Posts from ‘What was…’
The Chevrolet Vega was meant to be a technical and efficiency tour de force. The good-looking, lightweight little car featured a number of cutting-edge features, and was positioned to prove that the Bow-Tie Brand—and on a broader scale General Motors—was in a position to take on the low-cost and fuel-efficient imports that were starting to show up in dealerships at the beginning of the Seventies.
Pontiac of Canada was well known for selling gently tweaked variations of Chevy products for exclusive distribution north of the border. The 1976-1987 Pontiac Acadian for example, was actually a retrimmed Chevrolet Chevette.
It wasn’t a dream. You didn’t imagine it either—there really was a GMC SUV equipped with a retractable roof. To the uninitiated, that might not sound too odd, except that the roof didn’t retract back from over the passengers, sunroof style; it pulled into the center of the vehicle from over the cargo hold, creating what more or less amounted to a handy pickup bed.
Most Americans know Pierre Cardin as a purveyor of luxury designer clothing, but how many of us recall the fashion maestro’s foray into the automotive realm?
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.
Comparing pickup trucks to Hamburger Helper may seem like a stretch, but I beg your indulgence as I explain myself. Here goes: The main purpose of Hamburger Helper is to help costly ground beef go further, at less cost. Thus, a meal that might have involved the expense of a pound and a half of meat might require just a single pound once augmented by the sodium-packed filler material that generally retails for around $1.39 a box.
For as globalized as the auto business has become, you might think a brand as omnipresent as Chevrolet would sell pretty much the same lineup in every market it plays in. Turns out that’s not the case.
Why would Aston Martin, a British company known for building ultra-luxury high-performance coupes, contract with Japanese automaker Toyota to build an Aston-branded version of one of the smallest, least-powerful Toyota-built cars on the market? Turns out there’s a good answer to that question, but it gets a little complicated.
Here’s a question for you: What was Jaguar’s biggest-ever marketing blunder? Many might argue it was the X-Type, a compact sedan that was little more than a Ford Mondeo (called Contour in the U.S.) gilded with a Jaguar grille, curvy sheet metal, and some extra wood and leather inside. By virtually every measure, the X-Type was a flop as a Jaguar, though the wagon version was not without its charms.