Author Archive

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


Should I Buy A Car From CarMax?

By Jim Flammang

From a distance, a CarMax used-car store might not look much different from a traditional dealership. Most likely, its sales lot and showroom are positioned within a string of competitive auto retailers that operate much like their predecessors, half a century ago.

Town Sedan

1929 Cadillac Series 341B

by Leigh Dorrington

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

Cadillac was due for a “quiet” year in 1929, considering the previous season had seen the arrival of all-new Series 341 cars. They came with attractive styling by Harley Earl, fresh off his success with the 1927 LaSalle; a new 90-bhp 341-cubic-inch version of Caddy’s established L-head V-8 engine; and a chassis with wheelbase stretched to 140 inches, a switch to torque-tube drive, and the adoption of 32-inch-diameter tires.