Posts from ‘What was…’

Vixen Motor Home

1986 Vixen 21 TD

Any good headhunter will tell you that it pays to be flexible when looking for a job. Sure, experience is good, but being willing and able to adapt to different projects almost always impresses potential employers.

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.

GMC MotorHome

GMC MotorHome

In the large motorhome biz, it is customary for a coachbuilder to purchase a basic chassis and powertrain from a truck maker, and then assemble its end product on that procured rolling framework. That’s how big-name motorhome companies such as Winnebago and Holiday Rambler do it.

Sterling Motors, What was Sterling

Sterling was the American arm of England’s Rover Group. Seen here are a 1990 827 SL (foreground) and 827 SLi.

If you’re relatively new to driving, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Sterling. If you’re older and have been looking at the cars around you for a while now, there’s a good chance you’ve simply forgotten that this short-lived brand ever existed. Because, odds are, you’ve never actually seen a Sterling.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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