Posts from ‘What was…’
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
The Batmobile didn’t originate in a secret research center of Wayne Industries, but instead began in the styling studios of Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury Division. The Caped Crusader’s vehicle actually started life as the Lincoln Futura concept car.
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?