Author Archive

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.

Aug
16

Marmon showroom at 2232 S. Michigan

Chicago’s Michigan Avenue has long been one of the most important streets in the city. In addition to being a major north-south thoroughfare, Michigan Avenue is home to landmarks such as the John Hancock Center skyscraper, the Chicago Water Tower, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Millennium Park, as well as the famous Magnificent Mile shopping district.

Oct
18
2017 Infiniti Q60
2017 Infiniti Q60

Consumer Guide First Spin Coupes account for only five percent of the premium vehicle market, but they’ve also traditionally been important halo vehicles for their respective brands. That’s certainly been the case at Infiniti, where the Q60 coupe and convertible (and their G35/G37 predecessors) have typically been the most stylish and dynamic vehicles in the marque’s model lineup. After a year’s absence, the Q60 coupe returns for 2017 with a new design that shares elements of its architecture with the Infiniti Q50 sedan. We recently had the opportunity to sample the hottest version of the Q60 on a San Diego-area drive route.

Jun
20
2003 Studebaker XUV Brochure

This rendering exaggerates the length of a truck that, in prototype guise, was already very long. 

If you attended at the Chicago Auto Show back in 2003 or 2004, you might have seen a Hummer-like SUV with “Studebaker” stamped on the liftgate. Posed by some rugged-looking rocks in a small Avanti Motor Corporation display, this hulking behemoth was a Hail Mary attempt by struggling Avanti Motor to cash in on the then-booming mega-SUV market. How did such a bizarrely branded vehicle ever come to pass?

Jun
16
Adam 12 TV Show

The TV police patrol team of Malloy and Reed enjoyed the services of several different cars during the run of Adam 12.

If you’re a car guy of a certain age, chances are you have fond memories of the original Adam 12 TV series. The half-hour police drama ran between 1968 and 1975, following veteran LAPD patrol officer Pete Malloy (played by Martin Milner) and junior partner Jim Reed (played by Kent McCord) as they went about their job to protect and serve the citizens of Los Angeles.

May
16

In a scene from the 2013 film, Gatsby drives Daisy in Tom’s blue car (a 1933 Auburn) while Tom drives Gatsby’s automobile (a 1932 Duesenberg) with Nick and Jordan as his passengers. Obviously, these 1930s vehicles are not right for the story, which was set in 1922. By the way, the Auburn shown here is  authentic, while the Duesenberg is a replica.

Cars were an important part of the Jazz Age and of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald mentions only two cars by make in The Great Gatsby— Nick Carraway’s Dodge and Gatsby’s Rolls-Royce. The rest are left to the reader’s imagination.

May
06
Wartburg Knight

Wartburg Knight

Foreign automakers have been selling vehicles in America since the early days of the automobile, but not all international automobiles, or their nameplates, are appropriate for U.S. buyers. Here is a fun sampling of some bizarre foreign-vehicle names.

Apr
30
VL Destino

Bob Lutz is replacing the hybrid powertrain of the Fisker Karma with the Chevy Corvette’s ZR1 engine.

Bob Lutz has accomplished more in his golden years than most auto execs do in a lifetime. At age 69, Lutz became General Motors’ Vice Chairman of Product Development and helped create cars such as the Cadillac CTS, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Malibu, Buick Enclave, Buick LaCrosse, and Pontiac Solstice. He also championed the electric/gas Chevrolet Volt before withdrawing from an active role at GM in 2009. Now at age 81, Lutz is launching a high-performance sedan, the VL Destino.

Apr
18

1977 Dodge Monaco interiors

Henry Ford once said, “Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants, so long as it is black.” For most of its production run, the Ford Model T was only available in black because black paint dried the fastest and it simplified production to have only one color. Today, BMW has broadened the choice of free colors to black and white on many of its models. If the customer wants something more colorful, that’s a $550 option. Jaguar’s new F-Type sports car has a standard black convertible top. A top of another color is a $600 option. British Racing Green paint, once the most popular choice for an English sports car, is now a $1,500 option on the F-Type.

Apr
09
1953 Henry J

1953 Henry J

Note: This article is reprinted from the April 2013 issue of Collectible Automobile.

Henry J. Kaiser revolutionized shipbuilding during World War II with his mass-produced Liberty ships. While Kaiser was building ships faster than anyone had ever imagined, he was already planning to shock the auto industry with a postwar “people’s car.” As early as 1942, Kaiser was concocting a front-wheel-drive, fiberglass-bodied car to sell for as little as $400. However, when the 1947 Kaiser took its bow, it was a conventional, medium-price sedan.

Vehicle Makes

Classic Cars

Collectible Automobile Magazine