Category: Automotive Spotlight

The Miracle (Thousand) Miles – Mille Miglia’s History Condensed

Outrage! Scandal! These must have been the battle cries of petition given by Count Aymo Maggi, Count Franco Mazzotti, and their friends Giovanni Canestrini and Renzo Castagneto when discussing the Italian Grand Prix relocation to Monza in the city of Milan in 1922. Much like the citizens of many other industrializing nations, Italians were deeply…

The Air-Cooled Iconoclast – 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa vs. Porsche 911

Infamous for their unforgiving handling characteristics when driven at the limit, the first Porsche 911 and the second generation Chevrolet Corvair are more likely nemesis than either company intended or collectors may realize. Both offer six-cylinder air-cooled engines, placed distantly behind the rear seats. Both are lightweight grand touring 2+2 with a focus on sportiness,…

A Ferrari by Any Other Name – A Recap of the Ferrari-Dino 206/246 GT

Ferrari needs no introduction to establish their commitment to performance perfection – the name is mythical among the automotive industry. That is why it is comically ironic that what is now considered the ‘ideal’ sports car engine arrangement, mid-mounted, was initially met with harsh resistance by company founder, Enzo Ferrari. So fierce was his opposition…

The Mightiest Mazda – A Look Back at Mazda’s 787B

Mazda’s factory-supported racing effort success over the years in the 1980s were spotty, as they struggled in competition because of their rotary powerplants. During this time, a distinguishing trait for most of their racing cars was the blue and white liveries that adorned them, now a hallmark of Mazda’s performance brand, Mazdaspeed. It is ironic…

Less Resistance, More (Air) Flow – A Short History of the NACA Duct

Despite their nearly identical nature, automobiles have always trailed behind novel airplane technical designs by several years. For instance, several wind tunnels had been built around the United States and the world by the 1920s, yet it wasn’t until Jaguar took their E-Type to one in the 1950s that a car company integrally used the…

Toyota Total Performance – A Brief History of Toyota’s Celica GT-Four/All Trac (ST185)

Many know the story of Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans during the 1960s, it is a well-tenured parable among automotive evangelists. However, most do not realize that this effort was actually a small part of a much larger endeavor by Ford declared the ‘Total Performance’ campaign. The whole operation, including their Le Mans teams,…

Engineering the E-Type – A Brief Recount of Bob Knight

Concluding his tenure at Jaguar in 1980 was a man who is responsible not only for their racing successes and renown engineering advancements but who kept the company together in the darkest of times. He was born in 1920 and received a mechanical engineering degree from Birmingham University before joining SS Cars (forebearer to Jaguar)…

A Brief History of the Pony Car Prince – Ford Mustang (First Generation – 1964 ½ -1973)

It heralded the start of the pony car wars that brought us the Firebird and Camaro, and the bitter rivalries forged against them on race tracks. To this day, the brand loyalty it produced still sparks fierce controversial debates. It endures as a nostalgic embodiment of the 1960s that Americans still fondly reminisce about. It…

Day in the Life – Road Trip to Laguna Seca in the Worst BMW Z3M Coupe and Why it’s Near Perfect

I am convinced that car guys have the same life as doctors and lawyers.  Not in any responsible sense, but in the advice column.  Go to a dinner party with any of those three people and inevitably, someone beside you will lean over and either present their mole, their legal woe, or their car problem. …

Hail to the King – A Short Summary of the Cragar S/S Wheel

When Ford released the Mustang in 1964 ½, significantly more novel than the car itself was the accompanying concept of individualization. In modern times, nearly every new car offers an ample selection of options available to buyers who wish to custom tailor their purchase. However, before the Mustang, these choices were far more limited from…

Self-Driving Technology or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Modern Car

If we take a trip back to the early 1900s during the advent of the automobile, you will discover that they are all relatively ubiquitous in shape, style, and in operational difficulty. In reality, the earliest automobiles scarcely offered improvements over the use of horses and carriages. Nevertheless, they persisted because those who could afford…

Introduce the Octane – The Brief History of Gasoline Fuel Injection

Arising during nearly the same decade, airplanes and automobiles share a storied chronicle of technological symbiosis. Planes (especially during their first five decades) were a lot like an older brother to cars: passing on vital information and experiences to their younger sibling.  Technological innovations and scientific breakthroughs within aviation, allowing aircraft to soar higher and…

Take Your (Targa) Top Off! – The Concise History of the Semi-Convertible

It could be persuasively argued that the first autos were all convertibles. Even though the textile/leather roofs of the 1910s were predecessors to our contemporary drop-tops, the reality is that the multitude simply lacked the ability to support a metal cover at all. However, by the 1920s our current employment of the term ‘convertible’ (a…

Made in Modena – A Brief Biography of Enzo Ferrari

Among the legendary names that regularly circulate throughout the automotive industry, few, if any, command more reverence, adulation, and intimidation than the celebrity that is Enzo Ferrari. He is the eponymous founder of the automobile manufacturer and racing teams whose products and brand valuation consistently rank high among the most powerful trademarks worldwide. He curated…

Aesthete. Architect. Automotive Icon. – A Brief Biography of Harley J. Earl

His name remains relatively obscure, even among the higher echelons of the automotive literate. Yet his visionary ideas and unprecedented designs have affected every vehicle that has been produced since his halcyon days. Outside of his practice, he dismantled workplace gender barriers, mingled with Hollywood’s elite, and enterprised an educational institute – amidst numerous separate…