made a diagram of her invention, the windshield wipers.

On those rainy days, we always find that the windshield wipers on our car are very useful. We tend to take them for granted. How would we manage without them on those stormy and rainy days?

The inventor of the windshield wipers was Mary Anderson. While Mary found herself to be a passenger on a streetcar on New York, she was aware that the driver had to periodically stop and wipe the windows. On some occasions the driver would open the windows so that he/she could see to drive. When drivers were subject to inclement weather such as snowstorms, they were inclined to stop the vehicle. This was done so that they were able to wipe the snow off of the windshield and windows. With this situation in mind, Mary invented the windshield wipers in 1903 and a patent was issued in 1905. By 1916, the windshield wipers were a standard feature on all American cars.
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Apr 16, 2014 10:42:45 PM

Not too early to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Ford Mustang. Amazing what Lee Iacocca and the Ford design staff could do with the platform of the dull-but-dependable Ford Falcon (the original dashboard cluster was taken straight from the contemporary Falcon, for one).

Will share more Mustang memories as we go along this week, but feel free to add your own!
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cDagasGo
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Apr 8, 2014 8:15:37 PM

John R. Oishei (1886-1968) formed the Tri-Continental Corporation in 1917. This company introduced the first windshield wiper, Rain Rubber, for the slotted, two-piece windshields found on many of the automobiles of the time. Today Trico Products is one of the world's leading manufacturers of windshield wiping systems, windshield wiper blades and refills, with wiper plants on five continents. Bosch has the world's biggest windscreen wiper factory in Tienen, Belgium, which produces 350,000 wiper blades every day.
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Apr 1, 2014 8:25:45 PM

The "pony car" era did not begin April 17, 1964 as is commonly assumed. And, believe it or not, this is not an April Fools joke! Plymouth launched the Valiant-based Barracuda fastback on April 1, 1964. The car was essentially the Valiant Signet with a distinctively-different grille (its round parking lights recalled those on the 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix), and the interior looked something like that of the '66 Dodge Charger, except when it came to the dashboard, which was a virtual clone of the '64 Valiant and Dodge Dart.

The Barracuda was introduced, among other things, to showcase the new 273-cubic-inch V-8 engine that would power many smaller Mopars well into the 1970's. It also launched a fastback design that, up to that point, boasted the largest single piece of curved glass in automotive history. Ironically, that large glass is one of the hardest-to-find parts if you wish to restore a '64-'66 Barracuda. (Unlike the first Ford Mustang, the Barracuda was not a "64 1/2" model, nor an early '65 Barracuda.)

Yet this pioneering pony car was left in the dust by the car that arrived 16 days later...the first Ford Mustang, which debuted April 17th...and phased out a decade later as the Barracuda, Dodge Challenger and AMC Javelin stopped production with the end of 1974 production....

[Edited by: bongobro at 4/1/2014 8:26:30 PM EST]
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Mar 27, 2014 12:44:17 PM

Thanks, pilotdlh! Feel free to add your trivia notes, too!
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pilotdlh
All-Star Author Minnesota

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Message Posted: Mar 27, 2014 10:40:27 AM

Thanks to everyone posting here. This is the best thread here!
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2Tall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Mar 25, 2014 7:46:06 AM

The Triumph Spitfire Mark 1 hit the streets in 1962 and continued up until 1964.
The engine was from a Triumph Herald with the addition of twin SU carburetors for extra performance. The running gear was also taken from the Triumph Herald. The steering was Rack-and-pinion with Independent/Coil Springs at the front and Independent/Transverse leaf springs at the rear.
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toms1120
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Mar 21, 2014 1:03:45 PM

World first three colour traffic was installed in Detroit, Michigan 1919. Two years later they experimented with synchronized lights.
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mullingspices
Champion Author Honolulu

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Message Posted: Mar 14, 2014 1:32:09 PM

In the sister thread "Car Trivia: Answer One, Ask One", I asked a question about blue dot tail lights. Rodders back in the day couldn't just go to the store and purchase such lights, nor were there kits to put the dots into existing lenses. In order to get the dot, one often found a blue reflector from some road and repurposed a part of it. It was considered illegal as the visible light color changed to a purple and taking of road signs was theft.

Car lenses were made of glass, so one had to drill out the lens and put the blue dot in. It was not too hard to find the right spot as, unlike the lenses of modern cars, there already was a 'bull's eye' where the bulb would be centered in. Up close, it was easy to see the red light surrounding the blue, and both colors would be distinct, but at a distance, because of the colors' contrast, the human brain judges this combo to be purple.
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mullingspices
Champion Author Honolulu

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Message Posted: Jan 27, 2014 1:21:37 PM

The "Little Nash Rambler" of "Beep Beep" fame really was a hero for AMC. Last produced in 1955, the Nash Rambler was largely forgotten until 1957, when AMC was struggling to turn around. Sales of the larger AMC cars picking up, but there was no mid-size vehicle. Metropolitan was their small car. In a stroke of genius, one of the AMC management recalled such a car was already tooled up for...the Nash Rambler! After some updates, it was reintroduced as the Rambler American for 1958, which proved a success and kept AMC afloat for a few more years.
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Jan 15, 2014 9:42:12 AM

Did you know that some GM and Ford cars have hemi engines. In the "Fin Man" column found in the St. Louis POST-DISPATCH on January 12th, columnist and car historian Bruce Kunz notes that the Lincoln INTECH V-8 and the Cadillac Northstar V-8 (also used in Oldsmobiles and other GM makes) have hemispherical combustion chambers not far removed from the Chrysler HEMI V-8 design. Kunz also notes correctly that HEMI IN ALL CAPS is a registered trademark of Chrysler, so you'll never hear or see the owner of a Lincoln Mark VIII or Cadillac Allante bragging, "Yeah, dude, it's got a hemi."

Actually, save Plymouth, all Chrysler, Dodge and DeSoto V-8s were based on the Chrysler FirePower 331 Hemi through 1958. Plymouth's V-8 (also used in Dodge trucks) was a polyspherical V-8...must admit saying that your car "has a Poly" sounds a bit weird!

[Edited by: bongobro at 1/15/2014 9:45:11 AM EST]
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bongobro
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Dec 14, 2013 11:52:11 PM

Anyone who remembers the Commander, Land Cruiser, President, Champion, or even the Hawk, Daytona, Avanti or Wagonaire should take a couple moments out to remember the Studebaker. Earlier this week, 50 years ago on Dec. 9, 1963, Studebaker announced the end of car production at its long-time home plant in South Bend, Indiana.

While plagued with high overhead and labor costs in its later years, Studebaker has to be credited with many, many firsts in the period from World War II to its final cars produced in Canada in March 1966:

First "hill-holder" device that kept manual-shift cars from rolling backwards on hills when starting in gear. You may remember Subaru made a big deal about a similar device in the 1980s.

"First by far with a postwar car." Kaiser-Frazer may have produced the modern envelope body as we know it with its 1947 models, but they were not readily available across the country until mid-'47. After a very short run of '46 models, all-new 1947 Studebakers were introduced in mid-'46. The wraparound rear window of the Starlight coupe was truly daring for its time.

Studebaker was second only to Chevrolet in offering an automatic transmission in the low-priced field in 1950. Studebaker Automatic Drive was so good, Ford Motor Company wanted to buy it for their cars!

Studebaker was first in the low-price field with an overhead-valve V-8 in its 1951 models. Ford, remember, used flatheads until 1954 in the U. S. and the 1955 model year in Canada.

The 1953 "Loewy" coupes stayed in production for more than a decade and were the forerunners of the 1955 President Speedster and the classic line of Studebaker Hawks from 1956 through 1964 (granted, the '62-'64s were Thunderbird-like in appearance but rode the same basic chassis).

The 1949 Studebaker trucks looked more modern in some respects than their Ford and Chevrolet contemporaries, and still stayed fairly new-looking well into the mid 1950s. Studebaker offered regular-production four-wheel drive models as far back as 1958 (before Ford and Chevy), and even offered diesel engines in medium-duty trucks as far back as 1962.

The 1957-58 Golden Hawks and the curious 1958 Packard Hawk, as well as the "Packardbakers" of 1957-58, were among the few cars in the late 1950s to be built with a supercharger as standard equipment.

Studebaker was the North American distributor for Mercedes-Benz automobiles though the mid 1960s.

The 1959 Lark and its successors were the first serious challenge to American Motors' dominance in the compact car field, while using the basic body shells of sedans and wagons dating back to the 1950s. The Lark-based Champ pickup replaced the 1949-vintage pickups in 1960, and its influence can be seen in the design of Chevrolet's LUV pickups built by Japan's Isuzu Motors in the late 1970s.

The 1963 Studebakers, including the all-new Avanti, were the first American cars to offer power front disc brakes as available equipment on a regular basis. Also in 1963, the Wagonaire offered a sliding roof section over the rear cargo compartment. While not perfect in design or conception, the GMC Envoy XUV would offer the same concept brought up to date in 2003-04.

The Avanti was the first mass-production fiberglass-bodied car to be built since the 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadster, and it and its successors offered an alternative to the Chevrolet Corvette well into the 1990s. In various forms, the 1963 Avanti set a number of speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats, some that remain unchallenged even today.

Even the last 1966 Studebakers offered a flow-through fresh-air ventilation system ("Refreshaire"), a feature seen only in a handful of Ford and Mercury full-size cars in 1965.

Perhaps the advertising catchphrase that summed up all these advancements was the one that marked the 1963 slogan..."New Cars from the Advanced Thinking of Studebaker."
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bongobro
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Message Posted: Dec 8, 2013 7:03:06 PM

You would think car companies wouldn't brag about what was left out of their cars during World War II, but Ford advertising made it front-page news with its new 1942 models.

Ford bragged that to produce their new cars, "new aluminum has been cut out 100%," with reductions in tin, copper, zinc (cut out "almost 98 percent"), nickel and molybdenum. Ford also noted "we have been developing plastics for years at Ford, and now the results are apparent." Major parts of the instrument panel, including trim, radio speaker mountings and other areas surrounding the instruments, were made of plastic that were "lighter in weight, handsome in appearance and fully as serviceable."

Of course, there was one area where cutting out aluminum backfired. In Illinois, the powers that be decided to replace their aluminum license plates with plates made of compressed soybeans. An original 1943 Illinois license plate is extremely rare...seems cows munched on the soybean plates the way people would potato chips!
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mullingspices
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Message Posted: Dec 8, 2013 2:00:51 AM

A bit of trivia from a friend who has passed on...this being Dec. 7, and he was a WWII vet. After the events of Dec. 7, 1941 unfolded, the US put restrictions on consumer goods in order to focus on the war effort Among the goods restricted was rubber. Unlike today where lots of things are made of plastic, rubber was used in many goods and was in great demand for war uses. Think of the boots, raincoats, tires, and other goods used by the armed forces, all of which used rubber.


Gas was rationed not so much to save gas as to save tires, which had always been in short supply, but were even more dear during the war. Germans were short of tires, too, and had developed what we know as the Bandag system of tire recapping during the war, the system allowing recaps to be made in the sand of the Sahara. But I digress...

Civilians were ordered to turn in all extra tires (each car could only have 5), so even those people with new cars turned in their tires off their cars, replacing them with pre-war new ones in order to have as much useful tire life as possible. I asked my friend how long the tires lasted, and his reply was to the effect that the new set they put on his father's new car (a 1941 Plymouth) lasted the duration, just wearing out as the war came to a close. Back then tires lasted less than 10,000 miles here, and their family had more than normal rations of gas as they were able to obtain extra gas at the end of each month when others had not used up all their rations. So, it seems the government's plan to save tires worked, at least in Hawaii, as most people did not travel very much during WWII

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bongobro
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Message Posted: Nov 28, 2013 9:35:41 PM

While in previous posts I told the sad tale of the 1960 Edsel, we now turn our attention to a 1961 model that lasted only slightly longer. In the sister thread "Car Trivia: Answer One, Ask One," I tell the story of how a group of former DeSoto dealers fought Chrysler until 1976 sbout the loss of their brand.

The DeSoto line was literally the middle child of the Chrysler Corporation family for years. Walter P. Chrysler developed DeSoto to hedge its bets in 1928--the same year he launched the Plymouth--in the case Chrysler couldn't swing the purchase of Dodge Brothers (which he did about the same time!).

So by the start of the 1929 model year, you had Plymouth, DeSoto, Dodge and Chrysler. Sometime in the 1930s--presumably the time the DeSoto and Chrysler Airflows were introduced--Dodge and DeSoto's market positions were reversed, as in the familiar "Forward Look" lineup of "Plymouth...Dodge...DeSoto...Chrysler...Imperial."

While DeSoto was big on taxicabs (and was second only to Packard in introducing "refrigerated air conditioning" in the 1942 models, not to mention their manually operated "Airfoil" headlights ("out of sight except at night), the DeSoto line grew increasingly staid and dowdy through the '40s and early '50s. That changed with the aforementioned "Forward Look" models of 1955-56, and reached its peak with the 1957 models. With their fabulous finny looks, and the development of the Adventure coupe and convertible models, DeSoto could honestly be called "the most exciting car in the world today," as '57 advertising proclaimed.

Then came the 1957-58 recession. Coupled with increasingly gaudy styling on '58 models--and extremely weak quality control on all '57 Mopars--DeSoto sales plummeted in 1958. Even Edsel sold more cars in '58 than DeSoto!

By 1959, DeSoto styling was little more than trim jiggling on the Chrysler body, and, while Chrysler was bragging of the marque's 30th anniversary, talk was circulating that DeSoto could go the way of Nash, Hudson and Packard before long. The 1960 DeSotos were indeed no more than retrimmed Chrysler sedans and hardtops, and only the Adventurer and Fireflite remained. No Firedome, no Firesweep, no convertibles, no wagons.

Then, DeSoto division merged into Plymouth Division, not unlike the M-E-L division (Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division at Ford). Months later, with the new Valiant added to the mix, then came the Plymouth-DeSoto-Valiant division...and 1961.

There was indeed a 1961 DeSoto planned...and supposedly a new smaller DeSoto based on the Plymouth-Dodge Dart body shell...but Chrysler didn't decide to dump DeSoto until late 1960. Chrysler made enough materials to produce DeSoto cars for a few months into the 1961 model young. All told, 3,034 DeSotos were built: 2,123 four-door hardtops and 911 two-door hardtops. No series name. Just DeSoto.

The ad slogan for the final DeSoto campaign is truly ironic: "Its quality sets it apart; its price keeps it within your reach.' On November 30, 1960, the last DeSotos were built and DeSoto dealers were told that there were no more DeSotos to sell. Some dealers had to fill their DeSoto orders with Chrysler Windsors...and others filed suits claiming Chrysler breached their contracts by discontinuing the DeSoto line, thus keeping sales out of their reach!

While Chrysler offered a modified Dodge Dart 440 and a Dodge Lancer (!) for the South African market (and the Lancer was called the DeSoto Rebel [!!] for 1962, stateside there were neither full-size Dodges nor DeSotos in the mix at the start of the model year. Chrysler slapped a 1961 Polara front end on the Chrysler Newport body and launched it as the 1962 Dodge 880/Custom 880 ("custom built for the man who likes his car BIG!")

DeSoto dealers may have had the last laugh. Dodge barely sold 17,000 Polaras in 1961. The '62 Custom 880--the only car close to either the '61 DeSoto or the '61 Polara--outsold BOTH Polara and DeSoto in its short run in 1962!
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bongobro
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Message Posted: Oct 18, 2013 11:04:24 AM

WOW! Makes me wonder how they ever held any air but for their tubes. You sure couldn't do that today with our modern tubeless radials!

In that "Answer One Ask One" thread today, I discussed the hapless post-1974 AMC Matador. In his book, AMERICAN MOTORS: THE LAST INDEPENDENT, AMC expert Pat Foster noted that company officials wanted to rev up sales of the "bulky but well-made" Matador in the mid-1970s, and dreamed of doing something dramatic as Oldsmobile did when it introduced its 1973 "colonnade" style Cutlass Supreme coupe in the fall of '72. The 1970 Rebel and 1971-73 Matador hardtops had a roofline reminiscent of some 1967-1968 Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth full-size coupes plugged onto the squarish 1967-69 Rebel body shell. Admittedly, the rear end was made rounder on the coupes and sedans in 1970, but Foster described those as looking "lumpy and pregnant", as if two halves of different cars had been welded together. They did not fool with the wagon until later.

The 1974 Matador coupe was aerodynamic-looking from the windshield pillar on back, but had a long, square-looking front end with two round single headlights that resembled those of the 1964 Rambler American placed into a deeply-recessed grille. From the A-pillar back, it looked almost like a modern interpretation of the Marlin, with big doors, triangular rear windows and a sloping fastback roof. At the rear were two sets of taillights and backup lights that looked like they came off a school bus!

CAR AND DRIVER had the new Matador on its front cover, calling it "The Best Styled Car of 1974." (A year earlier, they'd dubbed the Hornet Hatchback as "The Styling Coup of 1973," and I think personally that Richard Teague--AMC's chief designer--tried to inflate the Hornet body into dimensions more fitting to the mid-size Matador.)

The 1974 Matador coupe was distinctive, no doubt about it, and it drew a lot of attention, especially when it raced with NASCAR honors that year. Unfortunately, AMC spent so much money on a car that was available only as a coupe--with no tooling that was shared by the other Matadors or the Ambassadors--the remaining AMC large cars received some weird-looking front-end facelifts; indeed the Ambassador line was dropped at the end of 1974, as was the Javelin.

The '74 Matador coupe was cleanly styled, but by 1975, the "best styled car of 1974" began suffering from an attack of styling cliches. Oleg Cassini, whose fashions for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were the rage during Camelot, designed a copper-and-white trim package that made the coupe look especially elegant in '74 and '75. But also on the options list was a "poor-looking" vinyl top that mucked up the clean roofline of the year before.

1976-78 models offered more of the same, including a thick padded vinyl landau top with opera windows on the coupe. The coupe offered what critics called the "offensively gaudy" Barcelona trim package in 1976, with a strange-looking two-tone metallic paint package PLUS the padded landau top. Sedans got the treatment for 1977; meanwhile, AMC was floundering with the Pacer--another two-door-only body offered first as the fishbowl-like two-door sedan then as a more practical station wagon--and lost even more money that could have been spent to update the AMC larger cars and consolidate them on a shared platform as were the Gremlin/Spirit/Hornet/Concord (and later Eagle).

Now here's the trivia. In October 1977, according to Foster, about 50 brand new Matadors were run through a used-car auction to reduce AMC's inventory of that particular line. Ironically, AMC dealers were still selling Matador station wagons quite well; the car had been almost untouched for a decade (since the '67 Rebel) and was least affected by the styling nonsense of the coupes and sedans.

1978 Matador production ended with just under 9500 units being sold; the Pacer died in the fall of 1979 after a handful of 1980 models were produced.

And we all know the rest of the story of AMC...sad indeed.
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mullingspices
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Message Posted: Oct 16, 2013 1:56:21 PM

A question and subsequent response on sister thread "Answer one, ask one" brought back talks I had with a friend who has since passed on. During WWII his uncle had a tire shop, and tires were so hard to get, not only did they recap them, they actually cut out damaged parts of tires and repaired them with parts of tires which were too damaged to salvage. This often resulted in tires with two or three different tread designs. These tires would thump when going down the street, but at the slow speeds imposed during the war, it didn't damage anything, and allowed more cars to operate.
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eB40
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Message Posted: Aug 25, 2013 12:19:37 PM

In 1963, Enzo Ferrari was approached by the Ford Motor Company about a possible buy over. Ford audited Ferrari's assets but legal negotiations and talks were unilaterally cut off by Ferrari when he realized that the deal offered by Ford would not enable him to stay at the helm of the company racing program. Henry Ford II consequently directed his racing division to negotiate with Lotus, Lola, and Cooper to build a car capable of beating Ferrari on the world endurance circuit, eventually resulting in the production of the Ford GT40 in 1964.
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toms1120
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Message Posted: Aug 18, 2013 9:23:29 AM

Henry Hale Bliss (June 13, 1830 – September 14, 1899) was the first person killed by a motor vehicle accident in the United States, and the first known in the Americas. On September 13, 1899 he was disembarking from a streetcar at West 74th Street and Central Park West in New York City, when an electric-powered taxicab struck him and crushed his head and chest. He died from his injuries the next morning.
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bongobro
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Message Posted: Jul 31, 2013 5:26:50 PM

While Chevrolet is basking in the glory of CONSUMER REPORTS giving the new 2014 Impala its highest rating of all the cars it's tested lately--and CR raving about how the new Impala has features often found only in far more expensive cars--the previous generation Impala is finding new life in Chevrolet's fleet lineup.

The 2013-generation Impala will be offered as the Impala Limited for car rentals and other fleet uses for the foreseeable future, according to GM. This is not unusual. As I described in an earlier post, the 1997-2003 Chevy Malibu was sold for another couple of years as the Chevrolet Classic; the current Chevrolet Captiva Sport is a renamed Saturn Vue from the 2007-09 model years.

Ironically, CR could well say "Limited" is an appropriate word for the Impala Limited, since they gave the 2012-13 version low marks in comfort and performance...and in fact described its appointments as just above "rental car" status...
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2Tall
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Message Posted: Jul 30, 2013 12:42:33 PM

Mitsubishi's automotive origins date back to 1917 and in 1920 manufactured aircraft engines.
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