Author Archive

Dec
15
1947 Bentley Mark VI

1947 Bentley Mark VI Drophead Coupe

Note: The following story was excerpted from the April 2002 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.

Bentleys were fast sport tourers—absolutely dependable, but loud. By 1931, when Bentley Motors went into receivership, its larger cars were competing with Rolls-Royce. In a surprise move, Rolls bought its English competitor to prevent future rivalry.

Nov
21
1933 Twin Coach Bakery Truck

1933 Twin Coach Bakery Truck

Note: The following story was excerpted from the August 2015 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.

Long before gourmet food trucks began peddling high-end lunches and pricey cupcakes on city streets, Helms Bakery trucks were a common sight in Southern California. Starting in 1931, Helms delivered bread, doughnuts, pies, cookies, pastries, and other baked goods to people’s homes. Its products were not sold in stores. Indeed, the company’s slogan was “Daily at your door.” Customers could place a Helms placard in their window as a signal for the “Helmsman” to stop—or just flag down a truck as it passed by. Based in Culver City, the Helms Bakery fleet ranged as far north as Fresno and as far south as San Diego. It delivered its last loaf in 1969.

Jul
27
1954 International Model R-140 Station Wagon

1954 International Model R-140 Station Wagon

Note: The following story was excerpted from the October 2009 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in North Dakota needed three tough station wagons that could go anywhere in the wilds of the Northern plains, it chose the 1954 International R-140 with four-wheel drive. Why the Corps needed three such wagons is a mystery.

Jul
25
1941 Packard One Sixty Deluxe Convertible Coupe

1941 Packard One Sixty Deluxe Convertible Coupe

Note: The following story was excerpted from the June 2016 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.

Packard’s policy of gradual styling changes helped it to maintain a gold standard of resale value and allowed owners to keep their cars longer without looking dated. This linear styling policy served Packard well until the Forties. By then, though, American car design was changing at an incredible rate. Packard’s unhurried design evolution couldn’t keep up with the pace, and by ’41, its cars looked old fashioned.

Jun
20
1913 Chevrolet Type C Tourer

1913 Chevrolet Type C Tourer

Note: The following story was excerpted from the June 2016 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.

The first Chevrolet doesn’t seem like a Chevy. It wasn’t reasonably priced or modestly sized. It didn’t have an overhead-valve engine. It didn’t even wear a bowtie badge.

Jun
15
What Was The Harold and Maude Car

Harold and Maude Jaguar E-Type Hearse

For many car enthusiasts, the most memorable (and cringe-inducing) element of the 1971 cult-classic movie Harold and Maude is the conversion of a Jaguar E-Type roadster into a hearse. Harold and Maude is the offbeat story of a death-obsessed young man, Harold (Bud Cort), who falls in love with a free-spirited elderly woman, Maude (Ruth Gordon). Harold and Maude was an early work by acclaimed director Hal Ashby, who would go on to direct such films as The Last Detail, Coming Home, Shampoo, and Being There.

Feb
23
The Phantom Thread Bristol 405 Saloon

Instead of a Rolls Royce or Bentley, Phantom Thread producers put wealthy and successful lead character Reynolds Woodcock in a Bristol 405 sedan.

The recently released period-piece drama Phantom Thread is a noteworthy film for many reasons. For starters, it was written and directed by celebrated auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, it’s been nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Actor in a Leading Role), and it stars Oscar-winning thespian Daniel Day-Lewis in what Day-Lewis himself says is his last acting performance. For car enthusiasts, however, the film’s Bristol 405 four-door saloon is the real star.

Nov
30
2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

2017 Los Angeles Auto ShowAfter unveiling its latest “King of the Hill” ZR1 Corvette at the Dubai Motor Show earlier this month, Chevrolet followed up at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show by announcing that the new-generation ZR1 will also be offered as a droptop. The ZR1 has been absent from the Corvette lineup since the C7 generation debuted for the 2014 model year.

Nov
29
2019 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler

2017 Los Angeles Auto ShowJeep officially unveiled the long-anticipated redesign of its iconic Wrangler at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Wrangler is one of parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ best-selling models, but it saw its last full redesign for the 2007 model year and was overdue for a full update. 

Nov
08
Jim Rockford Firebird, Rockford Files

Though they were nowhere near as flashy as the typical “star car,” the no-nonsense Pontiac Firebirds that James Garner drove on The Rockford Files are among the best-loved TV/movie vehicles of all time.

Jim Rockford is the only TV detective with a driving move named for him. The late James Garner, who played Jim Rockford, didn’t invent the reverse 180-degree “J-turn,” but he used it so often in The Rockford Files television series that the maneuver is forever associated with the character. To execute a “Rockford,” Jim Rockford would drive about 35 mph in reverse, then let off the gas, turn the steering wheel sharply, and pull on the emergency brake. The car’s front end would swing around 180 degrees, and Rockford would be off—now driving forward.

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