Author Archive

Oct
18

Bluesmobile

By Paul Herrold

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses…Hit it!”

Though only a modest hit during the time of its release, The Blues Brothers has since reached cult status. What legendary film critic Gene Siskel regarded as the “best movie ever made in Chicago” has become a symbol of both the city as well as its rich music history, exposing a generation to blues and soul legends. But despite starring Dan Aykroyd, the late John Belushi, and even featuring cameos from Steven Spielberg and Carrie Fisher, there was one iconic character who rose to stardom above the rest—the Bluesmobile.

Oct
06
2022 Tesla Model S Plaid

2022 Tesla Model S Plaid

By Paul Herrold

Unless you’re used to being catapulted off the deck of an aircraft carrier in a fighter jet, or strapped into the seat of a Top Fuel Funny Car at the NHRA Nationals, there are few experiences that will prepare you for a 0-60 mph launch in the new Tesla Model S Plaid edition. With a recorded 1.99-second to 60 mph run on the books, you’ll be shoved back into your seat so hard that you might find it hard to breathe; the acceleration forces on your body are—quite literally—breathtaking.  If you ever have a chance to drive or just ride in one of these… do it, it is thoroughly impressive.

Feb
09
Buick Series 3800 V6 engine

Supercharged Buick Series 3800 V6 engine

By Jim Flammang

Not many automobile engines warrant a biography. Ford’s Model T four-cylinder is one of them. So is Volkswagen’s air-cooled rear engine, which powered what once seemed like zillions of original Beetles.

Dec
08
Car Buying Goes Digital

Are online research and digital transactions threatening traditional auto dealerships?

By Jim Flammang

Especially during the pandemic, the whole world seems to have turned digital. Cash is disappearing as a method of payment. So are presentations of traditional plastic credit cards, as customers use their phones to access payment apps. Writing checks each month? They already sound old-fashioned in this age of online everything.

Sep
02

Auto Repossession

By Jim Flammang

Should we be scared of the “repo man?” In caper films and comedy TV series, the fellow who shows up at your driveway to snatch your car is typically depicted as a nefarious intruder, laughing at the law as he speeds away with your vehicle in tow. All because you missed a monthly payment.

Jul
28

Motorola Car Radio

By Jim Flammang

Commercial radio stations were transmitting signals to the public in the early 1920s, amplified in 1924 by the broadcast of the final campaign speech by newly elected president Calvin Coolidge. Two years earlier, outgoing president Warren Harding had installed a radio in the White House.

Jul
21
Electric Cars and AM Radio

The all-electric 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is not available with AM radio.

By Jim Flammang

At this point it’s fairly clear that electric vehicles are the future, but the road to get there is full of hurdles big and small. One of the smaller challenges, at least for a good number of traditional consumers, is this: Electric cars have a problem with AM radio. Why? Because the electric motors that power their drive wheels, propelling the vehicle, also tend to generate electromagnetic interference with AM broadcast reception.

Jun
30

Carvana vs Vroom

By Jim Flammang

Judging by the promotional efforts of online “software platforms,” potential customers are eager to abandon traditional car dealerships and make their next vehicle purchase digitally. Instead of facing potentially pushy salespeople, younger shoppers in particular appear inclined to dash through the buying process hurriedly, using fingertips on a touchscreen.

Jun
11

Credit Score

By Jim Flammang

Paying cash for your next car? Don’t laugh. Quite a few families and individuals do, shunning the entire financing process. In fact, the number of shoppers who finance their vehicle has been declining.

May
26
Duntov Mule

1955 Chevrolet Corvette “Duntov Mule”

Note: The following story was excerpted from the August 2012 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine

As the Chevrolet Corvette’s 60th birthday approaches, it’s easy to forget the two-seater wasn’t a muscular, race-winning sports car from the start. Rushed into production with a “Blue-Flame” six and Chevy’s Powerglide automatic transmission, the car that wowwed Motorama crowds in New York in early ’53 was a tough sell little more than a year later. The addition of Chevy’s new V8 engine in 1955 really didn’t help Corvette sales.