Posts from ‘What was…’

Jan
05
1959 Henney Kilowatt

1959 Henney Kilowatt

If you’re into music, you probably remember the swing revival that took place in the late Nineties. That particular retro trend probably peaked in 1998, when Gap commercials populated by dancing khaki-clad youth famously featured a Louie Prima cut of “Jump, Jive an’ Wail.”

Jan
03
Red Bull "Wings Team" Mini Cooper

Red Bull “Wings Team” Mini Cooper

If you’re my age, you may have a few fond memories of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile making its way to your hometown or a nearby burg, replete with a seemingly endless supply of Wienermobile plastic whistles—which in the Sixties and Seventies passed for quality tchotchkes. The big fiberglass sausages on wheels were generally found stationed in grocery-store parking lots, where Mayer staff passed out coupons and whistles to a receptive audience. It was a simpler time.

Dec
18
Golf Harlequin

1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin

Special-edition, limited-run vehicles have long been a part of most automakers’ bag of sales-boosting tricks. Producing a limited number of specially trimmed examples of a given vehicle—unique paint, wheels, interior and exterior trim, and maybe some stripes or special emblems—is a relatively easy, cost-effective way to drum up a little excitement over a given model line without incurring the significant expenses of a serious styling update or mechanical refresh. The special-edition model is a time-honored practice that has been going on in one form or another since the Fifties.

Dec
08
1959 Shamrock

1959 Shamrock

People can be dismissive of market research, but there are plenty of times when a company needs to take the pulse of potential customers, making certain that they have a handle on that group’s wants and needs.

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
15
Scene from Uncle Buck

As seen in the 1989 theatrical release “Uncle Buck,” this beat-up Mercury looked out of place in this upscale Chicago suburb.

by Jack Stewart

The popular 1989 John Hughes film Uncle Buck has inspired its second TV spinoff this season on ABC. (There was a little remembered TV spinoff in 1990.) Proving the universal appeal of Uncle Buck, there was also a Bollywood movie version titled Uncle Bun.

May
05
Munsters Koach with cast

The Munster Koach

By Jack Stewart

Abnormal was the norm for TV shows in the Sixties. The airwaves were full of Martians (My Favorite Martian), witches (Bewitched), genies (I Dream of Jeannie), costumed super heroes (Batman, The Green Hornet), and lovable mountain folk in luxury environs (The Beverly Hillbillies). Amidst this sea of wackiness, the dueling creep-show families of The Munsters and The Addams Family fit right in. However, The Munsters gets bonus points in our book for giving the family car a starring role. While the Addams’ 1930 Packard touring car was rarely seen, the Munster Koach was a regular costar. The wild stretched-wheelbase, Model-T hot rod/hearse hybrid made its debut in episode four (Rock-A-Bye Munster), when Lily goes to a used-car lot to buy a car for husband Herman’s birthday (she arrives in a 1937 Cadillac limo, by the way). She likes both a T-bucket hot rod and a 1920s hearse (a rare and expensive Cunningham V8), and asks to have a customizer combine the two.

Jul
18
What Was The Beverly Hillbillies Truck?

The Beverly Hillbillies. about a poor family that struck oil on their land and moved to Beverly Hills, California, ran from 1962 to 1971.

So what was the Beverly Hillbillies’ truck? I always thought it was a Twenties Chrysler because that automaker supplied most of the new cars for the series. Miss Jane usually drove Dodge convertibles, while Mrs. Drysdale was chauffeured in Imperials. The Clampett truck had a rounded radiator similar to the mid-Twenties Chryslers. What Was The Beverly Hillbillies Truck?

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