On the inventive Past

the ingenious Future will thrive.

George M Wand


Page Number

4 - 5 – 6







Identifying cover photos


Chapter 1

Snippets of automotive history from around the world

You don't know where to go, until you see where you have been


Oil in Azerbaijan used on a daily basis more than 1000 years ago


The very first ‘Autos-Mobilis’ - more than five hundred years ago


Mistaken accuracy of alleged historical facts


Automobile history before Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz


The original Cadillac, the ones we know, and a new V-16?


First oil well in Azerbaijan, then Canada, then Pennsylvania


Museums are the memory of society


On the inventive past the ingenious future will thrive


Celebrating 125 years of the automobile in 2011


Seriously, Germans did not invent the automobile


The word ‘Automobile’ was coined in France in 1876


Early days in the ‘Land of the Automobile’


From the home of Ferrari and Lamborghini


The shortest history of the European auto industry


Has Japan not endured enough already?


Korea is catching up fast - also on a tradition of carmakers


An automobile fit for an Empress


Solid like a BRIC – building in Brazil, Russia, India … and Malaysia


Crocodile with wheels sighted in Adelaide during Millennium Year


Chapter 2

Automotive pioneers and personalities from then and now

Women, automobiles, and the myth of compatibility


From four-legged horsepower to V8 horsepower


Opening up new areas of thought, research, & development


Fighting words from the Mustang Maverick’s Mouth


In Detroit they called him Maximum Bob, in Europe Mr. Horsepower


Canadians’ contribution to automotive progress


A tribute to women who drive fast and safely


Building bridges between East and West


A modern-day automotive pioneer: a thinker, not a tinkerer


Leading the field at the Indy 500 in 2005


It’s all in the family - or, like father, like daughter


Does Ferrari have a direct line to a higher authority?


Chapter 3

Is motorsport business, entertainment or sport?

Racing and ‘living better electrically’


The first really BIG auto race - halfway around the World


Herbie’s cousins win at Le Mans and around the world


Win on Sunday, sell on Monday, but is something holding back?


Everyone wants to be in The Green Hell now - on the Nordschleife


First Indy 500 race with renewable bio-fuel


No smoke! No smell! No noise!


Not just preserving precious petroleum, even racing without it


From bul dozers to World Speed Records, it’s Diesels


What does Anheuser Busch beer and Diesel fuel have in common?


Chapter 4

The wheeled wonders we want

Most of us started this way


What’s in a name? Phaeton, Landau and Coupé were horse carriages


This tiny car made a huge contribution to automotive history


In one form or another, still one of the most popular cars


Duesenberg, the ultimate American luxury car


An automobile with a history like none other


Admiring and desiring a sixty year old beauty


Self-proclaimed expert slams promising new type of car


A V12 engine is so run of the mill


Charging ahead to ‘living better electrically’


The rise and fall of luxury automobiles


Automobiles in Art and as Art


From farm tractors to the world’s most stylish car


Fiat, the poor people’s Ferrari


Corolla out-numbers them all - Model T Ford, VW Beetle, Golf / Rabbit


The car that became a symbol of freedom for an oppressed nation


Why did Will and Kate leave the royal wedding in an Aston Martin?


Numerous automakers started by producing horse-drawn wagons


Like a cat, this car seem to have nine lives


Chapter 5

A little of this and some of that

Life is 440 horsepower in a 2-cylinder engine


Foreign Fords or homegrown Hondas, which one is a domestic?


Doctor of Motors is a really difficult profession


Small-town reporter invited to try out various fuel cell vehicles


Safety is no accident


Modern monuments to motorcars


From a far distant land they come


A Christmas story for the young and the young at heart


The cost of these toys isolates men from boys


The Legacy of the Silver Ghost


They say that art ‘grows’ on you 193

The beginning of the end of the Petroleum Age


Quotations by Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Charles Kettering




Racing to Preserve Precious Petroleum - a treatise of automobile history

What an unlikely title for a book about the

"You don't know where to go, until you see

history of automobiles. Nevertheless, this is

where you have been" , is an old adage,

a history of the automotive world at large,

connecting past and future,

presented in the form of short stories.

“On the inventive past the ingenious future

Short is the defining word, because the au-

thrives” is another way of phrasing this.

tomobile’s history can no longer be present-

Would you like to know what your next car

ed adequately, not even in 52 large volumes

will be like? Or the one you might be driving

- two for each letter of the alphabet.

ten years ‘down the road’?

This very incomplete history consists of arti-

Did you ever observe a car in a museum, or

cles about a wide variety of automotive sub-

at a car show —more than just looking at it?

jects, previously published as random week-

ly newspaper columns over a ten-year peri-

Clearly, you want to learn more. But reading

od. I have re-formatted, amended and com-

Racing to Preserve Precious Petroleum?

bined some articles, and sorted them to

Yes! — Absolutely! The race is on, literally

bring some structure to this book.

and figuratively, to save our world and civili-

Chronologically, ‘random’ does not make

zation from the consequences of running

out of oil.

sense. But after some reading, you will have

gained a reasonable insight into what

Oil is the form of energy which has ‘ moto-

makes an automobile tick, and how it all

vated’ the developed world for more than

started. You will discover the who, where,

one century. We now know that we are at

when, what and why this or that happened.

the beginning of the end of the Petroleum

Age. Everyone is trying to squeeze each

As in a large puzzle, the more pieces are

drop and stretch every dol ar’s worth of the

put into place, the clearer the picture be-

Black Gold.

comes; It will all come together after a while.

‘Fuel for Thought’ articles

Amateurs and professionals, private- and

selected here for

factory-teams, use motorsport events to find

Racing to Preserve Precious Petroleum

ways to go farther and faster with every tank

most likely several books- are about peo-

of fuel; “Progress is moving ahead”.

ple and their ideas, and nuts and bolts to

hold it all together; — and wire. Lots of wire.

Scientists, engineers and chemists are ‘rac-

Wire brake-cables in the early days, then

ing’ to develop new forms of motive power

electrical wire and now optical cables and

in laboratories, to be useful in everyday life.

drive by wire’.

New inventions, methods and procedures

come forth without letup, to lower fuel con-

As well, these books are all about cars and

sumption and diminish tailpipe emissions.

the people connected with them. Like the

Model T Ford & Thomas Edison(!), Porsche

I chose the title, because many people, like

& James Dean, Corvair & Ralph Nader,

yourself, enjoy the excitement of racing,

Jaguar or Bugatti and Jay Leno; — Ran-

whatever the type of event, or the class of

domly — from antiques to concept vehicles.

vehicle you might hold as your favourite.

Automobile racing started when the first two

You can read any of the following articles in

motorists met on the same trail or path in

random sequence. Most will cover one par-

their horseless carriage. “My auto-buggy is

ticular subject in chronological order, but

faster than yours” may have been the chal-

overall, the stories will cover car related

lenge, long before “Ladies and Gentlemen,

happenings and the technological progress

start your engines” was heard at Indy.

from the very beginning right into the future.

Racing — all forms of motorsports — con-

I have selected the most interesting and in-

nects people, technology and the human

formative, and a few humorous ones. Be-

spirit to excel. It is in our DNA to explore, to

sides the illustrations, (I added many for

improve, and to share what we have

these digital articles) — because a picture is

learned with others.

worth a thousand words — many articles

also have hyperlinks for extra fact gathering

My working life in the automobile industry

— if you so desire.

included all that, and now is the time to

share with you. That is only possible thanks

The great majority of the material appeared

to the World Wide Web and daily press re-

in regional newspapers under the weekly

leases from many automakers.

column ‘Fuel for Thought.’

I did not know I could ‘ write’, until my first

Mentioning that should entice you to build

publisher told me -before the Osprey Media

your own opinion about the subject matter

Group- — and only after the event— that

under discussion; It should lead you to de-

she had entered one of my early articles in

viate and explore complementary topics.

a journalistic competition.

Titles may differ from the headlines chosen

I am still just a word smith, and my passion

by the newspaper editors; I may use that, or

is for things with wheels.

one I deem more appropriate for the ideas

expressed. You will find a few unusual and

It started when our local, weekly newspaper

hilarious examples of this further on.

publisher learned of my connection with a

planned ‘ Museum of Automotive Evolution

Several automotive websites have pub-

nearby. A staff reporter was dispatched to

lished longer, made to order, articles, which

interview me at 9 o’clock on a Sunday even-

you might find –revised- informative as well.

ing to get the ‘ scoop’ before the deadline.

Everything you wil read reflects the writer’s

That report was never published, but shortly

afterwards, my first item was.

experience of working on vehicles produced

around the world. From working on cars

I have been fortunate in having published

with carburetors, to instructing technicians

more than 500 articles, in print and on au-

on diagnosing on-board computers, to in-

tomotive websites, since that first one in

specting experimental solar vehicles – we

2002 - more or less by mistake. Soon after

have done it all.

that, I met another publisher who shares my

passion for cars. The articles found ac-

Whatever the topic or subject may be, I

ceptance among readers of several papers

hope you will find interesting what you are

of the Osprey Media Group, now part of Sun

about to peruse. Discover and enjoy!

Media Corp.

I make no claim to any of the photos, illus-

or that example will make that happen for

trations or graphics, unless otherwise stat-

you in an educational and entertaining way.

ed. All images are the property of the origi-

nators and are displayed solely for addition-

Next will be eBook Number 2, containing

al meaning and clarity to the text. Every at-

articles about interesting vehicles, such as







unusual RVs, military, rescue and service

acknowledge the source, typically the re-

vehicles, amphibians, and others with two,

spective manufacturer.

three, and more than four wheels, and why

& how they are designed and fabricated.

Wikipedia is a main source of illustrations,

as are several museums & institutions.


At this time, I plan to publish a series of four

(4) ‘R2PPP’ eBooks over a period of a few

months intervals; More material is at hand.

Because it is not possible to completely

eBook Number 3 will include information

separate from each other the individuals,

about designers and their work, facts & figures

events and the consequence of an idea, —

from interviews, and details of the most unu-

whatever it might be — the groupings are







tentative; the sequence not set in stone.

The #1 eBook touches on the early years in

the automobile’s life, the pioneers of yester-

day & today, and the countries involved.

A number of cars are featured, motorsport,

an integral part of the automobile, deserves

a few pages, and miscellaneous pieces will

The 4th eBook will look inside the industry

serve to entertain and inform you.

and the ‘nuts and bolts’ of everyday and way-

out automobiles; look inside hybrids and elec-

Many articles begin with a brief history, por-

tric cars, fuel-cell vehicles and foretaste the

tray and explain the modern-day situation,

future of transportation. Be surprised about

and touch on the future.






Remember, every article was a random part

in a weekly series of newspaper columns.

The continuity that some history books

might convey will have to come from within,

by you, dear reader, making the connection.

Reflecting on what you remember from this

I would like to express my gratitude and salute the automotive manufacturers and suppliers who liberally supply me with a constant stream of relevant news and interesting information.

Without your kind cooperation, I could not have put this book together. Your generosity with photos, illustrations and graphics make the text more clear. Without a doubt, a picture is worth a thousand words, to let readers understand where words alone fail.

Your media departments and motorsport divisions have given me insight into unexpected territory. My occupation and working life brought me into close contact with several manufacturers’ inner sanctums, and into the trackside pits not generally open to outsiders.

The individuals sending all the captivating technical and sporting releases, the rumours, hearsay and other gossip, are doing their part to make life fascinating for those of us who serve as go-between from auto-makers to auto users.

Listing each contributor alphabetically, I might risk overlooking someone. Instead, may each company and individual perusing these pages consider this statement as a token of my gratitude!

Thank you all for everything you have done by contributing to and helping to make these stories attractive, educational and entertaining.

It is my hope that every business mentioned in the pages following will benefit from interested readers becoming loyal customers.

A special ‘thank you’ to Google and Wikipedia for letting me dig out dates and details.

My heartfelt appreciation goes to everyone.

Identification of cover photographs – their owners’ names unknown

1. Frank Duryea in a Stevens-Duryea

2. Bugattis racing in Monaco

3. Henry Ford and Barney Oldfield with Old 999

4. Filipe Massa at the Canadian Grand Prix 2011

5. Audi R18 and ‘Blower Bentley’ 4.5 Liter (VWAG)

6. Porsche at Petit Le Mans in 2004

7. Michael Schumacher leading a group of Kart racers

8. Auto Union ‘Silver Arrow’ speed-record car at the AVUS

9. Jari Matti Latvala jumping a crest at Rally Sardinia in 2009

10. 1955 Chevrolet modified for drag racing

11. Larry Dixon ‘firing up’ his Top Fuel rail at a drag-strip

12. Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher battling in the rain in 1997

13. A Mini racing on the Nürburgring

14. Audi Quattro at a winter rally in 1981

15. NASCAR racing in 2006 at an unnamed track

16. Formula Truck racing at Interlagos, Brazil, in 2006

You don't know where to go, until you see where you have been

At this time of the year [January] we usually

In the early 1600s steam engines were first

reflect on the past and make plans for the

tried, and also the earliest piston engine.


Dutch, French and English inventors, espe-

cially James Watt (1736-1819), laid the So, let’s rewind and remind ourselves of

ground work for the industrial revolution.

how it all started; join a trip in Michael J

Fox’s time machine, before going back to Always striving to transport a heavier load

the future. Historians claim the automobile

or to move faster, certain individuals wanted

was invented in 1886. Actual y, nobody “in-

to ‘go the extra mile’. One such inventive

vented” the automobile; it is a combination

person was French military engineer Nico-

of ideas. Today’s motor-vehicle incorporates

las Joseph Cugnot (1725-1804). In 1769 a over 100,000 patents, far more than the

steam powered, three-wheeled tractor was

sum of its parts.

built under his instructions at the Paris Ar-

senal by ‘mechanique’ Brezin; it was to pull

Roger Bacon (1214–1294), aka Doctor Mi-

heavy artillery units in the Paris area. During

rabilis (from Latin: "wonderful teacher"), was the following year Cugnot built a steam-a Franciscan friar and English philosopher.

powered tricycle that carried four passen-

He is credited with advocating the modern

gers. But, steam engines added so much

European scientific method, inspired by ear-

weight to a road-going vehicle that they

ly Muslim scientists. A futurist, if ever

proved a poor design for this purpose.

there was one —eight hundred years

ago, he wrote

In 1803 the English Richard Trevithick built about “wagons which move

a steam-powered ‘people-carrier’, and in

with unbelievable speed without draught


1825 the first train rumbled about the Eng-

But even the best minds of the

lish countryside. A Dutch inventor tried to

time could only ponder such wagons.

use barely understood electricity for propul-

sion in 1835; the following year Giuseppe

The remarkable Leonardo da Vinci came

Botto used a battery-powered electromag-close to giving the world a self-moving wag-

on, an “autos mobilis”, with his stage prop,

netic motor to drive a wagon. At about this

time Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir, and also

which moved on its own and steered itself

Alphonse Beau de Rochas developed a

for about fifteen meters during a play. The

natural-gas powered engine for a carriage.

French combined the Greek word autos

(self) with the Latin mobilis (movable), and

Lenoir’s engine was the basis for Nicolaus

auto-mobile was accepted into most lan-

August Otto’s four-stroke-cycle engine of guages. Historians, who had long accepted

1876, primarily used to this day. (Otto en-

that steam-powered road vehicles of 250

years ago were ‘automobiles’ now honor da

gine as opposed to Diesel engine) Soon,

Vinci as the originator. Leonardo’s sketches

Karl Friedrich Benz and Gottlieb Wilhelm

Daimler improved upon this engine and

were interpreted correctly only during the

used it to drive their vehicles in 1885 and

1990s, when a functioning model was re-

1886 respectively.


1886 is now considered to be the year of

Carriages and wagons remained every-day

‘tools’ for centuries, progressed little and

origin of the modern auto-mobile. Hence,

just about 125 years ago, horse-less car-

were powered by horses, oxen or other an-

riages were buggies moved either by a


steam-engine, or an electric motor powered

by batteries or, - the newest contraption-, an

internal combustion engine (ICE). These

auto-buggies were made-to-order by bicycle

makers, wagon shops, smiths, toolmakers,

or by other enterprising tradesmen for the

enjoyment or benefit of prosperous people.

Panhard-Levassar and De Dion in France, Benz and Daimler in Germany, and brothers

Charles and Frank Duryea in Massachu-

setts, USA, were among the earliest to build

‘cars’ (short for carriages –disputed- or from

the from the Latin word carrus: wheeled ve-

hicle) that were reliable enough to find pay-

ing customers.

Soon, some companies made more than

one or two motor carriages at a time, and

they needed to purchase wheels, axles, en-

gines and other parts, rather than fabricate

Henry Ford’s birthday present to his wife Clara: a 1914

Detroit Electric, —— at the time when he built Model Ts.

every item in their own shop. Item by item,

the parts were made by people in shops

Many inventions were needed to improve

specializing in a particular type of compo-

automobiles from Cugnot’s steam tricycle to

nent. This is how the automotive supply in-

the cars of today, and many more refine-

dustry began.

ments are required for the cars of the future

— such as Lotus’ concept of an electric

The Duryea brothers are recognized as the commuter or mega-city car. More about this

earliest North-American automotive manu-

car in another article…

facturers; in fact, 1996 was the centennial of

the American automobile industry with the

Duryeas’ thirteen "mass-produced" cars.

Early USA manufacturers include Ransom

E. Olds, whose goal it was to replace the horse for everyday use with his lightweight

‘Curved Dash’ Oldsmobile. After the turn of the century, Olds is credited with manufacturing America's first mass-produced auto

as nearly 12,000 were built between 1901

and 1904.

Henry Ford's relatively simple Model T went into production in 1908, utilizing the assem-

bly line, and a staggering 15 million were

produced through 1927.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Concerning the future, —— 2008 is considered to be the beginning of the new age of the automobile. The near $150 price of oil ushered in the age of the electric-motor car.

There is no future without the past; everything is intricately woven together; one idea leads to another; every product is being upgraded: ‘new and improved’.

It is Human nature to strive for something better – it is in our DNA.

Oil in Azerbaijan used on a daily basis more than 1000 years ago

We are losing too much information about

the expertise of well-known chemists and

the past.

geologists from Europe and Russia. Baku's

rich oil barons sought out the best advice

Today, many facts and figures about a mul-

that the scientific world had to offer, seeking

titude of details are available, but our recol-

recommendations from important figures

lection of history seems not to have enough

like German chemist Carl Engler and Rus-

personal “random access memory” to safe-

sian chemist Dmitry Mendeleyev. As a re-

keep information that interests us.

sult, innovative new techniques such as ro-

tary drilling and gaslift were tested for the

For example: I did not know that the people

first time in Azerbaijan.

of Azerbaijan used oil more than one thou-

sand years ago.

Pointed in that direction by a fluke mention,

whilst borrowing Jeff Hutcheson’s tagline -

this is what I learned on the internet today-

from CTV’s ‘Canada A.M’.: “Azerbaijan has

been linked with oil for centuries, even for

millennia. Medieval travelers to the region

remarked on its abundant supply of oil, not-

Photos on this page & information from azer.com

ing that this resource was an integral part of

daily life there.

“In 1920, when the Bolsheviks captured

Azerbaijan, all private property - including oil

“By the 19th century, Azerbaijan was the

wells and factories - was confiscated. After

frontrunner in the world's oil and gas indus-

that, the Republic's entire oil industry was

try. In 1846 - more than a decade before

directed toward the purposes of the Soviet

Americans made their celebrated discovery

Union, including a tremendous output of oil

of oil in Pennsylvania, Azerbaijan drilled its

for the World War II effort.

first oil well in Bibi-Heybat. [another article:

Canadians discovered oil one year before

“Azerbaijani chemistry professor Mir-Yusif

Pennsylvania] By the beginning of the 20th

Mir-Babayev lists milestones of Azerbaijan's century, Azerbaijan was producing more

rapid oil development up until 1920. Con-

than half of the world's supply of oil.

sidering the progress that was made in

leaps and bounds back then, one has to

wonder: what would Azerbaijan's oil industry

be like today if the Bolsheviks had not inter-

rupted their momentum?”

Pennzoil wants us to know this — the first

charily worded item on Google: “The most

important oil well ever drilled was in 1859 in

Pennsylvania … first oil wel drilled for the

“During its early Oil Boom, between 1885

sole purpose of finding oil…”

and 1920, Azerbaijan benefited greatly from

Azerbaijan oilmen did not need to drill to

available, but no place to purchase it —

find oil — twelve years before Canada, and

gasoline a century ago, H2-gas in the 21st

thirteen years before Pennsylvania — they

century; Slowly getting on-line is wind & so-

knew they had an abundance since the

lar power, promising a future beyond oil.

10th century: Arabian historian Masudi-

Abdul-Hussein (9th century-957) identified

two main sources of black oil and white oil

(kerosene) on Absheron. Arab historian

Istahri-Abu Iskhak described how the peo-

ple of Baku used soil soaked in oil as fuel.

14th century: In "The Travels of Marco Polo,"

the world-famous Venetian traveler indicat-

ed that oil from Baku was being exported to

Near Eastern countries. He also described

the use of oil in therapeutic healing.

17th century: German diplomat and traveler

Adam Oleari (1603-1671) described Baku's

30 oil wells and said that oil gushed out of

them with a mighty force. He identified both

brown and white oil and wrote that there

Photos from Energy Magazine

was a greater quantity of the brown. Turkish

Around the turn of the last century, the First

traveler Evliya Chelebi traveled to Baku to

International Nobel Prizes were awarded.

study and describe its oil fields. He noted

The award grew to be revered international-

that the political and economic life in this

ly as the most prestigious award in the

region had been closely connected with oil.

world. Withdrawal of money in Baku was the

1875 – 1900: The Nobel brothers Ludvig,

"decisive factor that enabled the Nobel

Robert and Alfred started their activities in

Prizes to be established."

Azerbaijan's oil industry. They constructed a

Back to Azerbaijan history: The Bolsheviks

pipeline to the coast and had tank-ships

seized power in Baku in 1920, establishing

built. The Rothschild brothers established

Soviet authority, which lasted for more than

the Caspian and Black Sea Oil Industry and

70 years. All private property was seized;

Trade Society. More than a dozen tank-

most Oil Barons fled Baku for other coun-

ships supplied oil and natural gas products

tries; the lavish residences built by the Oil

to many countries for industrial engines, but

Barons in the city were converted into

no infrastructure existed yet to supply gaso-

apartments for multiple families.

line for the expanding fleet of automobiles.

In December 1991 Azerbaijan regained its

Much the same is true today regarding hy-


drogen for fuel cell vehicles; the product is

How soon we forget!

The very first ‘Autos-Mobilis’ — more than five hundred years ago

Automotive history books need to be up-

A new interpretation of the sketch in ques-

dated. The culprit is da Vinci’s invention –

tion came from Carlo Pedretti, director of

not to be confused with ‘Da Vinci’s Inquest’,

the Armand Hammer Center for Leonardo

the popular TV series.

Studies in Los Angeles, who noticed a kind

of squiggle in the sketch, eventually identi-

“Leonardo da Vinci’s device was –or is- the

fied as coiled springs.

world's first self-propelled vehicle. It was

designed to operate as a robot and could

With the help of U.S. robotics expert Mark

travel for about 40 meters. It featured a pro-

E. Rosheim, the museum then created a

grammable steering and a brake that could

digital model first, then a fully functioning

be released at distance by an operator with

model. Research conducted by Rosheim

a hidden rope," Professor Paolo Galluzzi,

concluded that the springs on the upper sur-

director of the Museo Leonardiano, ex-

face were in fact designed as a device to


program the steering for the machine, while

the “automotive” power came from the two

For decades scholars

coiled springs below.

had tried to make




"The model has revealed a wonderful com-

from Leonardo’s pile

plexity that now is very clear. Looking at it

of sketches left to

carefully, it does resemble the ‘Spirit’ space-



vehicle used on Mars," Pedretti enthused.

since the time he in-

vented all kinds of

Rosheim added: "This carriage can be con-

“modern” things be-

sidered a precursor of mobile automatons

tween the 1470s and

and perhaps the first computer ever built in

his death in 1518.

Western civilization." He had already done a

study on da Vinci inventions, published in

Drawn on sheet number 812r of the Atlantic

Italian by the Leonardo Library in 2001.

Codex in 1478, when Leonardo was 24

years old, the sketch had been transformed

into a one-third scale model at the Institute

and Museum of the History of Science in

Florence in 1953, but the mechanism did

not work as anticipated.


thought that

A new scale model of the da Vinci-mobile


functions: it changes direction, starts, and

powered the

stops - proving that the design works.



the two big

The full size model took eight months to fab-



ricate. Five different types of wood were

shown in his

needed for gears, frames, wheels, etc. The



springs are wound up by rotating the wheels

stead, the power is provided by coiled

in the opposite direction to the one in which

springs inside the tambours," Galluzzi said.

it is meant to go. It has steering that can be

programmed before the journey. At 1.68m

long and 1.49m wide (5ft 6ins by 4ft 11ins),

and weighing one hundred-and-some kilo-

Ferrari winning races and championships.

grams, the museum-folk “did not dare to

road-test it.”

Ferrari’s sister-company Maserati, also a

producer of high-powered sports cars, said

that the Leonardo-car confirmed the Italian

genius for designing automobiles – before

that name was even coined.

A news item in January 2005 confirmed it:

Contrary to common belief, it was Leonardo

da Vinci who invented the automobile,

(along with many other inventions that had

to wait for several hundred years, for the

world of technology to catch up to his vi-

sions, to become reality). Not Daimler or

Benz, not even Cugnot in 1769, but a crea-

tive thinker during the Renaissance period

"It is a very powerful machine," Professor

was the first to create a self-moving medi-

Galluzzi said. "It could run into something

um, an auto-mobilis, almost 550 years ago.

and do serious damage."

The vehicle demonstrated in Florence in

January of 2005 was a one-third scale repli-


According to Professor Galluzzi, the official

coordinator of the project to build the car,

the da Vinci-mobile was designed to be

used in some form of drama or spectacle

where a self-propelled vehicle would be re-

quired to move from one part of a courtyard

or arena to another.

As an aside — some of today’s cars feature

CVTs, Continuously Variable Transmis-

Illustrations and Photos in this article: Institute and Museum

sions. They were detailed by Leonardo da

of the History of Science, Florence

Vinci on a sketch in 1490. Several attempts

In short:

were made to use them in automobiles at

* History's first self-propelled vehicle was

the start of the last century, but it took until

sketched by Leonardo in around 1,478.

1958 before DAF built a car with a CVT in

* Recently the technical plans for Leonardo's

any volume in the Netherlands.

car have been used to create a full-size working


In Italy, where skill combines art and sci-

* The vehicle is powered by using a series of

ence in creating cars from tiny Topolinos to


mighty Maseratis, from artful Alfa Romeos

* Springs, coils and other innovations were in-

to zippy Zagatos, the da Vinci three-wheeler

volved in powering and steering the vehicle.

* The museum wanted the model to be crafted

is reinforcing the nation's pride in its heredi-

with tools and materials only available in the

ty. Italian designed and styled automobiles

15th century.

are coveted by motorists around of the

world, Italian expertise in technology keeps

Mistaken accuracy of supposed historical facts

"Travel at high speeds is not possible be-

lars from another source and later sold his

cause persons along for the ride, unable to

shares for 12.5 million.

breathe, would die of asphyxia." So stated

Dionysius Lardner, Professor at University

Or consider this: The ‘Scientific American’

College, London, and author of ‘The Steam

published the conclusion in the January

Engine Explained and Il ustrated’ in the

1909 edition "That the automobile has prac-


tically reached the limit of its development is

suggested by the fact that during the past

We know that not everyone believed him,

year no improvements of a radical nature

and inventors created faster machines over

have been introduced".

time and nobody has died of speed yet;

Speed does not kill ——accidents kill.

We could argue that this well respected

journal is still correct one hundred years lat-

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground

er; the only really radical and fundamental

to try and find oil? —You're crazy." That’s

improvement was the introduction of com-

what well drillers told Edwin L. Drake, when

puters into automobiles.

he tried to hire one to drill for oil in Pennsyl-

vania in 1859; —one year after the first suc-

A little humor on a dreary day should serve

us wel . To that effect, let’s nit

cessful oil well had been drilled in Canada

-pick holes

near Sarnia.

into other believes, thoughts and fundamen-

tal truths —all alleged to be historical facts.

Regardless of the eventual outcome, why

do so-called experts not believe pioneers

The very first rearview mirror was used by

with a vision? Is the human dislike for

clever Ray Harroun on his Marmon racecar

change holding us back from making our

during the initial Indy 500 in 1911 to replace

dreams become reality?

the customary riding mechanic, who would

tell the driver what was happening behind

Those who did succeed have been forgot-

him. (no distracted drivers in 1911) The

ten all too often, and information is lost.

rearview mirror was then introduced by au-

Dates of many innovations are inaccurate,

tomakers in 1914 —after a concentrated

even from as little as one hundred —even

three-year development period, to be sure.

fifty years ago.

The truths: Historical researchers recently

Can you imagine what future history books

found –during their coffee break, of course-

would report, had the American President

that Dorothy Levitt had advised readers in

not approved the auto bailout in 2009?

her 1906 book ‘The Woman and the Car’, to

"carry a little hand-mirror in a convenient

Horace Rackham was lucky he did not take

place when driving" so they may "hold the

serious the advice of the President of the

mirror aloft from time to time in order to see

Michigan Savings Bank, when he applied

behind while driving in traffic". Smart wom-

for a loan in 1903 to buy stock in Henry


Ford’s venture. The banker told Ford’s law-

yer “the automobile is only a fad; the horse

Everyone knows that Volvo was the first car

is here to stay”. —Rackham got 5.000 Dol-

to be equipped with seatbelts; three-point

shoulder belts in 1959, lap belts already in

(also FWD) with the famous ‘Quattro’ since

1949. Mercedes soon followed and so did


every other carmaker. Developing safety

systems has become an industry in itself,

and electronics now control designed-in

safety features.

The reality: The 1948 American Tucker

‘Torpedo’ was the first auto with seatbelts. It

was also the first to have a padded dash-

board, collapsing steering wheel and other

safety and convenience features just com-

ing into other automobiles in the new mil-


The DKW F1, one of the four makes that joined as the Auto

Union – hence the four ring logo

Wrong again. Jensen, the British company

better known for seventy-five years as a

supplier of entertainment and life-style

equipment, has also produced niche-type

sportscars. The Jenson FF Interceptor dis-

tributed its V8 power to all four wheels in

1965; It also had the first version of an ABS

anti-blocking brake system, not from Bosch,

but from Dunlop.

Restored rear-engine Tucker Torpedo in a museum

Hold everything! Spyker, the new owners of

How soon we forget.

Saab, built a racecar in 1903 with all-wheel

drive. And even earlier, in 1900, young Fer-

We have known for the longest time that the

dinand had built the Lohner/Porsche FWD

famous Mini was the first car with an engine

hybrid with an engine-powered generator to

mounted sideways in the car (also termed

power four electric wheel-hub motors. (Both

east-west as opposed to the conventional

described in two other articles).





transmission –driveshaft -differential).

Could we expect the Scientific American to

republish and amend their article more than

Not so. Twenty eight years before the Mini,

100 years later?

the 1931 DKW F1 was the first to feature a

cross-mounted engine and also the first car

with front-wheel drive (FWD). DKW was lat-

er renamed ‘Audi’; and Audi was by all ac-

If the Scientific American was so wrong, per-

counts the first auto with four-wheel drive

haps you, Dear Reader, will forgive the odd

blunder on these pages?

Automobile History before Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz

Nobody actually invented the automobile. It

Cugnot built a steam-powered tricycle that

is estimated that today’s car or truck incor-

carried four passengers. But steam engines

porates over 100,000 patents, far more than

added so much weight to a road-going vehi-

the sum of its parts.

cle that they proved a poor design for this


Let’s take a look into the rearview mirror to

remind ourselves of how it all started.

Historians, who accept that early steam-

powered road vehicles were ‘automobiles’,

Will you come along for a short trip in Mi-

feel that Nicolas Joseph Cugnot was the

chael J Fox’s time machine, before going

originator of the first automobile - built al-

back to the future? After this detour into the

most 250 years ago. His original vehicle is

history of automobildom, we’ll discover the

in a Paris museum, other museums have a

amazing advances and some of the fasci-

scale model.

nating future of motor-vehicles.

The French combined the Greek word autos

In the 13th century Friar Roger Bacon, also

(self) with the Latin mobilis (movable), and

known as Doctor Mirabilis, wrote about

auto-mobile was accepted almost universal-

“wagons which move with unbelievable


speed without draught animals”. But scien-

tists of the time could only ponder such

wagons. The remarkable Leonardo da Vinci

got as far as making sketches and models.

Carriages and wagons were every-day

‘tools’ for many centuries, but progressed

little and remained powered by horses, oxen

or other animals.

In the early 1600s steam engines were first

Cugnot’s tractor had a two cylinder steam engine and boiler,

separated from the vehicle, and suspended in front of the

tried, and also the earliest piston engine.

single front wheel. This made the vehicle front-heavy, and

Dutch, French and English inventors, espe-

hard to control.

cially James Watt (1736-1819), laid the

The illustration shows the tractor just hit a wall, the first au-

tomobile accident recorded in history.

ground work for the industrial revolution.

Several persons were needed to operate the unwieldy vehi-

cle, which had to stop every ten to fifteen minutes to build up

Always striving to transport a heavier load,

steam pressure, than move again at two (2) mph.

or to move faster, certain individuals wanted

In 1803 the English Richard Trevithick built

to ‘go the extra mile’. One such inventive

a steam-powered ‘people-carrier’, and in

person was French military engineer Nico-

1825 the first train rumbled about the Eng-

las Joseph Cugnot (1725-1804). In 1769 a

lish countryside. A Dutch inventor tried to

steam powered, three-wheeled tractor was

use the newly discovered electricity for pro-

built under his instructions at the Paris Ar-

pulsion in 1835; the following year Giuseppe

senal by ‘mechanique’ Brezin. It was in-

Botto used a battery-powered electromag-

tended to pull heavy artillery units around

netic motor to drive a wagon.

the Paris area. During the following year,

At about this time Jean Joseph Etienne Le-

noir, and also Alphonse Beau de Rochas

developed a natural-gas powered engine for

a carriage.

Lenoir’s engine was the basis for Nikolaus

August Otto’s four-stroke-cycle engine of

1876, primarily used to this day. (Otto en-

gine as opposed to Diesel engine) Soon,

Karl Friedrich Benz and Gottlieb Wilhelm

Daimler improved upon this engine and

used it to drive their vehicles in 1885 and

1886 respectively.

Duryea high-wheeler; The brothers Charles and

The year 1886 is now considered to be the

Frank fabricated and sold thirteen of these be-

‘birth-year’ of the modern automobile. And

twe en 1888 and 1896.

so, nearly 125 years ago buggies and wag-

They produced cars until the 1920s.

ons were adapted to be powered by a

steam engine, an electric motor powered by

Charles and Frank Duryea are recognized

batteries or, the newest invention, an inter-

as the earliest North-American automotive

nal combustion engine (ICE); They became

manufacturers; in fact, 1996 was the cen-

horse-less carriages. These auto-buggies

tennial of the American automobile industry

were made-to-order by bicycle makers,

with the Duryeas’ thirteen "mass-produced"

wagon shops, smiths, toolmakers, or other

cars. Early USA manufacturers include

enterprising tradesmen for well-to-do cus-

Ransom E. Olds, whose goal it was to re-


place the horse for everyday use with his

lightweight ‘Curved Dash’ Oldsmobile. After

Panhard-Levassar and De Dion in France,

Benz and Daimler in Germany and brothers

the turn of the century, Olds is credited with

Charles and Frank Duryea in Massachu-





setts were among the earliest to build cars

produced auto as nearly 12,000 were built

(short for carriages) that were reliable

between 1901 and 1904.

enough to find willing customers.

Henry Ford's relatively simple Model T went

Soon, some companies made more than

into production in 1908, utilizing the assem-

one or two motor carriages at a time, and

bly line, and a staggering 15 million were

they needed to purchase wheels, axles, en-

produced through 1927.

gines and other parts, rather then fabricate

The rest, as they say, is history.

every item in their own shop. Item by item,

the parts were made by people in shops

specializing in a particular type of compo-

nent. This is how the automotive supply in-

More on early American automobiles

dustry began.

The original Cadillac, the ones we know, and a new V-16?

There is a French-Canadian connection to

(7.7 liters), and the straight eight in the

everything ‘Cadillac’. Like all issues, if you

Duesenberg J. Maximum power of the Ca-

reach far enough, almost anything can be

dillac V-16 was 165 horsepower at 3,500


rpm. Those were respectable figures, but

the real strength of the V-16 was its

Antonie Laumet de La Mothe de Cadillac

smoothness and torque.

sailed from France to Canada in 1683 and

first settled in Port-Royal, Acadia, later in

In the mid 1930s a new V-16 engine was

Quebec. He became a far-traveling mer-

developed, with similar performance, but

chant and established a fur trading post in

very different in appearance. The cylinder-

Fort Pontchartrain, across the river from

banks changed to a 135-degree V-angle,

Windsor, Ontario, and in 1701 he founded

from the original’s 45. This preserved the

the city of Detroit.

engine’s smoothness but eased the installa-

tion of accessories. With a displacement of

Over time the city grew and prospered

452 cubic inches (7.1 liters), the new V-16

throughout the industrial age. Trades people

was 250 pounds lighter than its predecessor

established machine shops, and when the

was, but the design did not survive World

automobile came along, Detroit was the

War II.

place to be, because of skilled machine op-


In 2003 General Motors surprised the world

with a new ultra-luxury Cadillac “Sixteen”

During the automobile’s infancy, Henry Le-

concept-car at the Detroit Auto Show. Will it

land, the “master of precision” founded the

go into limited production? "Product czar"

Cadillac Motor Company, naming his corpo-

Bob Lutz is preparing to compete with Rolls-

rations after famous personalities. (Lincoln

Royce, Maybach, Bentley and the [then]

was his second company)

future Bugatti, and restore Cadillac's world-

class image.

The enormous, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)

‘Sixteen’ reminds us of the uniqueness and

splendor of the custom-built automobiles of

the 1930s. With a 140 inch wheelbase all

four of the 24’ large wheels have steering.

“The Sixteen’s proportions were crafted with

great attention to detail and reverence to

1931 Cadillac Series 452-A V-16 Convertible-Coupe

Photo: Wikipedia

classic design," said Brian Smith, the Cadil-

Cadillac later became the luxury division of

lac Sixteen's exterior designer; "The car

the General Motors group. When the newly

evokes an era when luxury cars were hand-

formed styling department under Harley Earl


designed a huge, yet elegant looking new

model for 1930, with a wheelbase of 148

Cadillac's V16 heritage started 75 years ago

inches and a weight of more than three

with a 165 hp engine that weighed 1500 lbs.

tons, the car also deserved an engine unlike

The powerplant of the ‘Sixteen’ weighs less

anything ever seen before -- a V-16. The

than 700 pounds and develops 1000 hp —

motor displaced 452 cubic inches (7.4 li-

while meeting strict emissions regulations

ters), similar in displacement to Rolls-

and providing respectable fuel economy.

Royce’s six-cylinder of 470 cubic inches

Displacement of the proposed new ‘XV16’

engine is a massive 13.6-liter (828-cu.-in.).

Some of the weight saving in the XV16 is

The ‘XV16’ shares parts with the next-

accomplished with titanium valves and

generation Chevy small-block, but it's not

springs. The ultra-low mass gives the en-

made up of just two blocks ‘glued’ together.

gine high-revving capability. The horsepow-

It's a well engineered, compact, and rigid

er peak occurs at 6000 rpm, while the


torque peak is at 4300 rpm.

Photo: General Motors

The XV16 also uses GM's NEW Displace-

coasting mode, when very little horse power

ment on Demand (DOD) technology, to be

is needed, the XV16 is down to just two cyl-

used on several models soon. The engine’s

inders per bank. But remember, that's a V4

oil pressure is not only used for lubricating

producing more than 200 hp.

and cooling, but also to control the Variable

Valve Timing (VVT). It is the first pushrod

Twenty years ago, the V-8-6-4 Cadillac var-

engine so equipped.

iable-displacement engine was plagued with

problems because the idea was ahead of

Computer-controlled oil pressure regulates

available technology. Now, DOD is techno-

the number of cylinders needed to produce

logically ready to increase fuel economy

power. Simultaneously canceling spark and

considerably –on many models, not just

fuel injection in ‘idling’ cylinders turn them


into nothing more than air pumps. In other

words, they're deactivated to save fuel when

This magnificent make owes its name to a

not needed. Only the amount of engine dis-

Canadian who went south. If not for that,

placement needed to deliver the power re-

nobody would be driving a Cadillac of any

quired is utilized. Much of the time, this en-

vintage – anywhere.

gine runs as a near-500-hp V8, because

four cylinders in each bank are disabled. In

Watch an interesting video of the Sixteen…

First Oil Well in Azerbaijan, then Canada, then Pennsylvania

‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease’ is an

A few dates of interest first: In 1778 Peter

old saying. Mostly, animal fat was used for

Pond recorded the occurrence of bitumi-

that purpose, and whale oil was burned to

nous sands at the convergence of the Atha-

shed light onto many a situation.

basca and Clearwater Rivers, and in 1820

John Richardson made the first scientific

The occasional, accidental discovery of

examination of the Alberta oil sands. In

crude oil on the ground goes back to biblical

1849 the Canadian geologist Dr. Abraham


Gesner distilled Kerosene from oil. Kero-

sene eventually replaced whale oil in

Since the start of the industrial revolution

household lamps and created a new market

more and more oils and lubricants were

for crude oil.

needed to ‘keep the wheels moving’.

The very first commercial oil well in the

Knowing that many events of one hundred

western world –after Azerbaijan- is in Oil

years ago, at the beginning of Canada’s au-

Springs, Ontario, south-east of Sarnia. Only

tomotive industry, are poorly recorded and

one year later, in 1859, was oil discovered

in danger of being lost forever, I was sur-

in Pennsylvania.

prised to learn that Canada played THE

leading role in oil exploration at the begin-

The resulting development of Canada's first

ning of the petroleum age, one hundred and

petroleum center at nearby Petrolia, is a fifty years ago. I’m not surprised that Cana-little known part of the industrial history of

dians are again on the fore-front of the hy-

Canada. Oil City, located between these

drogen fuel cell age, given our pioneering

two communities, played an important roll

spirit and ground-breaking efforts – literally.

as well.

Today’s chemical valley near Sarnia traces

“But the country that gave birth to a petrole-

its ancestry directly to this event of 1858.

um industry did not fully understand the ne-

cessity to study, nurture, and encourage it.

Quoting from Petrolia’s Oil Museum: “During

The decline was precipitous and the resto-

this period, 1861-1897, nearly the entire re-

ration a long, slow and expensive process.

quirement of Canada for crude and greases,

Many of the industry's problems today re-

liquid lubricants, waxes, kerosene, gasoline

garding price, investment, and the wide-

and a widening range of chemicals for food,

spread public misapprehension were also

medicine and industry was produced here.

the agony of its ancestor. It is to entertain

Consequently it was at Petrolia that the

with a fascinating history and illuminate with

young nation's first petroleum industry de-

its lessons, that The Petrolia Discovery was

veloped its first sophisticated techniques for


producing, refining and marketing.”

“As a one-of-a-kind museum it combines

“The contribution Canada made to the

history and artifacts from the world's first Oil

world's petroleum industry during the same

Industry within the framework of an original

period is even less appreciated. Men trained

and still operational oilfield. The visitor will

in the production, transportation, refining

find here the workshop and training ground

and administration of this new resource,

of a body of men who, 120 years ago, went

took their knowledge and skills to every cor-

into the world to found what would become

ner of the world, opening many of the great

one of the world's biggest industries, but

oil fields that today still are major suppliers

whose story is largely untold or forgotten...

of crude. They labored on every continent

and in many countries; surely one of the

“The pioneer oil men of Lambton County

greatest international contributions of indus-

went out from the wilderness of Southwest-

trial technology.

ern Ontario to discover most of the major

oilfields of the world. They were on the Go-

bi, and in the Arctic, in Iran when it was still

and its use as fuel, is estimated to be less

Persia, in Indonesia, Australia, Russia .... 87

expensive than extracting oil from sand.

countries in all. In the 1920s, ‘Hard Oilers’

brought home Alberta tar sands to pave the

This time, Canada and Canadians have a

main street of Petrolia.”

good chance to remain at the forefront of a

new fuel for a new era. Let us not miss our

It was not until 1967 that the Great Canadi-

opportunity again!

an Oil Sands Ltd (later Suncor) began pro-

duction of oil from the Tar Sands north of

Canada Heritage plaque at museum entrance

Fort McMurray. Only in 2001 did the Alberta

oil-sands surpass the regular Canadian oil

supply by seven million barrels with 271 mil-

lion bbls.

The Hibernia oil-field was discovered on the

Grand Banks, off Newfoundland, by Chev-

ron and Mobil in 1979, with the first oil being

pumped in 1997.

The Alberta oil sands could possibly be the

last big oil field, when other wells around the

world are dry. However, the big problem is

the costly process of oil recovery from the

Oil wells on a pole line; several pumps are actuated by

sand, many times that of drilling for, and

long poles, driven by a single machine. Steam engines

were used before electric motors were sufficiently relia-

pumping, crude from great depth. When it

ble. Photographs in this article by the author

comes to that, the production of hydrogen,

Museums are the memory of society…

So said Lea Vestergaard, an Australian

[ Most museums depend on the help of vol-

scholar of the evolution of museums.

unteers; Most have a website nowadays

and promote not only antique vehicles. It so

Regular museum guests treat these treas-

happens that yours truly was instrumental in

ure troves of history as a place full of oppor-

the creation of the forerunner of this now

tunities, while occasional visitors might con-

downsized version]

sider these institutions as buildings “full of

old stuff”. — How wrong they are!

Anticipating transportation trends, clued-in

members are on the lookout for examples of

Teachers regard museums as meaningful

what’s ‘coming down the road’. For exam-

places to visit time and again with a class of

ple, a micro- or city car, the new type of

students to study the displays and gather

commuter vehicle, was on display in Belle-

information for short reports or in-depth es-

ville, Ontario, during the fall of 2003. The

says related to the subject matter.

“smart” made its first Canadian public ap-

pearance at this inconspicuous place a year

But not all teachers may be aware of the

and a half before DaimlerChrysler intro-

range of museums in our area. One little-

duced it onto the Canadian market.

known, out-of-the-way gem is AutoMotion.

Ten years ago, at its earlier location in

[ Here I have to intervene: I wrote this article

Kingston, Ontario, AutoMotion displayed a

in 2006 for our local paper –now it is almost

twin-tandem commuter car from the time of

2012. A few changes in the text had to be

the 1970s oil embargo. Designed by Ameri-

made; As well, because I would like to en-

cans for Americans, the ‘Freeway’ guaran-

courage you to seek out the location and

teed to achieve 100 mpg with its small one-

opening times of an automotive museum in

cylinder engine. [similar to the amazing VW

your area — every now and then, I hope.]

One-Liter concept car] Among the 80-plus

vehicles on display at that time was possibly

Any transportation museum is worth a visit

the oldest car built in Canada, a 1902

not only from teachers and students, but

WOOT, but also cars that might yet be

also from adults interested in the past and,

twenty five years in the future from today.

yes, in the future of sustainable mobility.

AutoMotion is more than a just museum; It

identifies itself as ‘The Automotive Evolution

Center’. Even if the smal space has a lim-

ited number of antique automobiles on view,

at times it foretells the future of what people

will drive, how technology transforms the

way we travel or transport goods, or how we

interact with our most trusted ‘appliance’ –

our family car.

Cheerful volunteer members of the Central

Ontario Automotive Historical Society, a

registered charitable organization, manage

1902 WOOT, believed to be the First Canadian-designed &

the museum.

built auto-buggy. Named for its designer Wilbur Orton Orville

Thomas. Fabricated by J M Moore Carriage Shop in Bob-

caygeon, Ontario. Only four were produced between 1902 -

1904 with several patented features.

Few automobile museums show anything

Can you imagine what these local volun-

less than 25 years old, and fewer still show

teers could do with ‘a little money’ and an

anything that motorists are not familiar with.

appropriate place?

AutoMotion dares to be different, presenting

[That goes for any museum, anywhere!]

the near future with various ‘state of the art’

show vehicles and manufacturers concept

Manufacturers are investing millions in new


museum buildings. Of the ones recently

constructed, some are worth visiting for their

More so, this venerable “Museum” provided

architecture alone. But mostly, they only

a hint at the ‘far out’ future of automotive

show a proud past; the future is glimpsed

evolution with several successive, well-

only for brief moments at far away auto

travelled solar powered vehicles; Yes, cars


powered by sun light. Talk about alternative

fuel vehicles – already a decade ago, they

Lacking the manufacturers millions, Auto-

were on display at AutoMotion.

Motion’s intend is to continue to intersperse

antique and vintage vehicles with cars and

A few keen car enthusiasts with a huge im-

technology of the future, such as electric

agination, but only a tiny budget, accom-

vehicles, fuel cells, concept cars and other

plished all this. Then, unexpectedly, their

‘state of the art’ or futuristic conveyances.

dream turned into a nightmare when the

leased building had to be vacated before

being demolished for re-development.

Belleville had been the place of choice from

the beginning, and that city now became the

museum’s new home, again.

Besides privately owned, personally re-

stored antique cars, trucks and motorbikes,

“the little museum that could” is exhibiting

an array of planes, trains and automobiles

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a shape is worth a

in models and memorabilia.

thousand pictures. Two experimental solar-electric vehicles

from Queen’s University, from the 1990s.

Above photographs: AutoMotion Museum

A vintage Ferrari is a special treat, on view

at this time. Examine its soft lines; be in awe

Postscript: One day after publishing this ar-

of the Italian metal crafters’ mastery of their

ticle, this came on the news:

art. Enjoy the graceful surfaces flowing from

one to another, suspended by elegant

Wisconsin Couple Effectively Adopts

curves, a feast for the eyes. Look, learn and

Corvette Museum


A childless couple from Wisconsin is not

taking their riches with them when they pass

Another eye candy is the ‘grandfather’ of

— but instead of leaving the money to chari-

modern sportscars, a beautiful MG-TC. You

ty, they're giving a big chunk of their fortune

can observe its old style suspension, the

to the National Corvette Museum. The AP

wire wheels and the lack of aerodynamics.

reports that Ivan and Mary Shrodt, of Sher-

Yet, its competitive nature comes at the

wood, Wisc., are giving $1.3 million to the

drop of the windshield, with only a small

museum in Bowling Green, Ky., to go to-

shield in front of the driver and navigator.

ward a $14 million expansion. The couple

loves Corvettes -obviously- and their gift will

help the museum steam ahead with the ex-

pansion, due to be complete in 2009. Last

Saturday the couple visited the museum to

to $5 million range, with attendance averag-

pick up their latest model, a 2007 black Z06.

ing about 150,000 a year. Pepp said the

museum will now hire its first staff of fund-

P.P.S. In April 2011 the Los Angeles Times

raising specialists as it launches a cam-

reported [edited]:

paign to build an endowment, and over the

The Petersen Automotive Museum an-

next two years will more than double its

nounced Tuesday that one of its founding

board from the current seven members to

benefactors, Margie Petersen, has donated

15, which figures to further increase its

buildings, collectible cars and cash with a

fundraising firepower.

combined estimated value of $100 million.

The most visible near-term changes, Pepp

"We're all just absolutely ecstatic," said

said, will be a thorough sprucing-up of the

Buddy Pepp, executive director of the mu-

museum's interior and changes to the exte-

seum at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard

rior aimed at bolstering its street presence.

and Fairfax Avenue, across from the Los

Angeles County Museum of Art.

"Right now a lot of people pass the museum

on Wilshire Boulevard and are uncertain

Pepp said the cash component is "many,

what's inside," Pepp said.

many, many millions of dollars" but won't be

disclosed at the request of Petersen, widow

He expects no immediate changes in the

of Robert E. Petersen, the car magazine

exhibition schedule, which aims for two or

publisher and former Hollywood publicist

three major shows a year — such as the

who spearheaded the museum's creation in

current "Supercars: When Too Much Is Al-

1994 and saved it with a $25-million dona-

most Enough" — augmented by a like num-

tion in 2000.

ber of smaller ones.

"I am thrilled to make this gift which contin-

Margie Petersen's gift also will allow the

ues what Mr. Petersen and I began two

museum to open a library and research cen-

decades ago," Margie Petersen said in a

ter, incorporating the 9,000 books and hun-

statement released by the museum. "I am

dreds of thousands of periodicals in its ar-

so happy that this day has come and that I

chive that Pepp says it couldn't make ac-

can launch the museum into a new era of

cessible to the public until now because it

growth and expansion."

lacked the money.

Without owning them, the museum previ-

A revamped and more informative website

ously had free use of the museum building

is expected to be online by fall, an initiative

and adjoining parking garage, as well as the

funded by another donor's gift of more than

135 vehicles that are part of the gift, said


Pepp, a former fire hose manufacturer who

has been active as a museum supporter

Also benefitting from the Petersen gift are

since the beginning and 10 months ago be-

the museum's 55 employees, who will see

came its second director, succeeding the

the end of a two-year wage freeze imposed

retired Dick Messer. The newly gifted autos

to cope with the recession economy.

join about 250 others, plus more than 50

motorcycles, that had made up the muse-

Robert Petersen, who died in 2007, gave $5

um's collection.

million when the museum was launched and

had promised an additional $10 million after

The cash from Margie Petersen comes with

his death. The museum's federal tax filing

a requirement that the museum raise an

for 2008-09 listed as by far its largest asset

undisclosed matching amount. Recently its

an unspecified $27.7-million "unconditional

annual budgets have been in the $4 million

promise to give" that included vehicles val-

ued at $8.1 million. In 2008, the county as-

sessor's office valued the now-donated mu-

Now Petersen leaders look forward to rais-

seum site at $17.6 million.

ing its profile strictly with its collections and

shows. "This gift is going to catapult the

The gifts announced Tuesday come from

museum into world-renowned status," Pepp

Margie Petersen personally and from the


Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation,

which is listed as the property owner.

[Amazing what a little money can do.]

The Petersen Automotive Museum hasn't

had the smoothest history since being

carved out of an abandoned Ohrbach's de-

It seems that people and organizations are

partment store at a cost of $40 million. It

beginning to value the contribution that au-

began as a branch of the Natural History

tomobiles have given to society, not only in

Museum of Los Angeles County, but soon

terms of industrial and economic progress,

turned into a financial burden when attend-

but also in recreational and cultural terms.

ance projections of at least 400,000 a year

proved wildly over-optimistic.

It might surprise you how many new things

one can learn during a visit to an automotive

Rather than continue paying $2.5 million a

museum - in YOUR neighbourhood — they

year on county-issued construction bonds

are everywhere.

that financed the bulk of the cost of the Pe-

tersen's creation, the parent institution

After a lifetime in the auto industry, I can

mulled closing it and selling the property. In

assure you of that.

2000, Robert and Margie Petersen stepped

in with $25 million to pay off the bonds and

Below: A car of the 1990s reveals its innermost secrets

at the AutoMotion Museum

set up the car museum as an independent

non-profit organization.

On the inventive Past the ingenious Future will thrive

In the world of automobiles, a similar life

remaining; other countries had their car

cycle exists as in nature: Birth and death;

companies cut down as well.

likewise, firms are founded and companies


More recently, Chrysler’s Plymouth division expired in 2001 and General Motors’

Hundreds of automobile companies sprang

Oldsmobile line perished in 2004.

up and withered away again in the early part

of the last century in Europe and North

There is no need to elaborate on the ongo-

America. The same is happening now in

ing life and death struggle of the Detroit

China, India and other countries whose in-

companies, we hear it all too often in the

dustries are growing and maturing.

news; in other countries as well, automak-

ers struggle to survive, just ‘hanging on’.

In living memory we have witnessed the

demise of numerous revered names: DeSo-

But out of the ashes the Phoenix rises. As

to died a slow death in 1960. Another

after a forest fire, the deep roots are left in-

Chrysler line, Fargo trucks, once a familiar

tact. Engrained in our culture and com-

sight on Canadians roads, expired in 1972.

merce are a multitude of branches related to

Chrysler consumed AMC and Nash on the-

transporting goods and people.

se shores and Simca overseas; those once

well-liked makes are all but forgotten. You

Renewed and refreshed the industry will

can learn more about their history here.

flourish; firms are emerging and growing all

across the hemisphere. For more than a

At the ripe old age of 114 years, Studebaker

century, innovation and progress has known

vanished from the scene; the last of the cars

no bounds or boundaries, and that will con-

rolled of the assembly line in Hamilton, On-

tinue. Just as the Model T cost $850 in 1909

tario, in 1966; the Canadian offspring out-and fell to $300 with mass-production in the

lived its American parent by a few years.

1920s, so will the new green hybrids and

electric cars come down in price. (Today’s

The Bricklin (below) sportscar manufacturer equivalent of $850 is $20.3 thousand, while

had only a two year lifespan in New Bruns-

other cars of the time cost from 48 to 72

wick, Canada, from 1974 to 1976.

thousand in today’s Dollars)

Forward steps and evolution come in unex-

pected ways: Successful Silicon Valley en-

trepreneurs had a different idea: why not

build a better car? With their knowledge and

experience in electronics –and lots of mon-

ey- they got serious.

The new Tesla electric sportscar, which

everyone has heard of in the news, com-

bines old and new auto-tech and now sells

for $103,000. Several hundred have been

delivered, and production for the first two

years is sold out. Tesla is preparing an elec-

tric family car for 2011, at about half that

Everyone knows the disastrous fate of the

price, and the recharging time for the batter-

British auto industry, with very few survivors

ies will come down to 45 minutes from sev-

eral hours; The time for recharging a battery

will continue to go down in the future.

Other new companies are making similar

progress: Toronto’s ZENN (Zero Emission

No Noise) Motors will improve their low

speed city car to a highway-capable runner

with a new energy storage system. US citi-

zens are allowed to drive the Canadian-

made ZENN in towns at 50 km/h, but Canadian authorities are too slow to keep up with

the fast changing progress of alternative

propulsion: Canadians are not permitted to

drive our ZENN on our streets.

Aptera, the strange looking, but ultra efficient car has attracted engineers and de-

signers from ailing automakers and will

soon start production.

Detroit Electric, re-awakening after a very long time of being dead to the world, is preparing production in California with Chinese


ZAP (Zero Air Pollution) Inc. has produced more than one hundred thousand small

The tire company now is active in revitaliz-

electric vehicles during the last fifteen years,

ing the century old electric hub motor along

and could become a force to reckon with.

with Hydro Quebec. The French Heuliez

company, manufacturer of conventional

Michelin, other than making tires, has been

electric vehicles will provide the platform for

active in promoting the evolution of car de-this new propulsion system.

sign and technology by holding a yearly


The X-Prize Foundation has issued a chal-

lenge to build a car with the potential to ex-

ceed the energy equivalent of 100 mpg and

be able to be produced in ten-thousand

units per year. The winner of the competi-

tion will earn 10 million Dollars. Teams rep-

resenting 136 different vehicles, powered by

14 diverse fuel sources have applied.

Among the entrants are private inventors,

emerging start-ups, Universities, and estab-

lished automakers. Eliminations will take

place before the end of 2009, with the main

event taking place in 2010.

The competition will be tough, but there will

be a winner: on the inventive past, the ingen-

ious future will thrive.

Celebrating 125 years of the automobile in 2011

“Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes


My friends all drive Porsches, I must make


Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from

my friends,

So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes


That is the first verse of Janis Joplin’s song

from 1970. The lyrics reflect her view of our

materialistic world. Elton John and Glen

Gould are just two among the many who

used Joplin’s song.

Newspaper reporters telegraphed the news

of this unheard-of, unbelievable feat across

Mercedes-Benz are admired by the whole

the region; the papers out-did each other

world as the essence of quality and tech-

informing eager readers of this new ma-

nology, and on January 29, 2011, the inspi-

chine and it spread like a wildfire around the

ration behind the car with the three-pointed


star celebrates its 125-year existence.

Karl Benz had started production of natural

Everyone wanted to ride a self-powered

gas engines for industrial applications in

wagon; Karl Benz started to improve his in-

1883, aiming to replace cumbersome steam

vention and started to produce and sell au-

engines. All the while, he experimented with

to-buggies to those

a smaller version, powered by liquid fuel,

who wanted to be at the forefront of travel-

and suitable to power a three-wheel buggy,

ing without having to feed and water the

which he took on numerous trial runs during



On January 29, 1886, he received the first

of numerous official documents for a ‘Patent

Motor Wagen’; Historians consider patent

number 37435 as the ‘birth certificate’ of the

modern automobile.

Karl’s auto-buggy languished in a barn be-

hind the factory until his wife Bertha, unan-

nounced, took it on the now famous 106 km

over-land trip in August of 1888.

A UFO landing today on Parliament Hill, at

the White House, the Kremlin or Tiananmen

At the same time, nearby, but unaware of

Square, or in Saint Peter’s Square, would

each other’s efforts, Gottlieb Daimler was

not cause more commotion than did the

making similar experiments as Karl Benz.

sudden, noisy appearance of a horseless

Working at Deutz, another gas engine man-

carriage in the town of Pforzheim 125 years

ufacturer, Daimler installed a smaller ver-

go — traveling without a horse!!

sion of their industrial engine into a wooden

Unimaginable! Mind-boggling!

bicycle with help from his friend Wilhelm

Benz factory. He insisted that the new mod-

Maybach, an engineer.

el should be named after his daughter –

Mercedes. For a few weeks worth of pro-

During 1886, Daimler and Maybach also

duction the factory obliged their quirky cus-

assembled the first four-wheel motor car-

tomer; the model proved very successful in


competitions which the owners of the Benz

‘Mercedes’ model entered, and the name

Enormous interest in this new way to travel

became a household word, synonymous for

without a horse took hold among the popu-

quality, speed and endurance.

lation before the turn of the century; tinker-

ers, trades people, and businesses around

And that has been the envy and aim of

Europe and America started to construct all

many others ever since.

types and shapes of horseless carriages.

It certainly was a historic event as well,

Just two years later, almost 30 firms were

when Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler joined

building motor wagons in North America

their expanding, and by now successful fac-


tories under one roof: Daimler-Benz was

founded as a share company in 1926. The

The 1890s saw countless variation of auto-

name Mercedes had become so successful

buggies produced. In 1899 Henry Ford gave

and valued, that the new company applied it

up his job at Detroit Edison and applied his

to all vehicles produced.

foresight and genius to producing auto-


Fast forward: After recent difficult times, the

automobile industry, including Daimler, is

Persons who could afford it, placed an order

gaining momentum again. And the history of

for one of the auto-buggies; the potential for

its 125 year existence will be celebrated in

freedom of personal mobility was literally set

various ways and events throughout the

in motion; The rest, as they say, is history.

year 2011.

From the very beginning, makers and driv-

The auto industry has brought prosperity to

ers of automobiles tried to prove the superi-

European, North American and some Asian

ority of their creation, or their choice of

countries. That industry is now spreading

make, to anyone who cared to ‘take them

around the globe, and is on the threshold to

on.’ Speed races, hil climbs, endurance

elevate the world’s population to our way of

events, crossing continents or circling the

life and personal freedom.

earth helped to build ever faster and better


A remarkable year it is: 125 years of mobili-

ty with the internal combustion engine, and

One well off businessman ordered a fairly

the resurgence of the emission-free electric-

large number –for the time- of the new

motor car from Daimler and every other au-

speed machines to his requirement from the

tomaker on earth.

Seriously, Germans did not invent the automobile

'We stopped joking about cars a while ago

Its influence started a strongly structured

now. Perhaps we take things too seriously

style during the 1920s, but is still visible in

in Germany,” said Karsten Rehmann, a col-

the Audi TT or the 2012  New Beetle, ac-league at Auto Zeitung newspaper.

cording to design critics.

They did treat their cars very importantly,

Nine carmakers supplied the market in the

and it showed in the style.

1930s, Two were foreign owned, Ford, and

Opel, which belongs to General Motors. A

Germans did not ‘invent’ the automobile,

generation later, these were no longer

even though the first firms to regularly pro-

viewed as ‘imports’; a parallel mindset is

duce automobiles were founded by Daimler

slowly emerging in North America and

and Benz. These two groundbreaking inno-


vators combined and connected the pro-

gress made by previous pioneers Joseph Only six of the major nine carmakers sur-Cugnot, Alphonse Beau de Rochas, James

vived World War II.

Watt, Étienne Lenoir, Siegfried Marcus,

Panhard & Levassor, Peugeot, George Sel-

Borgward, consisting of a group of smaller

den, and others.

automakers, changed automotive design by

introducing the ‘pontoon shape’, where

The automobile history of Germany mirrors

fenders were no longer separately attached

that of many other countries: boom and bust

parts, but became part of the body. The

of upstart auto-buggy fabricators. During the

company was later closed under circum-

early part of last century, 86 manufacturers

stances that still lay blame and suspicion

vied for a piece of the market in the land of

onto the regional state.

Richard Wagner and the Black Forest.

Much as the recession of 2008 caused hav-

DKW, one of the four Auto Union firms –

oc within the industry, the great depression

hence the four-ring logo- later surrendered

of the 1920s reduced that number to 12.

its name to the more hi-tech Audi.

Four of these combined to form the Auto

Daimler-Benz struggled for several years to

Union, leaving nine. BTW, ‘Union’ means a

rebuild its factories before starting produc-

corporate alliance or coalition in German,

tion again with pre-war models. BMW took

distinctly different from the English ‘union’,

much longer before resuming car construc-

linked with trade organizations.

tion, concentration instead on refining mo-

Before steel bodies became the norm,


coach builders fabricated individual struc-

Volkswagen all but perished. The factory

tures on automobile frames, taking cues

and its products were offered to representa-

from stagecoaches and boats – as they did

tives of the American, British, and French

in other countries.

auto industry — no one was interested. VW

As the industry grew, car design took a

owes its existence to English army Major

page from the architectural Bauhaus school.

Ivan Hirst. He painted one of the captured

Beetles camouflage green, demonstrated it

to Head Quarters and persuaded authorities

to order new production of 2,000 VWs for

use by the Allied Forces.

When German firms first started to export

their vehicles during the 1950s, two Cana-

dian auto-repair partners decided by a coin-

flip who of them would import Volkswagens

or DKWs.

DKW morphed into Audi, which was ac-

quired by Volkswagen in 1965.

When VW decided by 1970 on a model to

succeed the venerable Beetle, they called

on ItalDesign to style the Golf /Rabbit. It

was still a stiff design by today’s taste, but a

forward leap for design at that time; Italian

flair started to influence the stoical German

Evolution of style: 1930 Mercedes and 2011 Audi RS5; the

style. Previously, only grills, emblems, and

pictures could be reversed — Audi of the era is very similar,

size differentiated three-box cars of Audi,

and the new Mercedes Class-A concept looks outstanding.

BMW, and Mercedes.

Photos from Daimler & VW-Audi

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” ap-

When Golf sales reached million after mil-

plies to new designs at BMW and Daimler

lion, marketing people in Wolfsburg must

as well, but that deserves another page.

have realized that not only quality and sim-

plicity sells cars, but also style. More mod-

Una bella macchina is in, harsh style is out;

els were designed by the Italian masters of

Germans are loosening up when it comes to

style, flair, and fashion. When the opportuni-

cars — except this guy: He is getting into

ty came, VW hired Walter de'Silva, who had his BMW in a parking lot. As he opens the

worked at the Centro Stile FIAT, at the

door, another car drives by and knocks his

I.DE.A. Institute, and at Alfa Romeo.

door off. He starts sobbing, "My car! Oh my

De’Silva progressed from Volkswagen’s

poor car!!!" A passer-by witnessed what

Seat studio in Spain to head Audi and Lam-

happened and says, "Man— All you BMW

borghini design, before being in charge of

drivers are the same! You're so materialis-

tic!! You care only about your car… you

all branches of the VW Group.

haven't even noticed that your left arm got

Automakers place more and more emphasis

ripped off!" The guy screams, "Oh my god!!

on god looks, realizing the importance of

My Rolex!!!!"

style on the customers’ decision-making process. Having worked together with VW

since the early 1970s, the renowned Giugia-

ro father & son team, ItalDsign, has now

become part of the Volkswagen Group.

The word ‘Automobile’ was coined in France in 1876

“A designer is only as good as what he or

previous era: the town car, sedan, touring

she knows. If all you know is what you have

car, landau, convertible, coupe and others.

garnered from fifteen years of living in De-

No surprise here, because the same car-

troit, it's going to limit what you can lay

penters, blacksmiths, cabinetmakers, sad-

down. If you've had experiences around the

dlers and painters now made carriages

world, you'll be able to design a much richer

powered by an engine instead of a horse.

story for people to enjoy,” is one of J Mays

many insightful quotes. He now is Ford’s

In 1887 Rene Panhard and Emile Levassor

design director, after having worked for

started to build auto buggies; the Panhard

Volkswagen, BMW and Audi.

company existed into the 1960s.

Mays’ statement is certainly true today,

when multinational automakers design and

produce cars all around the world. A century

ago, every country fabricated its automo-

biles according to its own taste and cultural

habits; it was a time when style and struc-

ture had an unmistakable national identity.

While Great Britain preferred steam-

powered railway vehicles, Germany and es-

pecially France were some of the earliest

nations whose people took a liking to the

horseless carriage.

Panhard-Levassor in 1890

Various types of steam powered carriages

had been built everywhere, before Amédée

Louis Renault and his brothers Fernand and

Bollée materialized a fairly modernistic trav-

Marcel teamed up in 1897 and started to

el carriage that might have been acceptable

produce automobiles with engines they pur-

for overland travel, but for the cumbersome

chased from Daimler.

steam engine. Soon after, during the 1870s,

Albert de Dion and Georges Bouton sug-

The Peugeot family had been in the manu-

gested technical improvements to the car-

facturing business since 1842, when Ar-

riage’s suspension, which have survived to

mand Peugeot thought it was time to get

the modern automobile.

into the promising new line of making auto-


With several centuries of accumulated ex-

perience in building elaborate horse drawn

Andre Citroen waited until 1919 before tak-

coaches on continental Europe, it still took a

ing up a new line of work, and Ettore Bugatti

considerable amount of time for the horse-

used his artistic flair and technical mastery

less type to look the part.

to craft legendary vehicles.

French carriage builders were particularly

Renault, Peugeot & Citroen and Bugatti still

adept in bringing ornate and stylish ele-

exist today in one form or another, either

ments to the early automobiles during the

owned by the state, joined with others, or

1890s: the general body shape, the doors,

revived by different firms, respectively.

lights, and roof structures. Even the names

The early automobiles produced in France

of various styles were taken over from the

were ornate, flamboyant and to some ex-

tend aerodynamic. Wooden bodies were

plywood, which is now at the New York

styled to resemble a ‘skiff torpedo’; today’s

Guggenheim museum. At a size of about

speedsters still retain some elements of a

1.25 x 1.00 meter, this artist promoted the

boat hull. Examples of this have survived

new technology and the automotive supply

through decades: the 1935 Auburn Boattail

industry —— What did Picasso do for this

Speedster, the Boattail Corvette of the

industry, I ask you.

1960s, the 1972 Buick Riviera and even the

recent GM-Holden Efijy concept car, to

The Michelin tire company is trying to make

mention a few.

up for his omission; Always at the forefront

in automotive matters, Eduard Michelin’s

That form of streamlining the early French

heirs have since 2001 organized an auto-

autos will not go away: today NASA and

mobile design competition in countries

several Universities are experimenting with

around the world; weird and wonderful crea-

collapsible ‘boattails’, attached to the rear of

tions come from professionals and students

highway trucks, in order to reduce fuel con-

of design colleges. The winners and many


entries are displayed at major auto shows.

French flair and style was very much evi-

In addition, the tire manufacturer invites

dent in the Citroen DS models of the 1950s, schools and industry to participate in the

a shape that could be called futuristic even

Michelin Challenge Bibendum in highlighting

in the new millennium.

advanced sustainable mobility technology.

After World War II the coach building indus-

try all but disappeared together with the ag-

ing crafts people. The heretofore very indi-

vidualistic French style started to rely

strongly on Italian design studios. That trend

has been reversed since the 1980, and is

gaining favorable reviews everywhere.

This mainly goes for “The Big Three”, Cit-

roen, Peugeot and Renault. Pundits list 387

French automakers since the early days, of

1966 Citroen DS

which 10 still exist, besides the above 3.

A century ago, French artists were fascinat-

ed by the new machines and the speed they

This decimation is typical for most industrial

could travel at. Ernest Montaut created a


series of ceramic reliefs that adorned the

Michelin building in 1911.

Citroen was the least affected by the Italian

design influence and retains the typical

In 1919 Francis Picabia painted ‘The Child

French flair, as will be seen later on.

Carburetor’ (L'Enfant carburateur) in oil on

Viva l’ automobile!

Scale model of Volvo concept truck at ‘Challenge Bibendum’.

The Michelin tire company sponsors an annual competition, named Challenge Bibendum, for amateurs and professionals, driving automotive design forward without the constraints or demands of production being placed on the individual’s creativity.

Early days in the ‘Land of the Automobile’

"The new mechanical wagon with the awful

Steam and electrically powered wagons and

name ‘automobile’ has come to stay..." the

carriages were already being produced on

New York Times stated in a 1897 article.

both sides of the Atlantic, before petroleum

We know that ‘automobile’ first became

engines became small enough to be useful.

popular in France, where the new invention

caught on quickest, but the whole world

could not agree on what to call a horse-less


Historians believe that the venerable news-

paper was the first to bring ‘automobile’ to

North America, at a time when no one knew

the name of these noisy, smelly, smoky


Our favorite fixation could have received a

name much worse; The first Americans to

build one, Charles and Frank Duryea,





George Selden sued Henry Ford over the

former’s “road machine”, while the latter

Archival photographs

named his a “quadricycle”.

An interesting parallel exists between the

infant American and European auto indus-

try: Ransom Eli Olds fabricated several

models of electric cars around the turn to the 20th century, at about the same time

when Ferdinand Porsche constructed bat-

tery-electric vehicles with wheel-hub motors

for the Austrian Lohner firm. To overcome

what we now call range anxiety, Porsche

installed a commercially available Daimler

engine to drive a generator, and Lohner

sold more than 300 of these.

The automobile might have suffered image

Early American statistics indicate that, not

problems, had names taken hold such as:

counting the barn and back yard builders,

autobaine, autokenetic, autometon, bug-

almost thirty businesses were building vari-

gyaut, diamote, mocole, motorig, motor-

ous types of automobiles by 1898. Within

vique or oleo-locomotive, as reported in

newspapers during the car’s infancy.

one year 2,500 passenger-carrying road

vehicles had been made; investors poured

As different as the names, so were the ear-

$388 million into new start-up companies in

liest auto-buggies; new and improved with one four-months period. By the turn of the

every next one built.

century 8,000 automobiles plied the un-

paved paths of America, well over half were

light on the Olds electric vehicles. A pre-

electric vehicles.

1901 sales catalogue features R.E. at the

til er of an electric “Stanhope.” Inside are

Donald and Kenneth McDowel wrote: “The

pictures and text covering the two-

entire history of the Olds electric vehicle

passenger “Stanhope” and the five-

project, [before a fire destroyed the factory

passenger “Phaeton” electric vehicles.”

in 1901] is far from complete at this time”.

BTW, a Stanhope is a ‘body style character-

ized by its single bench seat mounted at the

center, folding cloth top, and a dashboard at

the front. All Stanhopes featured tiller steer-

ing, either in the center or at the side’.

The recent discovery and identification of a

number of pre-1901 Olds factory photo-

graphs shows various electric vehicles.

The McDowells add: “A newspaper account

appearing one day after the factory fire

quotes Olds superintendent Willis Grant

Believed to be only remaining 1899 Olds electric vehicle

Murray as saying that over 20 electrics, ei-

ther completed or in varying stages of as-

That fire changed not only Olds’ future, pos-

sembly were destroyed in the fire. He fur-

sibly the direction of automotive history.

ther states that a large amount of electric

R.E. Olds called his EVs city-vehicles, real-







izing the limited range of a battery, as is still

stroyed. One other interesting statement of

the case in 2011. Olds planned to assemble

Murray is that one Olds electric vehicle sur-

EVs from components purchased from out-

vived the fire because it was being used

side manufacturers. The Olds Company

outside and therefore was not at the factory

“placed several large orders for electrical


parts and materials”, according to the

They continue: “In the 1960s an electric ve-

McDowells. “Also, a large area on the se-

hicle is recovered from a barn in Lansing,

cond floor of the factory was outfitted with

Michigan. It is subsequently identified as an

the equipment needed to assemble a sub-

Olds electric “Phaeton.” R.E. bought the

stantial number of electric vehicles.”

high styled and beautifully executed bodies

A trade journal reported that Olds Motor

for his electrics from one of the leading body

Works has placed a “large” order for batter-

firms in Detroit, the Sievers and Erdman

ies with the Sipe and Sigler firm of Cleve-

Coach Builders Company.”

land, Ohio, in 1900.

In 1902 production of the ‘curved dash’

The McDowells further wrote, “The following

Oldsmobile started with an internal combus-

brief [edited] account of events in the Olds

tion engine.

electric vehicle story are presented in as

A fire changing automotive history?

accurate a chronological order as can be

yet determined, and will serve to shed new

From the home of Ferrari and Lamborghini ….

This may sound confusing to some: Gran

In 1903 Fiat started to produce trucks. By

Torino was made by Ford of Detroit; Torino,

1908 the firm exported its first cars to North

the city, is considered the Detroit of Italy;

America and began production of aircraft

FIAT means Fabbrica Italiana Automobili

engines; by 1910 Fiat was already the larg-

Torino; a ‘Fiat’ is a legally binding order by a

est automaker in Italy.

judge, while The Judge is a Pontiac muscle


At that same time, a firm in Poughkeepsie in

New York State started to build various Fiat

The world is a small place, especially the

models under license. These cars, prestig-

world auto industry, and somehow every-

ious and sought after, sold for between

thing falls into place.

$3,500 and $6,500, at the same time when

a Ford Model T went for $825. That factory

Enzo Ferrari once said: “Aerodynamics are

stopped production in 1917, when the Unit-

for people who cannot build engines”, but

ed States entered World War I.

Ferraris are not the worst amongst many

streamlined and stylish cars; Style is the

After the war’s end, and again after WWII,

forte of the Italian automobile industry.

Fiat licensed its cars and trucks to be pro-

duced in numerous countries around the

Historians agree that inventor and artist Le-

globe, a practice still existing today.

onardo da Vinci fabricated the first self-

moving vehicle long before the industrial

revolution started.

Italy’s automobile industry started pretty

much at the same time as in the other au-

tomotive pioneer countries, just after

France, in 1896. As in most other countries,

many carmakers were established during

the early decades, but more than three

times as many firms perished, than the four-

Fiat 500 Convertible Coupe 1947

teen that still exist today.

Fiat’s early success continued, and during

To express it differently: Italy has had fewer

the 1920s its market share in Italy was more

automobile companies during the last one

than 87%. A similar proportion of the world

hundred years, than the country has had

population admire and desire the exotic cars

governments since the end of World War II;

designed and crafted during the last half of

Wikipedia lists 46 extinct automakers and

the 20th century in the land of many music,

61 changes of government, that’s sixty one

canvas and sheet-metal artists; — the histo-

elections in 66 years.

ry of Italian auto design deserves an article

or two on its own.

Fiat was founded in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli and a few investors. Members of the

Over time, various Fiat divisions and subsid-

Agnelli family have controlled Fiat, and Fiat

iaries produced anything and everything

took control of the Italian auto industry.

from porcelain to farming implements and

tractors, from racing cars to airplanes, mo-

Fiat’s alliance with Chrysler seems to be off

torcycles and scooters, as well as leisure

to a better start, judging by the results and

products and insurance; Fiat was in Italy

progress, having increased its original 20%

what General Motors was in North America,

stake in Detroit’s ‘Number Three’ firm to 25,

but small cars were not appreciated in the

and in the spring of 2011 to thirty percent.

land of V8-power and cubic inches for the

[Fiat now holds the majority]

longest time.

In a way, the history of the Italian auto in-

Times do change, and in the millennium

dustry is the history of Fiat. The only car-

year, General Motors acquired a stake in

maker of note not belonging to the Fiat

the Fiat Auto division, respected for its small

Group is Lamborghini, which has been in

cars. Things did not work out as planned,

Chrysler’s possession at one time.

and after five years, the two industrial giants

Since late in the last century, every ‘auto

went their separate ways again. It had been

a clever contract from Fiat’s point of view; It

nation’ has been affected by the state of the

cost GM 2 billion dollars to free themselves

global car and truck industry. In this century

from an apparently unwanted complete

we can no longer distinguish between one

country’s automobile history without consi

take-over of Fiat, the circumstance of a ‘put


option’, an intricate financial agreement.

ering the connections the companies have

around the globe. This is especially true of

At this time, Sergio Marcionne had become

the influence of Italian design on the world’s

the new Fiat CEO. Raised and educated in


Toronto, the Italian-Canadian had previous-

ly made his mark in Europe as a ‘turn-

What the Mini means for Britain, the Deux

around manager’. With Fiat now on a solid

Chevaux for France, the Beetle for Germa-

financial footing again, he tried to acquire

ny, the Fiat 500 Topolino (Mickey Mouse) Opel, Vauxhall and Saab from GM, when

means for Italy; The new one comes in

that company was in a bad position in 2008.

many different versions from 68 horsepower

Again, things did not work out between the

to 268 ponies in the upgraded Ferrari edi-

two largest manufacturers in their respective

tion. Wow!


Popular in Europe in the 20th century, now popular around the world.

The shortest history of the European auto industry

“In Hollywood, I knew things had changed






when I went to the Academy Awards and

production scene may have been, the spe-

everybody started pulling up in a hybrid.

cialty and niche versions continue to flour-

Nobody wanted to arrive in a Rolls-Royce

ish. Engineering talent abounds, and the

anymore,” said talk-show host Jay Leno.

vast majority of the worlds Formula-1 racing

stables have their home base in the country

Times have changed indeed, and one of the

that made steam travel popular.

biggest changes has taken place in the Brit-

ish automobile industry.

Also relatively unscathed by economic cy-

cles and by the upheaval during the last fifty

In 1922, one hundred & eighty three motor

years, the high-end makes are making a

companies made their home in the UK. The

comeback under foreign ownership. Rolls

depression reduced that number to 58.

Royce, the prime example of the British au-

to industry, is going green, leapfrogging the

After the turmoil had settled, Britain had

hybrid stage, and going fully electric.

more auto manufacturers than the rest of

Europe combined. The industry served all

Bentley (below) was taken under the wings segments from inexpensive and compact to

of the Volkswagen Group and is making its

sportscars, utility and luxury cars.

experience in building finely crafted cars felt

among the other stable mates.

Automotive design in Britain was noticeably

different from other European countries be-

cause their designers did not have as much

exposure to continental European art or de-

sign movements until after World War II.

Great Britain was the leading automobile

producer in Europe until the late 1960s. It

exported more cars than the USA, and it did

it around the world.

Well known makes that were popular back

home, in North America and in many other

countries, but have almost been forgotten,

include Austin, the separate Austin Healey,

De Lorean, Hillman, Humber, Morris, Riley,

Since the mid 1980s, Nissan, Honda, Toyo-

Rootes, Rover, Standard, Sunbeam, Tri-

ta and also Peugeot have produced the ve-

umph and Wolseley. The unforgettable MG,

hicles needed by population and commerce

which fanned the love for sportscars around

in the UK. To get to this point, Great Britain

the world, lives on under the Chinese Nan-

has endured a mighty struggle within its

jing Automobile; but even that firm was tak-

once impressive domestic auto industry.

en over by SAIC, the Shanghai Automotive

Industry Corporation.

During its hay day, England gave to the

world two unforgettable automotive icons:

the Mini and the E-type Jaguar; the New

Since fewer companies produce more au-

Mini is all the rage, and a possible E-type

tomobiles worldwide, let’s take a look at

successor is making the rounds.

other European countries: Before WWII

Czechoslovakia had a robust automotive

industry with CZ, Jawa, Skoda, Tatra and Zetor; two motorcycle, two car and truck-and one tractor maker, respectively. No

progress materialized under the Com-

munists, and the companies were taken

over by other European firms.

Austria’s Steyr car and Puch motorbike makers were combined under Daimler and

now are part of the Magna Group, assem-

Jaguar and Land Rover are together and bling niche vehicles for others.

thrive under their new Indian Tata parent

Hungary also has a successful and ex-


panding supply and assembly industry.

Aston Martin is doing well since going it Sweden’s Volvo car division was a small

alone again; McLaren cars are growing, and part of several large conglomerates, includ-all seems well lately.

ing the Volvo group. Then Ford bought it

and sold it again. Now an expanding Chi-

nese automaker is the parent company.

Volvo and Saab are particularly well suited

to the Scandinavian climate and are known

for their safety and sturdiness, as well as

many new technology features.

Volvo S80

Saab was acquired by General Motors in 1990. It did not experience the hoped for

expansion and was sold in 2010 to the

Lotus is experiencing a ‘new sunrise’ under Proton Spyker auto company of the Netherlands.

above photos by supercarsite.net

Another small but well regarded and innova-

Last ranked Kenya, whose motto is "Let us

tive Dutch car and truckmaker is DAF.

all pull together", is starting to become mo-

torized. The East African republic, about the

Who would expect to find automobile pro-

size of Texas, with a population of 40 mil-

duction in even more northerly Finland? Out

lion, has three automobile assembly plants.

of 2.5 million jobs, 18,000 are in the auto-

They produce mostly trucks and industrial

motive industry, mostly suppliers to other


carmakers. Valmet Automotive produces

cars under contact for other carmakers, as-

Here you can find a list of all car brands

sembling different models on the same as-

sembly line. Finland produced approximate-

ly 11,000 cars in 2009, ranking 46th out of

52 nations, which now have a growing au-

tomotive industry.

The new Mini, made by BMW in Britain

Morris Mini Minor 1959

"Design must fulfill needs, dreams and de-

sires, and represent a quality of life for all in

The climatic, geological, and cultural differ-

the 2000s,” said David Lyon, Executive Di-

ences between Finland and Kenya makes

rector of Design, General Motors.

clear the difficulties and challenges that

await designers and engineers before all the

world’s citizen are able to enjoy affordable,

Rolls Royce Silver Ghost in India. Perhaps the best-known

sustainable mobility.

automobile of them all, the company now belongs to BMW.

Has Japan not endured enough already?

In the wake of the disasters Japan is endur-

and body and used a gasoline engine pur-

ing at this time it is difficult to find the right

chased in the United States.

words. To use any quote or quotation would

be ill chosen.

In 1904 Torao Yamaha came up with the

first bus produced in Japan, --steam pow-

Japanese are disciplined, industrious peo-

ered, with room for ten passengers.

ple, and they will overcome and rise again.

Not giving up, Uchiyama assembled the first

More than one dozen automobile factories

completely Japanese-built


have suffered structural and/or equipment

engine car in 1907 and called it Takuri, after

damage. Extend of damage, or even the

a percussion instrument.

awareness of the conditions at many supply

firms is unknown as I write this; The entire

So called hot and miss engines, as can be

Japanese auto industry is at a standstill at

seen and heard at many a country fair, were

this moment. [after the earthquake & tsu-

made at that time in many places to ease

nami in March 2011]

the chores on the farm or in a workshop.

At a time when digital communication

In 1904/05 Japan went to war against Rus-

makes possible the instant sharing of infor-

sia to stop its attempt of expanding into the

mation, we know of all the goings-on any-

Far East. This got the military interested in

where on earth, —— except when things go

trucks, and it imported some from France

horribly wrong.

and Germany in 1907. By 1911 the Osaka

Artillery factory produced the first domestic

Information trickled at a slow pace in days


of long ago, and during those times we

knew all too little of most that happed. Be-

Between 1907 and 1914 Masujiro Hashimo-

fore Japanese cars came to this continent,

to imported, assembled and sold several

very few people, including this reporter,

automobiles imported from Britain by his

knew the history of the makes we now take

Kaishinsha Motor Works. During this time

for granted.

he also fabricated seven vehicles with a ten-

horsepower, two-cylinder locally produced

The Japanese auto industry goes back al-

engine. This made Kaishinsha the first Jap-

most to the time of the first auto buggies

anese auto manufacturer. The company


name soon changed to DATsun and later to


In 1901 the American Locomobile Company

imported their first steam automobile to a

In 1914, the shipyard Mitsubishi Zosen

Tokyo showroom.

manufactured 22 Mitsubishi Model A cars,

putting an end to the ‘build and sell’ stage of

One year after seeing the first self-moving

the now growing industry.

vehicle, Komanosuke Uchiyama, a young

bicycle mechanic at the Sorinshokai bicycle

A law was passed in 1918 to help seven

shop in Ginza, put together a simple frame

automobile manufacturers with subsidies to

produce cars that could be used by civilians,

but were to be used by the military in times

It took until 1952 before civilian automobile

of war, according to Wikipedia.

production experienced resurgence under

Prince Motor Company, which became part

Datsun was one of the manufacturers build-

of Nissan. Subaru followed two years later,

ing trucks for that purpose.

then Suzuki in the year after, then Daihatsu

in 1957 (now owned by Toyota) and Honda

An earthquake of 7.9 magnitude destroyed

in 1963.

much of Tokyo in 1923. Japan imported 800

Model T Ford chassis and converted them

As we know, Soichiro Honda had started

into buses to replace the city’s destroyed

shortly after the war to fit small engines to

transportation system. Ford saw a worth-

bicycles; then he began producing mopeds

while market for its vehicles and in 1925 es-

and motorbikes, before building cars. One

tablished an assembly plant in the port city

year after initial car production, Honda al-

of Yokohama, which also had been de-

ready exported cars to North America.

stroyed by the earthquake.

Yours truly had the opportunity to sell the

first two Honda cars ever sold in Canada.

General Motors did the same two years lat-

er, setting up shop in Osaka to build Chev-

By and by, over the last few decades, Japa-


nese cars have become “domesticated” in

N.A., while so-called domestic makes are

In the years that followed, Japan experi-

being produced in other countries; — we

enced the advantage of mass-produced au-

are living in the 21st century now! Over time,

tomobiles, including quality control and -for

the quality, style and reliability of any of

the time- advanced technology as well as a

them has equaled that of the best of Ameri-

nationwide sales network.

ca or Europe.

Mazda was the first of today’s wel known

Once nature and human toil has overcome

companies to follow up on this in 1931, and

the ravages of the disasters of March 2011,

Toyota in 1935.

the Japanese auto industry will once again

World War II interrupted the rise of the Jap-

be at the forefront from every point of view.

anese auto industry.

We wish Japan well!

The LF-A, one in a series of strikingly beautiful LF (Lexus Future) concept cars at a recent auto show. Its LED headlights, sparkling like diamonds, will light up and brightly shine in the future.

Photograph by Lexus.

Korea is catching up fast — also on a tradition of carmakers

Ferrari is known by its prancing horse em-

In 1960 Shinjin (‘new beginning’) Automo-

blem; we all know the marvelous Mustang,

biles launched their first model, produced

but who knew the pitiful Pony would grow

under license from Toyota, changing to

into a worthwhile ‘workhorse’ for frugal fami-

General Motors in 1972.

lies far and near?

Hyundai Motor Company was established in

South Korea’s auto industry, well seasoned

1968 with Ford’s technical cooperation. The

when compared to nations that started auto-

Hyundai group of companies originated in

related manufacturing during the last few

construction after WWII. During fifty years,

decades, began in 1955.

one Hyundai branch has grown into the

world’s largest shipyard. Hyundai also oper-

ates a chain of department stores, contain-

er-shipping services, manufacture of eleva-

tors, and is active in the tourism industry.

With encouragement and import protection

from the Korean government, three previ-

ously existing companies started automobile

production in cooperation with Mazda and

Nissan in 1975. One of these later changed

its name to Kia Industry.

Until this time, carmakers, including Asia

Motors and Daewoo, (later acquired by

General Motors), assembled vehicles de-

Hyundai makes the steel, the cars, and the ships to transport

veloped by other carmakers. Government

them in

and industry laid the foundation for develop-

Previously, only maintenance and repair of

ing a healthy automobile industry by nurtur-

American military vehicles kept a small

ing a supply base during the 1970s.

number of technically oriented people occu-

In 1975, Hyundai introduced the Pony, the


first Korean-developed car. To hint at the

Ten years after the end of World War II, au-

complexity of that, the Hyundai conglomer-

to mechanic Choi Mu-seong installed an

ate still needed the cooperation of ItalDe-

engine into an abandoned Us Army Jeep.

sign for style and prototype development.

With help from his three brothers, Choi also

The Pony got its engine and transmission

modified the Jeep and called it Sibal, which

from Mitsubishi, bodies from Perkinson, in-

translates to ‘new start’.

terior from Ogihara and production machin-

ery from France. All this was financed by

Many consider this the beginning of South

two western banks.

Koreàs auto industry; Fifty-five years later,

it is the fifth largest, behind Germany and

During the 1980s, the country refined mass-

just ahead of Brazil.

production, aiming to make vehicle export a

priority. This started in 1986 with 126,000

Hyundai Ponys entering North America; —

Details of the security package are confi-

only four years later, one million Hyundais

dential. Part of this involves an innovative,

had arrived on this continent.

lightweight armor. This material, named Ar-

mor Protected Roof Integrated Lining®, was

This increased year after year, but quality

originally developed for use in offshore

had not pulled even with established makes.

powerboat racing in Switzerland.

Korean manufacturers invested heavily in

R&D and in 1998 offered a ten-year or

In order to meet recycling and sustainability

100,000 mile warranty.

targets, part of the armor is a fully organic

material. The ‘string’ part of runner beans is

Motorists know the rest of the story: During

lighter and stronger than Kevlar, when wo-

the last decade, a more diverse range of

ven into matting and encased in resin made

models came onto the market, something

from tree s a p.”

for every taste and budget.

Concurrently, “Kia wil reveal its new Aero-

Consolidation in the auto industry did not

Soul option, which reduces fuel consump-

bypass South Korea, and Hyundai acquired

tion and exhaust emissions with a simple

Kia in 1998. After the turn of the century,

and low-cost Air Propulsion and Retardation

Hyundai built its first plant in North America,

Installation Line®. It delivers environmental

Kia following a few years later.

benefits without expensive technology and

will be available as a bolt-on accessory at

Emulating industry stalwarts, Hyundai has

your local dealership for Kia cars already in

dreamt up an armored model based on its

use, on 2011/04/01.

i10. Aimed at heads of state and religious

leaders, the company reported on March

The system has sensors in the front and

31st that the first unit, -quoting- “wil be used

rear bumpers which monitor external wind

by a German customer living in Italy”.

speed and deploy panels when the wind is

sufficient to provide additional directional

The car will be delivered during a ceremony

impetus according to the car’s behavior.

in Vatican City on 2011/04/01, the press re-

lease stated. It further said: “Hyundai has

At cruising speed, the panels will harness

identified that many global leaders are con-

wind power to provide forward motion. If the

cerned about the emissions from large lim-

car is slowing, the panels will deploy to pro-

ousines and adapted 4x4 vehicles which

vide additional retardation effort.

traditionally form the basis of all presiden-

tial, papal and prime ministerial transport.

In addition, the global financial crisis has

made it necessary for political and faith

leaders to adopt less ostentatious lifestyles.

Instead of leather, the upholstery is of a

tapestry woven by monks from the Indian

city of Utta Bullacs. The cloth was nick-

named ‘holy sheet’ by Hyundai’s trimmers.

Picture over-leaf: The clever Kia kinetic energy capture sys-

The new A.P.R.I.L. system will be available

tem undergoing road tests on March 31, the day before its

on all vehicles ordered after midnight of

launch among a circle of credulous customers.

March 31, 2011.”

Photoshop pictures from Hyundai and Kia, via Auto Express

Clever Koreans.☺

Additionally a small electrically powered baf-

fle can be lowered just behind the exhaust

pipe under braking to provide the kind of

“reverse-thrust” associated with aircraft dur-

ing landing – this option will only be availa-

ble as a factory-fitted device.

Too late for several deposed Middle-East potentates, the Hyundai ‘Hope-Car’™ (hope to survive) wil be available for only a very short time. It was decided to forgo the term ‘Hope-Mobile’, being too similar to

‘Pope Mobile’.

An automobile fit for an Empress

If history is the long forgotten past, then re-

Some Buicks were running in Shanghai in cent history is the recently forgotten past;

1912. Demand for Buicks grew, and the

We know from experience ‘how soon we

company opened a sales office in Shanghai


in 1929. A 1930 advertisement claimed that

"one in every six cars in China is a Buick,"

China has a few millennia on the West in

and that "Buick owners are mostly the lead-

the history department. With that much to

ing men in China." Pu Yi, China's last em-

remember, we should overlook that China

peror, owned at least one Buick during the

Car Times reported in October 2010 that, 1920s. This made Buick a status symbol in

”…in fact China has had cars for pretty


much the same length of time as the USA.

The first car to be imported into China was a

Popular president Zhou En-Lai also used a

German-built Duryen model, and was

Buick in Shanghai during the 1940s.

brought to China in 1886 to please the Em-

press Dowager, although the car had to be

All this good-will favored Buick. The General

modified to fit the cultural habits of the day,

Motors division signed a joint venture

before it was fit for an Empress.”

agreement with Shanghai Automotive In-

dustry Corporation (SAIC) in 1997, the se-

Daimler and Benz had just cobbled together

cond western automaker to do so. One year

their first car ever, and It takes a long time

later, the first Chinese-built Buick was

with ‘A Slow Boat to China.’

ready. Ten years on, more Buicks are built

and sold in China than in America.

Indispensable Google to the rescue: “Auto-

mobiles arrived in China when Yuan Shikai,

Fast rewind: before the communist revolu-a soldier and statesman, gave the Empress

tion in the 1920s, Model T Fords sold very

Dowager Cixi a new wood-bodied 1901

well in China.

Duryea for her 66th birthday.” (Google is

somewhat immobilized in China)

In the early 1930s, under General Zhang

Xueliang, military trucks were produced, but

In 1907, the so-called Peking - Paris motor

general motorization eluded China.

race took place, with five teams completing

the 14,994 km trip between the two cities.

Under Mao Tse-tung, after 1949, private car

That is when some of the population be-

ownership still did not exist; only the political

came aware of automobiles.

elite drove the few existing passenger cars,

imported from Russia; Engineers only

A Spyker won that torture test – from the

worked in truck factories at that time.

same small Dutch company that recently

The first “made in China” vehicle was a

acquired Saab from GM.

Dongfeng truck, assembled in 1956 at the

Somehow, Chinese officials became aware

First Automobile Works (FAW) in Chang-

of Buick. Yuan Shai Kai, a provincial vice-

chun, followed by a Dongfeng sedan two

roy, was interested in introducing Buicks

years later.

into China more than one hundred years

ago "if they come up to expectations."

Around the turn of the millennium, Europe-

an, Japanese, Korean, American automak-

ers, and supply firms, were flocking to China

to build vehicle factories, engine and trans-

mission plants and those making car com-

ponents; 92 automotive manufacturers were

listed in 2007.

Consolidation among home-grown carmak-

ers and the world-wide recession reduced

that number to 52 by 2009 —compared to

15 in the United States.

Books and articles have been written, and

At the time of Deng Xiaoping’s regime i

more will be published, about the phenome-


dustrial progress came to pass as ‘socialist

nal rise and expansion of the Chinese economy and the automobile industry in

market economy’. In 1984 /85 the first pri-


vately owned vehicles were driven in Beijing

(formerly Peking), and the farmer who

Inaccuracies and mistakes do happen, and

bought the first private truck got front-page

will continue to happen, as long as humans

coverage in the Chinese press.

err. But there is no mistake in predicting that

“made in China” automobiles wil be a

China then allowed western automakers to

common sight and sound —to a lesser de-

form joint ventures with their manufacturers,

Volkswagen being the first one in 1984. The

gree with electric vehicles — around the world in the years to come.

government intended to promote its own

industry while keeping control of the market

Did we forget that the Japanese first built

and technical progress by controlling the

cars based on European makes, then cop-

western companies.

ied, and improved upon those, and where

they are now?

In the meantime, a number of domestic ve-

hicle factories had sprung up. By 1998 half

Economists are talking about the BRIC

a million passenger cars were sold, one mil-

block – Brazil, Russia, India, China, ready to

lion in 2002, two million the next year, five

become accustomed to the freedom of per-

million in 2005, and 13 million in 2010.

sonal mobility, as did America and Europe

in years gone by.

Countries around the globe are getting “mo-


No different from the rest of the world, Chinese love fast cars

and fancy bikes

Rush-hour in China, then and now. Photos: From Ben Lownik’s inspiring article and Wikipedia

Solid like a BRIC – building business in Brazil, Russia, India, China …

and Malaysia

Bay of Quinte area readers are better in-

formed about alternative transportation

techniques and energy systems than most

other folks.

The Trentonian has informed us for years

about what the future holds and what we

might drive ‘down the road’.

In contrast, a recent market study of drivers

over 18 years of age in the USA found that

only one in five, or 20%, are aware of any-

thing other than the “gas” engine they are

driving. Hydrogen as a fuel of the future is

known to only 15%. Awareness of the immi-

Tiny trucks help developing countries ‘get on wheels’, much

nent arrival of electric vehicles has in-

the same as similar units assisted Europe’s recovery after

World War II

creased from 8% to 16%, but only 7% have

heard of clean diesel engines.

The study blames the media for the ne-

glected education. How fortunate we are!

They say, "You don't know where to go, un-

til you see where you have been." Or, in our

automotive situation, “On the inventive past

the ingenious future thrives.”

For that reason, we had a look into the rear-

view mirror, so to speak. Before we come

back to the present and look into the future

One step up from a bicycle rickshaw for this entrepreneur

again, let’s have a look at the history of the

Brazil realized this in 1956. Near São Paulo BRIC block- Brazil, Russia, India and…

a small factory started to assemble Isettas,

since we covered China already, we change

the tiny BMW bubble car. Two years later

the C for M —Malaysia.

Toyota began producing Land Cruisers.

Looking at auto nation latecomers, and ear-

Volkswagen constructed a factory in Brazil

lier ones, we find that every country that

in 1959. Most countries start their motoriza-

embraced the transportation industry, has

tion with commercial vehicles, therefore VW

prospered. Fifty-two countries out of 143 on

started with the Kombi, that North Ameri-

this list produce automobiles, and a more cans know as the Mini-Bus —but it also

than cursory glance reveals the potential for

came as a pickup.

the future of humans and vehicles.

During the 1960s Chevrolet and Ford start-

commercial vehicles and farm tractors.

ed producing trucks and other commercial

Even so, economic and industrial progress

vehicles, before adding cars.

was slow. During the 1980s the government

selected Suzuki as a joint venture partner to

The market for vehicles really opened up

produce bikes, scooters and small cars.

during the mid-1990s, and Audi, Chrysler,

Maruti-Suzuki, Tata Motors and Mahindra

Citroen, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Peugeot

now dominate the small-car market.

and Renault built factories and started pro-

duction; Mercedes-Benz had been making

The potential for expansion is second only

trucks and buses, adding cars in 1998.

to China, and established carmakers are

eager to build factories in India; many al-

Brazil now produces more than 3.5 million

ready export cars made in India to other

vehicles per year, making it number six,


slightly ahead of India.

Ten automobile manufacturers are now

Russia is very advanced in the aero and producing a variety of vehicles in India. Su-space industry, but the Soviets neglected

zuki alone built three new factories, equip-

the vehicle industry. At the time when the

ping its cars with popular diesel engines

Model T made Ford the world’s largest ve-

from its tie-up with Volkswagen.

hicle manufacturer (comprising over 90% of

all cars made), Ford assisted the Soviets by

Malaysia  started vehicle production in 1983

building the first automobile factory in 1929,

with Proton, building cars with technology

and a second plant one year later. The

and parts supplied by Mitsubishi. By and by,

Model A was produced as a car and as a

components were fabricated in the country.

truck, serving the country into the 1960s.

Since 1993, the National Automobile Enter-

prise rivals and competes with Proton for

By then, Ford and Volkswagen were ap-

the fast expanding economy and market of

proached for technical support, but Fiat was

the region. The new firm received its assis-

selected to build a new factory, because the

tance from Japan’s Daihatsu. Daihatsu is

Italian communist party was in government

now putting up its own factory in neighbor-

at the time —Russia produced the Lada, a

ing Indonesia.

licensed copy of the popular Fiat 124.

Soviet Russia had seven of its own vehicle makers, two of which are located in the


Today, European and Asian automakers

produce cars in Russia, adding more plants

to supply a growing market.

India imported cars from Britain before World War II, today the role is reversed. After independence from Britain in 1947,

Mahindra started to assemble Jeeps, li-

Motorcycle sidecar / ricksha in the Philippines

censed by Willys. They soon added light

In 1996 Proton acquired Lotus from

Henry Ford more than doubled autoworkers’

Volkswagen. Being one of the world’s lead-

wages in 1914 to $5.00 per day; — we

ing technology developers, Lotus enabled

know this was the start of mass-

Proton to design and develop its first own


vehicle in 2001.

A similar situation is taking place in count-

Wherever automobiles are produced, jobs

less countries around the globe.

are created and people and nations benefit.

A more modern and powerful TAXI /rickshaw, judging by the tires and front fork Photos from Wikipedia

Crocodile with wheels sighted in Adelaide during Millennium year

“Australian Automotive Industry Gathers for

Guilty of knowing little more of Australia

Historic Talks”, the September 2011 head-

than crocodile hunter Steve Irwin and

line announced.

‘Crocodile Dundee’s Paul Hogan, the World

Wide Web had to help out again.

Economic problems have also slipped be-

low the equator, it seems.

The Victorian Automobile Chamber of

Commerce (VACC) organized the first ever

such conference. All sectors of the auto in-

dustry met to debate common problems,

interests, and goals. Representatives of the

manufacturing sector, importers, dealer-

ships, service and repair businesses, insur-

ance firms and parts retailers, and also in-

dustry associations, Governments and oth-

ers came together.

Unity brings strength and peace, something

that is sadly missing in many places north of

the equator.

Because Australia and New Zealand are

located ‘down under’, they are too often

overlooked – unjustifiably; “Out of sight, out

of mind”, comes to mind, and the recent

‘world-series’ of automotive history would

not be complete without the southern conti-


Cars from ‘down under’ are seldom seen ‘up north’. Two years after its presentation in Australia, North Americans

While this concludes the history of the ‘old

were able to admire the Holden Efijy at auto shows in 2007.

As a design exercise, the car reminds us of the first GM

world’ automakers; other countries are regu-

concept car, thèY-Jobòf 1937 and — interrupted by World

larly starting new industries, and with that,

War II, the Buicks of the 1950s. Delayed by the economic

downturn of 2008, a modern Hotrod based on the Efijy is still

more people gain the freedom of personal

a possibility.


The name Holden only comes up in our The slightly scattered and largely unknown

northern latitudes from time to time in con-

thread running through Australia’s story of

nection with General Motors, but they have

successful businesses and industrial growth

a long common history.

is just as old and interesting as that of any

other country.

James Alexander Holden emigrated from

England to Adelaide in South Australia in

1852. Four years later, he opened a saddler

business. As many other car companies

companies were also sold in Australia, such

started their rise into big business with bicy-

as Opel, Vauxhall and Daewoo.

cles, wagons, or horses, so did Holden.

Edward Holden, James’ grandson, joined

Since 2005, it is GM-Holden Ltd. again.

the firm in 1905. Like many young people,

If you think, family relationships are difficult

he was interested in the new wagons with-

to make sense of, think of the auto industry!

out horses, and the business started into

the automobile business by carrying out up-

As for New Zealand, wool and lamb is more

holstery repairs. In 1913 the Holden com-

widely known than its auto industry. Short of pany started to produce sidecar bodies for

a trip to the southern hemisphere, the histo-

motorcycles. Edward started to experiment

ry of New Zealand’s relationship with the

with designing bodies and fitting them to

automobile is even trickier to fathom. From

different kinds of carriages, leading the

a lengthy timeline, we could only learn that

company to build complete motorcar bodies.

the first cars were imported in 1898, ten

years before the main trunk railway started

A separate company was formed for that


purpose in 1919. Remember, almost all ear-

ly automobiles came from the factory with-

Countless people tried their best at the be-

out a body, in form of a drivable frame. Oc-

ginning of the 20th century to develop auto-

casionally still today, one can see a caravan

buggies. So did mechanical engineer Fred-

when frame-only trucks are transported to

erick Ridley Dennison, who in 1900 de-

receive a specialty body, such as a fire truck

signed and built the first New Zealand car,

or waste collecting lorry.

including the engine. On a lengthy cross-

country test run, the vehicle was destroyed

Holden Motor Body Builders (HMBB) was

by fire.

producing 12,000 auto bodies for Ford by

1923. One year later, Holden became the

In 1904 Dennison got hold of a ‘knock-

exclusive supplier of bodies for General Mo-

down’ (in parts only) Model B Ford, which

tors of Australia. Dodge, Ford, and GM cars

he assembled. Two years later, he began

were still shipped down under as running

importing and assembling Fords, and in


1908 he became the official Ford agent in

new Zealand. He lived until 1960.

In 1926 General Motors started to assemble

chassis units in the country, and forged

As shadowy as the southern continent’s au-

even closer ties with Holden. In 1931 the

to history seems to be for us Northerners,

two companies merged as General Motors-

as sunny will be the future for solar powered

Holden, when GM bought HMBB.

vehicles, thanks to Australia. Every two

years, since 1987, teams from universities

For a time, late in the last century, it revert-

and manufacturers make the 3,000 km trip

ed to Holden Ltd., taking charge of GM’s

through the Outback from Darwin to Ade-

Australian operations. As far as we can

laide. Solar vehicles have made tremen-

gather from our sources, Holden ‘badge-

dous progress because of this.

engineered‘ Isuzu, Nissan, Suzuki and Toyota models, selling them under the

Heavy-duty trucks are also a specialty

Holden banner. Models from other GM

‘down under’. Crossing a continent to keep

the country supplied, these behemoths pull

From delicate solar racers to gigantic land

up to five trailers for days on end.

trains, the South gives to the North their

very best.

About the crocodile with wheels, — it was Audi showing its high regard for Australia at the

‘Race of a Thousand Years’, when it painted one of its racing cars like a croc in its natural habitat.

"Australia is a country with a strong growth potential and therefore an important market for Audi," explained Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport. "This unusual crocodile costume is a greeting to our Australian hosts. The car is a real work of art." The idea was born in the AUDI AG design centre under the leadership of Audi designer Frank Lamberty, who converted the exterior of the R8

into a crocodile in the middle of its natural habit. ALMS photos

A typical load crossing the Outback of Australia

Women, automobiles, and the myth of compatibility

The issue of women and automobiles, or

From my early years, I remember Elisabeth

female compatibility with machine-related

S. Her brother Willie explained automobiles

occupations, was a myth all along. Women

to me during grade two at their father’s

have made it to the pinnacle of every

dealership. Willie died in a horrible crash as

branch in the world of wheels.

a teenager. Elisabeth took Wilhelm’s place,

and we were classmates in technical

Women and automobiles started getting

school. She later managed the dealership

along famously when Bertha Benz “bor-

until her recent retirement.

rowed” husband Karl’s newly created motor-

carriage, and visited relatives in a neighbor-

Shop and co-op programs at several Bay of

ing town in 1886. When the machine broke

Quinte area [Ontario] high schools include

down on that historic first cross-country

young women; one school has a class of

drive, she diagnosed the problem intelligent-

female-only auto-shop students. The cream

ly and repaired the world’s first car with

of the crop from previous classes at that

great resourcefulness.

school are now engineers; one young wom-

an is a designer at Ford in Detroit.

I worked for a ‘lady service manager’ in

younger years, and in later life coached a

number of ‘woman-techs’. These women

keep our family-cars running at top efficien-

cy, while top speed is the goal of Diane Holl,

Sharon Hopkins and others. Holl worked as

an engineer in Indy-car racing. Being female

has made her easily identifiable and helped

‘make her name’ in the profession, she re-


Hopkins worked as an electrical engineer

for the Arrows Formula One Team. "People

tell me I am special because I'm the first

woman F1-engineer - but so what? I don't

understand why there aren't more women in

Formula One”, she said.

Women who race in Indy-cars include Sarah

Fisher and Lyn St. James, a seven-time In-

dianapolis 500 driver. Fisher, the youngest

Bertha Benz – Picture: Daimler Archives

driver to compete in the ‘Indy 500’, qualified

Graduate female engineers were around

at 371 km/h (229 mph). At Kentucky

before the automobile, in machine and tool

Speedway, she became the youngest per-

companies. Women receive more recogni-

son to capture the pole and set a new track

tion for accomplishments lately, but still not

record. She was leading the race for several

enough by a long way.

laps and won third-place.

Female technicians, engineers, racing driv-

Danica Patrick is another promising driver,

ers, automotive retailers, designers

being coached by none other than Bobby

and corporate managers are everywhere.


[written in March 2004]

Based on her results from last year in a

Golf-based ‘dune-buggy’ and the recent

(January 2004) success in a VW Touareg,

she could well beat the world’s best cars

and drivers again.

Exemplary women, who made it all the way

to the summit of automobildom, include Di-

ane Kaye at Delphi Corporation, (the world’s

second largest automotive electronics firm);

Bobbie Andrea Gaunt, Ford of Canada

Vanina Ickx, Audi, & Susie Stoddart, Mercedes, driving in the

President and CEO; Jean Jennings, the Edi-

DTM, Europe’s NASCAR equivalent DTM photo

tor in Chief of Automobile magazine and

Josephine S. (Jo) Cooper, president and

Women racing-drivers have always been

chief executive officer of the Alliance of Au-

around. In his memoirs, Alfred Neubauer,

tomobile Manufacturers.

Mercedes’ famous racing-team manager of

the 1930s, praised the exploits of a compet-

We should be especially proud of Canadian-

ing team’s driver this way: ”This the world

born Cynthia Trudell, a chemical engineer,

has never seen before. This courageous

and head of GM’s Saturn division. Maureen

lady, Elisabeth Juneck, overtook all men at

Kempston-Darkes, born near Toronto, not

the 1928 Targa Florio long distance race:

only was General Manager and President of

Alberto Divo, Giuseppe Campari, Tazio Nu-

General Motors of Canada, she now is

volari and some other reputed drivers.”

President of GM Latin America, Africa and

Mid-East, and a member of the General Mo-

She passed Nuvolari! Cars are named after

tors Automotive Strategy Board. She re-

him today. But who remembers Juneck?

ceived The Order of Ontario and was ap-

pointed as an Officer of the Order of Cana-

Women who now work on, or design, cars

da in 2000.

that compete for a parking spot downtown,

instead of a spot on a grid, look up to Ann

Let’s woo more wonderful women to our

Ansensio. She is “Executive Director of De-

world of wheels.

sign, Interior Design, Quality and Brand

Character” at General Motors. She also su-

pervises car and truck and concept vehicle

[Soon after this article was published in April


2004, more news about women in the auto

industry came to the fore.

One young woman, who develops AND

By 2011 so many mentions appear in the

races what she designs, is Jutta Klein-

news, it is no longer ‘News’; Books can be

schmidt. This physicist-engineer got the

written about the women who have an effect

‘racing-bug’ when working at BMW. She en-

on the world of wheels.]

tered long distance rallies with a ‘Beemer-

bike’, later switching to cars. She won the

Let me add a few “news items” that I col-

extreme Paris to Dakar rally in 2001. At

lected at that time:

Volkswagen she now improves the highly

acclaimed Touareg SUV into a winning per-

Mary Ann Wright, who served as chief engi-

former, aiming to top the two-week, ten-

neer for the Escape HEV, Ford’s first hybrid,

thousand kilometer African desert-rally in a

will assume a new post as director of the

special Race-Touareg next year.

new Ford Sustainable Mobility Technologies

and Hybrid Vehicle Programs group;

Tracy L. Mack-Askew, a designing engineer

in General Motors North America Product

Development, has been selected as one of

the "Women of Color Rising Stars of Tech-

nology" for 2004 by the editors of Women of

Color Conference magazine.

“Mack-Askew was honored at ceremonies

during the 9th Annual National Women of

Color Technology Awards Conference on

October 28 in Atlanta, GA. Honorees are

minority women under age 30 who are out-

standing performers and are helping to

shape technology for the future. This is the

second award for Mack-Askew, who in 2003

earned the recognition of National Modern

Day Technology Leader as part of the Black

Engineer of the Year awards,

Commenting on her engineering achieve-

ments, Mack-Askew said, "Through diligent

effort and faith, there is no limit to what you

Chrystal L Windham, Design Director, GM, 2008

can accomplish."

An all-female group of Volvo engineers and

Currently, Mack-Askew is a GM designing

designers displayed their idea of a ‘car for

engineer -Exteriors, Materials and Fas-

women’ at numerous 2004 automobile

tening in the Bumpers, Fascia, Grille and

shows around the world.

Wheel Liners Group. She is responsible for

the design and release of components for a

The list is getting too long to keep track of

2006 GM sport utility vehicle.

women’s achievements in the auto-world


Among other career accomplishments,


Mack-Askew planned and executed the seat

President, Environmental and Safety Engi-

development rides in the Chevrolet SSR;

neering, Ford Motor Company: Sue Cisch-

demonstrated effective problem solving as a


"Red X Journeyperson;" developed and

maintained the Structures, Durability and

An aside: One determined young woman I

Dynamic Applications group web site; and

know, plans to have her own shop some

authored the Quasi-Static Durability of

day; she took auto shop in our local high

Mounted Components procedure.

school, and did co-op at the small town’s

auto parts store. She now wants to enter the

Mack-Askew began her GM career in Janu-

military for a thorough education in the au-

ary 1999 as a college graduate in training.

tomotive trades and save up to open her

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Me-

business. Smart thinking!

chanical Engineering from Rensselaer Poly-

technic Institute and completed the Master

There is more:

of Science in Engineering program at Pur-

“GM Engineer Named Rising Star of Tech-

due University in December 2004.

nology by Women of Color Conference

Magazine” Dec. 2004:

Report on January 19, 2005:

trim for the same car. The YCC was pre-

“The DaimlerChrysler Board of Manage-

sented at the Geneva Motor Show in 2004.

ment today announces the appointment of

“I wanted to show that function can be

Karenann Terrell as Vice President. Terrell,

beautiful. You should not be forced to

previously Director - Managed Services &

choose between a practical and a beautiful

International Process Systems, has been

car. The YCC is the best of both worlds”,

appointed Vice President and CIO Chrysler

says Anna Rosén.

Group and Mercedes-Benz North America

effective January 1, 2005. She reports to

“The YCC made the news not least because

Susan J. Unger, Senior Vice President and

men were excluded from development of

CIO, DaimlerChrysler AG.

the vehicle in an attempt to emphasize Vol-

vo's commitment to the needs of its female

Many of Terrell's responsibilities were previ-

customers. The result was an attractive ve-

ously held by Richard Earle, Director - ITM

hicle with some novel features such as gull-

Chrysler Vehicle and Mercedes-Benz North

wing doors that revealed a disparity be-

America, who has retired. Terrell also had

tween the intention of a 'practical' car and

served as Director, eConnect Platform,

the reality of an attention-seeking show car.

where she oversaw all e-Business activities

The YCC also incorporated features such

for the product and consumer side of the

as changeable upholstery and folding rear

Chrysler Group.


The list goes on with ‘Swedish magazine

“I wanted the interior to have more of a liv-

names favorite designers’: Volvo's car de-

ing room feeling than a cockpit. And to have

signers Anna Rosén and Maria Uggla have

a Scandinavian touch with light and honest

been named women of the year by the

materials like bleached laminated oak and

Swedish magazine 'Damernas värld'.

brushed aluminium”, explains Maria Uggla.

You will be aware by now of the fact that the

“We are so proud of this and see it as a

automobile industry, and all that surrounds

recognition that Volvo is on the right track in

it, is not a male managed industry.

listening to what women want in their cars”.

Anna Rosén was the exterior designer for

Regardless of how many computers design,

the 'Your Concept Car', or YCC, and Maria

how many robots build, how many GPS di-

Uggla was responsible for the colour and

rect automobiles — Human Beings are be-

hind and in front of anything that happens.

Danica Patrick at 2008 Indy 500 Pole Day

photo: Wikipedia

From four-legged horsepower to V8 horsepower

"Chrysler, Olds, Chevrolet - the men, not

Oshawa Carriage Works later became bet-

the cars - were his buddies," wrote author

ter known as McLaughlin Carriage.

Heather Robertson in her book about Rob-

ert Samuel McLaughlin.

Young Samuel was exposed to all this from

early on. At age 16 he started working for

Samuel’s grandfather John had come from

his father's company. As an apprentice up-

Ireland. His son Robert moved to Darlington

holsterer he was paid $3 a week, from

Township (now familiar thru the Darlington

which father Robert deducted $2.50 for

nuclear power station). He enjoyed wood-

room and board. As a journeyman, he

working, and created new handles for his

worked his way up to $6 a week.

tools when he needed them for his farm


Sam liked creating upholstery better than

constructing carriage bodies, but he devel-

As any tradesperson will tell you, they

oped a flair for devising different body types.

choose a tool by its feel. Robert McLaugh-

lin’s neighbors felt the difference in his axe

Putting his knowledge, skill and talent into

handles, and they asked him to make the

this, he helped expand the production to

same for them. From axe handles the

include more than 140 different wagons and

woodwork progressed to sleighs, then to


buggies, and after a few years it became a

flourishing business.

The business boomed and became the big-

gest sleigh and buggy business in the Brit-

Robert Samuel, (they called him Sam), was

ish Empire. At the beginning of the 20th cen-

born in 1871 in Enniskillen, a two-hour trip

tury the McLaughlin family firm produced

by horse and buggy north of the Port of

25,000 horse-drawn buggies and sleighs

Oshawa on Lake Ontario.

per year.

By that time, McLaughlin’s carriages were in

Horse-less carriages showed up here and

demand by the growing Ontario population.

there at about this time. The company’s

To expand, and to have better access to

bookkeeper, Oliver Hezzlewood, had

markets further afield, the carriage works

bought an open Ford. He asked Sam to fit a

relocated to Oshawa in 1877, from where

rainy-ride-protection to his auto-buggy. A

carts and coaches could be shipped by rail-

firmly fitting cover with four holes kept the


passengers’ bodies dry in a downpour, but

not their heads; windshields and roofs were

options in those days.

A grateful Hezzlewood let Sam take his

Ford for a drive; That day in 1904 changed

Canadian history. "I think it ran on one cyl-

inder and was chain driven," Sam McLaugh-

lin told Maclean's Magazine in 1954. "It had

no doors, top or windshield. From then on I

had a new kind of wheel in my head: motor-

driven wheels”.

Beautifully restored Doctors Buggy; Photo by M. B.

Sam inspected and investigated a number

and he sold off the Carriage Works. Auto-

of the new-fangled vehicles, but father Rob-

mobile production continued under ‘General

ert still considered them a passing fad.

Motors Canada’, with Sam as major share-

holder and president until 1945. When civil-

It took some time to convince their father,

ian car production resumed after the war,

but by 1907 Sam and his brother George

the McLaughlin name was dropped from

had persuaded Robert of the ‘new reality’;

Buicks, but Sam remained chairman of

the McLaughlin Motor Car Company Limited

General Motors Canada till 1967 and hon-

was incorporated in Oshawa, Sam becom-

orary chair until he died at one hundred

ing its president.

years of age in 1972.

He contacted Bill Durant, a partner in the

The rest, as they say, is history.

Buick Motor Company. Durant came to

Oshawa and the two wrote a three-page

History’s lesser known facts are that Samu-

agreement, whereby Buick would supply the

el McLaughlin was extremely proud to be

engine, chassis and running gear; The

appointed Honorary Colonel of the Oshawa

McLaughlins would use the longtime exper-

based 11th Ontario Regiment in 1921, to be-

tise of the Carriage Works to build the bod-

come known as ‘Colonel Sam’ during his life

ies and interior. While the Detroit-made

and beyond.

Buick was a plain vehicle, Oshawa offered

various more elaborate models.

When General Motors needed a new head

office in 1989, it was constructed near the

old Port of Oshawa, in easy viewing dis-

tance from Highway 401. The road leading

to it was named ‘Colonel Sam Drive’, a fit-

ting tribute to the person who gave many

millions through his foundation to institutions

all across Ontario.

The first year’s production of 154 McLaugh-

lin ‘Model F’ in 1908 sold quickly; the com-

pany name was changed to McLaughlin-

Buick in 1909.

Car photos courtesy of General Motors: The first (restored)

1908 Model F McLaughlin-Buick and one of the last, a mili-

In the meantime, Durant had become head

tary version 1938 McLaughlin-Buick.

of the Buick & Oldsmobile alliance under the

name ‘General Motors’. By 1915 Chevrolet

The Model F was on display at the General

had been added. Durant wanted to expand

Motors Canada headquarters in Oshawa,

the Chevy brand to Canada and asked

Ontario, for years, before going to the Ca-

McLaughlin to add them to their production.

nadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa.

While still in the restoration shop, I was giv-By about this time, father Robert was con-

en a special ‘once over’ by World Champion

vinced that the ‘new fad’ was here to stay,

Restorer Harry Sherry.

Colonel Sam McLaughlin enjoys a leisurely smoke of his pipe

From the Oshawa Public Library Local History Collection

Opening up new areas of thought, research, and development

When thinking of ‘Pioneer’, we mostly think

compact four-seater with the existing, fuel

of Daimler, Benz, Ford and their contempo-

efficient ‘Minor’ engine.

raries as automotive pioneers. But as the

definition states, anyone can be a ‘modern

Alec Issigonis’ ingenious new concept was


reputedly sketched on a tablecloth. The

draftsmen then interpreted the sketches into

Alec Issigonis was one such innovative per-

manufacturing drawings - with a great deal

son. Few know his name, but everyone

of explaining from the creative mind, no

knows the product of his thought, research


and development: the Mini.

The radical, inspired design of the Mini had

Alec’s early life was complex; his father, a

the engine mounted sideways – imagine

British subject had married a Bavarian

that - under the English ‘bonnet’, and the

woman, and they worked in the port city of

transmission was built-in under the engine,

Smyrna in Greece as merchants. Political

saving even more space.

unrest is nothing new; the family was ex-

pelled from their town, which is now the

When the engine drives the front wheels,

Turkish city of Izmir. In 1922 Alec’s father

the transmission and drive-shaft tunnel, the

died and a year later his mother decided to

hump along the centre of a car, can be elim-

move to England with 16 year old Alec, ra-

inated. That makes it possible to make a car

ther than return to her father’s brewery in

shorter, narrower and therefore lighter than


a car with rear wheel drive.

Technology ran deep in the family, Alec’s

This ‘Mini’ concept was a natural for front

father and grandfather had been engineers;

wheel drive, and almost every front wheel

A surprise that he also studied engineering?

drive (FWD) car produced since that time

has the engine mounted laterally instead of

Besides, Alec’s great-nephew, Bernd

longitudinally. The new term is east-west,

Pischetsrieder, would later become an emi-

instead of north-south.

nent engineer at BMW and VW.

Placing the engine sideways allowed 80%

Alec started work as an engineer and de-

of the Mini’s floor space to be used as the

signer at Humber, not Hummer, a quality

passenger compartment, including some

automobile firm. In the early 1940s he

trunk space in the ’boot’.

changed to Morris and worked on the de-

sign of the Morris Minor, which was suc-

BTW: a nearby [Ontario] automobile club

cessfully produced until 1971.

catering to British makes is called the Boot

‘n Bonnet Club.

Morris merged with Austin in 1952 to be-

come British Motors Corporation (BMC).

The Mini’s independent suspension on all

Issigonis and his design team – consisting

four wheels was just as ingenious as it was

of two other engineers, four draftsmen and

simple: rubber cones would be squeezed

two engineering students– were given the

into a funnel-like housing, instead of having

task of designing a car to compete with the

springs compressed.

increasing imports of German and Italian

‘bubble cars”. The new car had to be a

With the power of only 55 tiny horses, Issi-

gonis’ revolutionary little car did not win any

drag races, but the Mini’s handling could be

In 1969 Issigonis was knighted for his ac-

compared to that of a go-kart.

complishments in engineering in the British

Motor Industry. In 1971 Sir Alec retired from

John Cooper, a racecar and engine wizard,

British Leyland, the umbrella company of

modified the 900cc BMC engine for addi-

BMC since 1968. One of the great engi-

tional horse-power, and the Mini-Cooper

neers of the 20the century, Sir Alec Issigo-

won the famous Monte Carlo Rally three

nis passed away in 1988 at age 81.

times, thanks to its amazing handling.

He did not experience the gratification and

honor of seeing his work revived as the New

Mini. In a strange twist of fate, it was his

grand-nephew, Bernd Pischetsrieder, who

was responsible for continuing the legend.

As CEO of BMW, who at this time owned

the British make, he promoted the retro-

styled, much larger New Mini and included

John Cooper’s son in developing optional

engine versions.

The “Big Mini” is the envy of many carmak-

ers because of its popularity. Performance,

great handling, and modern safety features

make it a desirable car for dedicated driv-


The Mini went on to become one of the best

selling cars in Europe, Canada, and other

As Alec Issigonis once said, “It is much eas-

countries, and it was produced until 1990.

ier to drive without having an accident”.

After the success of the Mini, Alec Issigonis

developed a larger version, the Austin /

Morris 1100. It had a more refined suspen-

sion, being hydraulic, but still very simple in

principle. An Austin 1800 followed later, a

car I truly enjoyed driving. It had the same

engine as the famous MG sportscar.

Left, top to bottom: Mini proto-type; Copy of original

concept sketch; Minis at Issigonis centenary rally;

Centre: Sir Alec at British Leyland.

Right, top to bottom: Cut-away of early Mini; Mini and

New Mini at outdoor car show; New Mini convertible.

Photos from BMC, Mini Club NA & BMW /Mini.

Fighting words from the Mustang Maverick’s Mouth

Lee Iacocca is livid: Had Enough? Am I the

Iacocca has never been one to hold back; In

only guy in this country who’s fed up with

May of 2007 Simon & Schuster published

what’s happening? Where the hel is our

Lee Iacocca’s latest book,” Where Have Al

outrage? We should be screaming bloody

the Leaders Gone?” That angry quote

murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos

above is from this book; — here is more …

steering our ship of state right over a cliff,

we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us

He is not shy to stir thing up in politics, but

blind, and we can’t even clean up after a

when it comes to the auto industry, he is

hurricane [Catrina] much less build a hybrid

quite mellow: When I sent him a parody po-

car. But instead of getting mad, everyone

em about his life’s work for approval some

sits around and nods their heads when the

years ago, he asked me not to publish it;

politicians say, “Stay the course.” Stay the

“Don’t want to stir up trouble again”. — He

course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is

sure did that now with his book!

America, not the damned Titanic. I’l give

you a sound bite: Throw the bums out! You

[Perhaps, that doggerel will make it onto

might think I’m getting senile, that I’ve gone

one of the next books…]

off my rocker, and maybe I have. But some-

one has to speak up. I hardly recognize this

Iacocca had started at Ford as an engineer,

country anymore. The President of the Unit-

later he changed to sales. He had also tak-

ed States is given a free pass to ignore the

en a semester each in psychology, in poli-

Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to

tics and in plastics (industrial chemistry).

war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to

After spurring many innovations, he was

record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for

moved to product development. His Mus-

the wealthy (thanks, but I don’t need it). The

tang started the “pony-car and horsepower

most famous business leaders are not the

war” and advanced him to president of Ford

innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While

in 1964 at age 40, until …

we’re fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is

burning and nobody seems to know what to

I forgot what it was – perhaps the heresy of

do. And the press is waving pom-poms in-

front wheel drive?- that got this Maverick

stead of asking hard questions. That’s not

fired by Henry Ford II after fourteen years

the promise of America my parents and

as president, in a year with two billion dol-

yours traveled across the ocean for.”

lars profit in 1978; I read his biography too

many years ago to remember the reason.

Chrysler was at the brink of bankruptcy at

that time. The oil crisis of 1973 had passed,

but Chrysler was still producing large, fuel-

thirsty cars. Chrysler knew that Iacocca

would be the right leader at this time, and

he took the top job for one dollar ($1.00) –

for the whole year; he had made his first

million by age 25.

Iacocca obviously remembered that some

great American cars did have front wheel

drive a long time ago - the famous Cord and


Lee Iacocca with 1964 Mustang, from Mustang Monthly

He had already proposed small, front-

Iacocca Foundation for research into diabe-

wheel-drive cars at Ford, and now at Chrys-

tes, the disease to which his wife Mary suc-

ler, he was able to quickly develop the Omni

cumbed after a lifelong struggle.

and Horizon. To mass-produce these, would

take a lot of money, which Chrysler did not

Giving free reign to his frustration with the

have. Iacocca was able to convince the U.S.

auto industry’s present situation and the

Congress to guaranty the necessary 1.5

Presidential situation in the USA, Iacocca

billion dollar loan.

added a website in December 2007. Its

soaring health care cost is cited as just one

The FWD K-cars became an instant suc-

reason why the United States of America

cess, selling more than 300,000 in their fist

lags behind the rest of the world in develop-

year. Next, Chrysler led the world with the

ing alternative energy sources and vehicles

‘Mini-van’, and they still do so in 2008. “If

for sustainable transportation.

you can find a better car, buy it", Iacocca

told customers in his TV commercials.

As Lee Iacocca has proven throughout all of

his life, leadership takes what he calls the

Chrysler re-paid the bank loan seven years

Nine Cs: curiosity, creativity, communica-earlier than required. “We at Chrysler bor-

tion, character, courage, conviction, charis-

row money the old fashion way. We pay it

ma, competence, and common sense.

back, ” Iacocca boasted.

No matter how advanced Chrysler’s styling,

In 1987 Chrysler bought the profitable Jeep

from ‘Airstream’ before World War II to ‘cab-

division together with the ailing American

forward’ of late, no matter how ‘state of the

Motors Corporation. When the Grand Cher-

art’ the technology, something did not

okee was introduced in 1992, Iacocca re-

“click”. The rest is recent history, stil all too

tired, and many Americans urged him to run


for President. He was also offered a seat in

the U.S. Senate, but declined.

Third time lucky? Let us hope so.

In his own words, Lee flunked retirement

Imagine what could have been possible dur-

and in 1999 became head of EV Global Mo-

ing an Iacocca Presidency in the USA.

tors Co. Most of his time is now taken by the

In Detroit they called him Maximum Bob, in Europe Mr. Horsepower

Bob Lutz is in the news frequently. They call

At one time, long ago, GM had a market

him the ‘car czar’ of General Motors. His

share of more than 60% in North America;

official title is Vice Chairman, global product

in 2007, that chunk of car and light truck

development. He is one of the few, perhaps sales had plummeted to less than 25%. The

the only, executive with experience in Eu-

so-called Imports have taken sales away

rope and America with General Motors,

from the ‘big guys’ because they “built a bet-

Ford and Chrysler.

ter mousetrap”.

Lutz is not a designer, nor an engineer, but

It has taken decades for the powers that be,

he has an uncanny sense of style and fea-

of the world’s once largest automaker, to

tures customers want in “next year’s” car.

realize that “you can’t change what you

don’t acknowledge”. (Dr. Phil) The ’General’

After earning a degree in production man-

had killed the electric car, dismissed hybrids

agement, Lutz worked at General Motors in

as a fad, ignored Diesel engines and other

Europe for 9 years, working his way up

technologies, eliminated the Oldsmobile

through the ranks during the 1960s. He

brand but continued to push ‘have-been’

added an MBA to his credentials, and

cars onto the market with ever increasing

worked for three years at BMW, where he


was involved in creating the 3-series.

Gas-guzzlers are going the way of the Dodo

Expanding his experience and versatility, he

bird. Pundits persist that General Motors’

changed to Ford in 1974, where he ad-

breakdown was due to marketing having

vanced to Chairman of Ford Europe in the

priority over product. Lackluster design,

early 1980s. In 1986 he went to work at

shoddy workmanship, and antiquated tech-

Chrysler, first in product development, again

nology took their toll on sales numbers.

ending up as president, CEO and then Vice


It takes uncommon design and clever tech-

nology to get away from decades-old types

of automobiles, and it takes a different way

of doing business in the changing market of

the ‘global vil age’.

Bob Lutz, the most all-round experienced car guy and executive with a lifetime of experience on two continents, was available.

He had explored new directions with Chrys-

ler’s cab-forward designs. He had brought

to market ‘halo cars’, the Dodge Viper exotic

sportscar and the modernized hotrod Plym-

outh Prowler, and he had a successful retro

car in the PT Cruiser. And he has an eye for

good design and he knows a thing or two

When Daimler and Chrysler joined in 1998, Lutz “retired”, to

about production management; the right

become CEO of Exide Batteries. He also “flunked retire-

person at a critical time to initiate a turn-

ment” again when General Motors persuaded him to join


their ranks in 2001, to change the way they develop new

vehicles. He joined GM again in 2011 as an advisor.

After Lutz joined General Motors, investors

public becomes familiar with new technolo-

in the stock market responded by increasing


General Motors’s share prices; autoworkers

reacted by sensing that quality products, not

And now everyone is expecting the amazing

marketing, now had priority.

new plug-in hybrid, his latest project, the

Chevy Volt, just waiting for the right Lithium-

One analyst explained it this way: “Under

Ion battery.

the old regime designers, engineers and

product development people were relegated

to second-class citizens behind those sell-

ing the goods. The rational left-brained en-

gineers and planners would develop the

chassis, engine and transmission and mar-

keting would have its say. Only then would

the more creative right-brained designers be

called in to fit a skin on the outside - so late

in the process that the result was usually a

mediocre car that turned customers away”.

“But recently, the right brain has been in

from the start, thanks to Bob Lutz, and the

results are beginning to show”.

As we know, it takes up to seven years to

develop a new model, so it is just recently

Introducing the built-in-Canada cross-over Equinox fuel-cell

that results of “the Lutz effect” are hitting the


roads. Crossovers like the Saturn Aura, the

redesigned Chevy Malibu, sportscars like

Keep charging ahead, Bob Lutz!

the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice are get-

ting great reviews and start to catch on with

About one year later - another slightly


edited article about Bob Lutz:

Since Bob Lutz has been at General Mo-

Born in Switzerland, he is the only top ex-

tors, he exported the Holden Monaro to the

ecutive who worked in that capacity (in al-

United States as the Pontiac GTO. Concept

phabetical order) at BMW, Chrysler, Ford

cars such as the Cadillac Sixteen or the

and General Motors, in Europe and in North

Holden Efijy (previous article) show-cars are

America. At Chrysler he was the driving

said to be his initiatives.

force behind the V10 Dodge Viper. At the

age when most people retire, he was per-

“The old way at GM was to have meetings

suaded to become CEO of Exide Technolo-

with written reports, graphs and spread-

gies, the battery maker. After he “retired”

sheets, and then the bean counters and

from that position, General Motors coaxed

marketing types would do their studies.

him into revamping its model line-up as vice

Analysis creates paralysis; now, if it looks

chairman of global product development.

right, we do it", Lutz said.

You may know by now that we are talking

It looks right to have customers test-drive

about Robert A Lutz, “Maximum Bob” as he

the first 100 fuel cell Equinox SUVs; they

is known in Detroit these days. He has

are tested under actual conditions and the

started to influence the new cars coming

from ‘The General’. The beautiful Pontiac

Solstice and Saturn Sky sportscars were

He said: "Well, whether we need it or not, I

some of the early models designed and

think it's reasonable that when the federal

produced under his leadership. The amaz-

government steps in with taxpayer money,

ing, one-thousand horse-power V16 Cadil-

they're not going to -- they're not going to

lac, that could have topped Rolls Royce,

lend us the money and just say, 'Do the

has become a victim of the times. The world

best you can with it and tell us when you

now awaits the Volt, the extended-range

need more’ ”.

electric car that everybody knows before

anybody has seen it.

“This is now what I’m more excited about

than I was about the Dodge Viper,” Mr. Lutz

said in early 2008. “I think this can bring

about the revolution and really make us in-

dependent of foreign oil and solve all the

other problems.”

The one problem Bob Lutz did not consider

is the financial and credit meltdown [in

2008]. We hear every hour on the hour how

Bob Lutz and General Motors CEO & Chairman Rick Wag-

deep we are in trouble, and how much

oner showing the Volt at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit

money the auto industry needs to convert

for the time “After Oil”.

Bob Lutz has never been shy to tell his su-

periors “You are wrong!” The reporter want-

Bob Lutz, the wise old man of the auto in-

ed to know an example; “GM president Cole

dustry, the “Car Czar”, as they now refer to

was annoyed that we used a 1.9Litre engine

him, might soon have a “name-sake”, a po-

in the (German) Opel GT in 1965. “ That car

litically appointed car-czar. (can’t they come

needs a ‘Vette engine.” “But here we are

up with their own description?) Does the

taxed on engine capacity”. Cole’s reply:

government really think it can tell Detroit

“How long have you been in this industry?

how to build cars? When his ‘house of

Perhaps you should listen to people who

cards’ started to collapse, people began

have 30 years of experience.” —The Opel

loosing their houses; when greed tripled pe-

GT was a big success in North America

troleum prices, people curtailed driving —

even with that small an engine.

and now Detroit gets the blame.

We hope that ‘Maximum Bob’ Lutz can give The two ‘car czars’ are now counted on to

the world more cars we can afford and en-

‘deliver us from evil’; “Maximum Bob” Lutz,

joy to drive.

as Vice Chairman, is staking General Mo-

tors’ future on the Volt and other alternative

and flex-fuel vehicles.


A reporter asked him why he did not take

that’s why I have to go to work every day,”

the day off on his 77th birthday; “I was able

he answered. More questions: “Tell me,

to drive a few proto-types on our test track,

what really prompts you at your age to go to

that’s even better than having a party; I also

work each and every day?” “The knowledge

have an expensive hobby, — flying, —

that my work is changing this company for

the better. I’m not a designer nor an engi-

your carrier?” “I think I’m the only person to

neer, but I can influence the way our people

have won several “Car of the Year” awards

do their job. I even love to talk to journalists;

in Europe and in the USA; and a “Truck of

I must admit I have a little bit of a teacher in

the Year” as well as “Motorcycle of the

me, but hopefully nothing of a politician.”

Year”. (The Ford ‘Cargo’, the BMW ‘R90S’

“How long do you plan to continue work-

motorbike and cars from General Motors,

ing?” “I plan to stay until my work shows

Ford and Chrysler were developed and pro-

itself in GM’s products, and that includes the

duced under Lutz’s leadership.)

Volt.” “What were some of the highlights in

Bob Lutz introducing the Volt concept at an auto show …..

…. the production version always turns out a little different ….

Canadians’ contribution to automotive progress

Canadians are no longer ‘hewers of wood

In August of 2008, Geoffrey Ballard passed and drawers of water’, Statistics Canada

away, after proving to the world in Vancou-

assured us in the Economic Observer of

ver that zero-pollution transportation is with-

October 2007 — that we have progressed

in our grasp. For his accomplishments he

to ‘conveyors of crude and moilers of met-

was honoured with the “Order of Canada”;

als’, according to Magic Statistics. With

He is considered the ‘Father of the Fuel Cell

great foresight Canadian writer William

Industry’. Ballard was of the opinion that

Robertson Davies noted many years ago

governments would have to adopt fuel cell

that “I accept no responsibility for statistics,

technology and establish vehicle test fleets

which are a form of magic beyond my com-

before they could be mass-produced; he


also was ahead of the times.

Officialdom is always slow to credit ingen-

ious Canadians with the praise and recognition they deserve. The disregard for excel-

lence already started in 1902. It must be

true what they say about us: Canadians do

not seek the limelight.

Almost unknown and forgotten is the first

automotive ‘design engineer’, Wilbur Orton

Orville Thomas. He incorporated several

patented features into an auto-buggy as-

sembled by a Bobcaygeon wagon-smith,

who named it WOOT after the inventor’s

initials. Only four were assembled over a

three year period; one still exists in good

condition. Historians still argue the fact that

the WOOT was the first Canadian auto-

mobile. Perhaps, this horse-less carriage

was ahead of its time, overwhelmed by the

mass-produced McLaughlin carriages from

another great Canadian.

Countless other forgotten automotive pio-

neers of that time could fill several history

books; unbelievably, facts and details of a

time so relatively recent are remarkably

Photo: Ballard Power Systems

hard to gather.

At present, several other Canadians are

In living memory are a good number of Ca-

proving to the world that talent does grow

nadians inventors and creators who have

well in a colder climate. We have no auto

made their mark on the automotive industry:

companies of our own, but our people can

John Gower-Rempel dreamed of and creat-

stil be leaders in the car industry: Aurora’s

ed the first all-terrain vehicle (ATV) which Frank Stronach and Magna International

also carried his initials, the JiGeR; The am-

might have been a better partner for Chrys-

phibious six-wheelers live on under the

ler than Cerberus turned out to be. Tom

ARGO name.

Lasorda, Windsor born, was at the top of

the beleaguered Detroit company while a

One new design school of about twenty,

part of Daimler, and he is still its CEO, but

world-wide, is Toronto’s Humber College,

he can do only so much with so little.

where industrial design students learn their

art and craft with the help of a Canadian-

Simon Lamarre, born near Montreal, is one developed hi-tech tool: AliasStudio 3D digi-of Canada’s best known creative stylists,

tal imaging software, used by most carmak-

and he is the chief designer of Volvo in

ers, takes any product from an idea to pro-

Sweden, responsible for the all-new C30.

duction-ready perfection. It was also used in

Bi-lingual, he now lives in Sweden, but he

producing blockbuster animated films such

can also converse with colleagues in Italian,

as ‘Cars’.

German and Spanish. Standing-in like other

heads of design, his guest-lectures inspire

The yearly Toronto auto show features a

industrial design students.

design competition, where one of Humber

College’s students, Matthew Finbow, won

Ralph Gilles, who also grew up in Montreal, third prize among 61 students from 18 deis Chrysler’s and Jeep’s vice president of

sign schools in 11 countries.

design while still in his 30s. He led the team

that developed the Chrysler 300 /Dodge

Even before entering college, Ben Gulak of Charger.

Milton has developed a distinctive self-

balancing electric uni-motorcycle, the Uno,

When designers reach this level in their ca-and has formed a company after receiving a

reer they feel compelled to pass on their

$1.25 million investment. Very wise to con-

knowledge and experience to students in

tinue his education, Ben accepted a schol-

this field by instructing and encouraging

arship from the famous MIT engineering

students to push the boundaries of design


while still at school to make their mark —

before getting into the rut of daily life in the

But not only in design and engineering does


Canada supply the world with top talent, but

also in management: Sergio Marchionne is

Many of these young stylists are now doing

the CEO of the Fiat Group, while Karl

just that during internships at carmakers’

Schlicht heads Lexus of Europe.

design studios, and we will get to know their

talents and creations in time.

With so much Canadian talent —just

scratching the surface here— the auto in-

One up-and-coming designer at Ford in De-

dustry is in good hands.

troit got her early training in an all-girls auto-

shop class in Napanee, Ontario.

Note: You will find separate articles on Sam McLaughlin,

Sergio Marchionne and Frank Stronach in this or one of

the subsequent books.

Ralf Gilles & Dodge Ram

Simon Lamarre & Volvo

A tribute to women who drive fast and safely

Women Drivers!” uneducated male chau-

her. This sensational happening was tele-

vinists used to utter long ago with a dis-

graphed from one town to the next: a wom-

missive gesture, when they saw a lady driv-

an arrived in a carriage without a horse —

er commit -what they perceived as- a driving

comparable to a UFO landing today.

error. Little did they know that, had it not

been for a woman driver, they might not be

Karl Benz had coaxed his crude contraption

operating the kind of vehicles we all know.

around a few blocks in Mannheim on trial

drives since the previous year and demon-

Early one August morning in 1888 Bertha

strated it to folks interested in horse-less

Benz cranked-up her husband’s new inven-

transportation, but before Bertha’s trip, no-

tion –a carriage with an engine- and rum-

one had purchased what is now considered

bled off. When Karl Benz awoke, he found a

the first practical automobile.

letter telling him that she and their two boys

were on their way to visit her mother in

After a short stay, Bertha returned to Man-

Pforzheim —97 km away! She obviously

heim by a different route to avoid mountain-

had helped Karl built the auto-buggy; she

ous terrain. She insisted that Karl install an

knew how every part functioned, and she

additional gear for easier hill climbing. Soon,

repaired it successfully after one brake-

people started to buy horse-less carriages:

down during the voyage.

the birth of the automobile industry.

When the new Austrian importer later

placed a large order for a newer model, he

wanted it named after his daughter. Since

that time, the girl’s name - Mercedes- has

graced Benz’ cars.

The carriageways Bertha traveled, have

been improved over time to carry today’s

traffic. Tourists visiting Germany’s Black

Forest region, near Heidelberg, can now

follow the signage of the Bertha Benz Me-

morial Route and relive part of history: 120

years after the fact Bertha Benz was hon-

oured for daring to make this first-ever auto


One famous woman driver, Clara Ford, re-

ceived an electric car as a birthday gift in

1908, when Henry was producing auto-

buggies with an internal combustion engine;

— many women drivers are again looking

When Bertha arrived at her mother’s home,

forward to driving ‘green’ electric or hybrid-

reporters from the local papers besieged

electric cars in the future.

Lynn St. James (seven time Indy-500 driver

in 1970s) and Sarah Fisher made history in

2000 –Lynn interrupting her retirement-

when they became the first two women to

line up together at the ‘Brick Yard’.

Danica Patrick is the fourth woman to com-

pete in the Indianapolis 500, following Janet

Guthrie, Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher,

who switched to NASCAR. Leading the

2005 Indy 500 with four laps to go, Danica

was forced to slow in order to conserve fuel

and finish at all. In April 2008 Danica be-

came the first female winner in Indy-Car his-

tory, taking the chequered flag at the Indy-


Joining Patrick and Fisher in 2008, Milka

Duno of Venezuela became the fifth woman

to compete in the Indy 500.

Clara Ford - above portraits from archival photographs

Alfred Neubauer, Mercedes’ famous racing-

team manager, praised the exploits of an-

other ‘woman driver’ this way: “This the

world has never seen before. This coura-

geous lady, Elisabeth Juneck, overtook all

men at the 1928 Targa Florio long distance

race: Alberto Divo, Giuseppe Campari, Ta-

zio Nuvolari and some other reputed driv-

ers.” She passed the great Nuvolari!! He

Factory drivers Vanina Ickx (Audi) and Susie Stoddart (Mer-


raced the AutoUnion Silver Arrows, and Au-

di named a sportscar concept ‘Nuvolari’; but

Katherine Legge, Vanina Ickx (Audi) and

who remembers Juneck?

Susie Stoddart (Mercedes) are regular fac-

tory drivers in the current DTM, the Europe-

Shirley Muldowney, the ‘ First Lady of Drag

an equivalent of NASCAR. The first two,

Racing’ was the first female to drive a top

and others, have even competed in the gru-

fuel dragster. She won the NHRA Top Fuel

elling 24-Hours-of-Le-Mans; some “women

dragster championship in 1977, 1980 and

drivers”! Thousands of female drivers have

1982. In 2004, she was inducted into the

raced everywhere in all types of cars over

International Motorsports Hall of Fame. In

the decades; fourteen participated in NAS-

2008, ESPN ranked her 21st on their list of

CAR events, eight have raced in the Indy

top drivers of all-time, for winning major rac-

500, and four made it into Formula 1.

ing championships.

World famous celebrities in society and

males, well-known and unknown, have driv-

sport, or everyday heroes driving military or

en millions of miles without serious driving

civilian vehicles, women skilfully and safely

errors, navigation minivans across town or

operate vehicles from motorbikes and micro

eighteen-wheelers across the continent.

cars to ‘big rigs’.

A colleague from California informed me

that “We have a female graduate from our

school with perfect attendance and a 4.0

gpa land a tech job with Ferrari/Lamborghini

of Beverly Hills. She will be going to Italy for

training. So let the students know they can

set their own limits.”

Lisa McCulloch is an experienced, safety-

award winning school bus driver. She put a

promising career in education into low gear

And this just in from the 2011 24 Hours of

to raise a family. ‘Driving up’ the family in-

Le Mans: First female race engineer to win come she now finishes hundreds of ‘timed

the 24 Hours at Le Mans

runs’ each year. She does not stop driving -

as they do in oval-racing- when the weather

turns bad. On the road she eludes aggres-

sive male drivers and some who do not re-

spect a STOP sign. Like thousands of other

bus drivers, she takes monthly safety- and

first aid workshops to ensure the well-being

For our female newspaper readers — the

of children on their way to school and back

managing editor assures me that many read

home. Undergoing regular tests to prove her

and comment on these articles — here are

superior driving skills to the authorities is on

a few automotive websites geared to wom-

every bus driver’s schedule. Manoeuvring

en and girls:

under the motto “If you can’t do it safely,

don’t do it”, she has completed countless


‘500 mile’ runs successfully; Way to go, Li-





If all “men drivers” would heed this advice,

young males would not have to pay the high


insurance premiums they have to shell out


at present. As every family knows, ‘women

drivers’ are the safer ones of the two types

of motorists plying our highways and by-

ways. Since Bertha’s time, countless fe-

A ‘quarter midget’, one of Sarah’s early racing cars;

apparently she started racing at the age of five

Sarah Fisher during practice for the 2007 Indy 500 race.

She has been racing since age 5 with various teams and in different series and now operates her own racing team.

Building bridges between East and West

Henry Ford, Edouard and André Michelin,

As Premier, Mr. Wulff is on Volkswagen’s

Rudolph Diesel, Soichiro Honda, Colin

board of directors. In 1945 the Province

Chapman, Enzo Ferrari, Geoffrey Ballard;

loaned re-construction money to the

most everyone recognizes the names and

bombed-out company in exchange for job-

knows of the contributions these individuals

creation, much like the governments of the

have made to the world of automobiles. But

USA, Canada and Ontario Province are do-

who knows about Wan Gang?

ing in 2009. Volkswagen continues a mutu-

ally beneficial relationship with Lower-

Wan Gang was interested in math and sci-

Saxony as its second largest stake-holder.

ence already as a young boy during basic

education in his hometown Shanghai. Born

Coincidence or not, Dr Wan took a job at

in 1952, he went to work on a farm in Jilin

the research department of Volkswagen’s

Province at age 17, earning money for six

Audi brand in 1991. He advanced Audi’s

years to get ready for University, which he

“Advantage through Technology” as pro-

began in 1975. He graduated in mechanical

gram manager of its Technology Develop-

engineering in 1979 and continued to earn a

ment Department. In 1996 he was promoted

masters degree in experimental mechanics

to manage the R&D division, where he insti-

and structural theories at Tongji University

tuted advanced design, construction and

in 1981. To earn living expenses he taught

production methods. This earned him one

mathematics and mechanics at that well-

world-wide and two European patents. Dr

known institute.

Wan is credited with the huge success the

new Audi A4 has become for the company.

Tongji was founded in 1907 as a medical

school by German Dr. Erich Paulun. Tech-

In the meantime Professor Wan continued

nical and other faculties were added over

to guest-lecture at Clausthal and at Tongji.

time, and the academic sectors of the two

countries enjoyed cultural and scientific co-

operation ever since –except for some diffi-

cult periods.

Wan went to Germany in 1985 as a visiting

scholar and PhD candidate at the Clausthal

U of Technology on a stipend, where he re-

ceived his ‘Dr. Ingenieur’ with high honors.

Being fluent in German and English, Dr.

Wan did research in advanced vehicle

drive-systems and computer applications for

five years, as well as teaching young PhD

candidates. His accomplishments and his

In 2000, Wan submitted a clean-energy

re-opening of friendship between the two

proposal to his State Council to leapfrog the





development of China’s automobile indus-

Christian Wulff of Lower-Saxony to award

try. The Ministry of Science & Technology

Dr. Wan the Provincial Order of Merit.

persuaded Wan to return home, where he

became assistant president of Tongji in

In April of 2009 Minister Wan and Stockwell

2002 and President two years later. Official-

Day, Canada’s Minister for International

dom also added the role of Chief R&D Sci-

Trade, agreed on a six–point initiative in en-

entist for the national electric vehicle project

ergy, science and technology. This is the

plus China’s Fuel Cell Auto Project to his

first round of Canada-China projects, an-workload. Not enough, Dr. Wan is also a

nounced in May 2008, involving 20 projects

Council Member for the China-US Center

worth more than $11 million. "Scientific re-

for Sustainable Development. A mere bu-

search plays a critical role in our economy,"

reaucrat would have been overwhelmed by

said Day; "By funding these important re-

all that, but after more than a decade of

search projects, we are preparing both

working in the fast-paced car industry that

Canada and China for tomorrow. These pro-

experience serves him well. He uses his

jects encourage the important partnership

connections to the advantage of both coun-

between universities and industry, and close

tries: In 2004, a cooperative memorandum

the distance between the laboratory and the

was signed between Tongji University and

marketplace," Stockwell Day added.

Volkswagen to integrate fuel cell, battery

and control systems for the development of

With Wan Gang China now has the ad-

a hydrogen-fuelled vehicle for China based vantage of having a person at the highest

on Volkswagen’s Touran electric car.

level of decision making, who has experi-

ence in academic and industrial R&D,

Wan Gang’s supreme accomplishment was

honed and proven in the tough world of au-

to become China’s Minister of Science &

tomotive competition. It is possible that Chi-

Technology in April 2007.

na will be the first country to implement the

infrastructure investments on the road to

Connections with Volkswagen were rein-

zero pollution road transport.

forced in a 2008 visit to Wolfsburg, resulting

in the sponsorship of a hydrogen and fuel

While all of the first-mentioned pioneers

cell lab at Tongji U, to accelerate production

have passed on, a new generation of mov-

of zero emission vehicles at Volkswagen’s

ers and shakers is expanding the potential

China factories, which employ 26,000 hard

of automobiles.

working people, producing and selling one

million cars per year.

Perhaps we are learning that cooperation is

better than confrontation; that it is easier to

build the proverbial bridge instead of a dam.

A built-in-China Volkswagen, driven by Minister Wan Gang

A modern day automotive pioneer: a thinker, not a tinkerer

"I realized that energy was at the root of

Lovins had studied physics at Harvard and

many security, development and environ-

Oxford universities, but his interest in ener-

ment problems," said Amory Lovins.

gy usage and policy, combined with his

practical wisdom, compelled him to write

Doomsday prophet, socio-economic genius

about energy matters. In 1982 he founded

or automotive planner?

the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an en-

ergy ‘Think Tank’, and developed the idea

Presented in 1976, Lovins’ Foreign Affairs

of ‘HyperCars’.

essay, "Energy Strategy: The Road Not

Taken" focused national attention on him.

While other environmentalists still argue

Still in his 20s, he argued during the oil cri-

about political approaches, Lovins has pro-

ses of the 1970s for a "soft energy path" of

duced facts and figures and encouraged

improving fuel efficiency by making cars

decision makers in Detroit, Tokyo, Turin and

lighter and developing alternative fuels.

Wolfsburg, and politicians in Ottawa and

Washington and other capitals, to consider

Naturally, the steel industry did not agree

his assumptions and calculations.

with his point of view, and petroleum people

paid attention to finding more oil – what Lov-

And all of them have listened to what Amory

ins calls the "hard energy path."

Lovins had to say.

1992 General Motors ‘Ultralite’ experimental vehicle

— a HYPER –car?

One of his books, ‘Winning the Oil End-

first, double the fuel efficiency of motor ve-

game’, details how we can become inde-

hicles, mainly through ultra-light vehicles

pendent from oil, how we leave the petrole-

with advanced materials such as carbon

um age behind us within a few decades:

fiber that improve both safety and perfor-

mance. "We no longer have to choose be-

Friend and colleague Kyle Datta, RMI’s

tween making cars light and safe," he said.

managing director, describes Lovins, a pia-

The next phase is to replace gasoline with

nist and mountain photographer, as a "re-

alternative fuels such as ethanol and hydro-

naissance man" and a "genius buddha." "He


is really modest and humble and truly open

to new ideas," Datta says.

Lovins explains that the transition to a post-

petroleum future will generate jobs, create

Lovins’ achievements include: CEO of RMI;

new industries, reduce greenhouse gases

He received an Oxford MA, nine honorary

and improve national security. He estimates

doctorates, a MacArthur Fellowship, the

that for the United States it will require an

Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood ("Alter-

investment of $180 billion over ten years,

native Nobel"), World Technology, and

and the result will bring savings of $70 bil-

TIME Hero for the Planet awards, the Hap-

lion per year by 2025. "The United States

pold Medal, and the Nissan, Shingo, Mitch-

can get completely off oil and revitalize its

ell, and Onassis Prizes. His work focuses

economy led by business for profit," predicts

on transforming the hydrocarbon automo-


bile, real estate, electricity, water, semicon-

ductor, and several other sectors toward

The auto-industry has started to build and

advanced resource productivity. He has

test cars after Lovins motto and model.

briefed eighteen heads of state, held sever-

Companies are investing billions of Dollars,

al visiting academic chairs, authored or co-

Yen and Euros into new types of drive sys-

authored twenty-nine books and hundreds

tems and the alternative fuels to power

of papers, and consulted for scores of in-

them. Vehicles with hybrid-electric engines,

dustries and governments worldwide. The

clean diesel engines using bio-fuels and

Wall Street Journal named Mr. Lovins one

hydrogen are being tested on roads around

of thirty-nine people worldwide "most likely

the world. Governments have started to

to change the course of business in the

promote, coordinate, regulate and fund re-

'90s"; Newsweek has praised him as "one of

search and development in industry and

the Western world's most influential energy


thinkers"; and Car magazine ranked him the

22nd most powerful person in the global

automotive industry.

The design of a HyperCar includes improved aerodynamics,

light-weight construction and zero emission (electric) drive

How can one individual influence the world

more that could Henry Ford, Soichiro Honda

Volkswagen’s ‘One Liter’ experimental car of 1992 was Eu-

rope’s first HYPER

or Ferdinand Porsche?

-car; A much improve version will go into

limited production in 2012/13.

What kind of a person is Amory Lovins? He

Amory Lovins lives in a solar-powered

is a deep thinker, a long way ahead of our

house that is so energy efficient, he's able


to grow bananas in an indoor jungle high in

the Rocky Mountains. He drives a hybrid

“Investing in our students today wil ensure

electric vehicle, and he’l likely be one of the

the transformation of our energy future from

first to own a fuel-cell car; After all, he

one dependent on petroleum to one that

prompted the auto industry into the idea of

utilizes the most abundant element in the

the “Hypercar”, discussed here in a series of

universe — hydrogen”


[note: articles will follow]

“Any Hypercar's body is molded from ad-

Lovins calculates that North America could

vanced composites of carbon fiber; its light

stop importing oil by 2040 and run without

mass supersedes the need for a heavy en-

oil by 2050. Long before then, fuel-efficient

gine and can be efficiently propelled by an

cars and alternative fuels could become

electric motor combined with fuel cells. In

new growth industries for urban and rural

terms of safety, the materials and design of

Americans and Canadians.

the Hypercar can withstand crashes much

like the Indianapolis racecars, also made of

"We're in that period where one idea is dy-

carbon fiber: in case of a collision, the car's

ing and another is struggling to be born,"

shell shatters [crumple zone] to absorb the

affirms Amory Lovins.

force of the impact. By combining all these

features in a whole-system approach, these

revolutionary vehicles are multiple times

For serious observers of what is to come,

more fuel-efficient than comparable current

here are a few links to more information:




The gains in any vehicle designed to


Hypercar principles are based on a

blend of four considerations:


* low-drag design

* lightweight construction


* electric drive


* efficient accessories


an insider’s view of Lovins


‘Hypercar’ is not a new model, but an

39 interesting, but only in German language idea, a vision of the (almost) perfect ve-

hicle that comes in many different sizes,

“A Hypercar vehicle is designed to capture

shapes and materials; a vehicle that can

the synergies of: ultra-light construction;

be powered by different energy sources

low-drag design; hybrid-electric drive; and,

and which can be built anywhere by an-

efficient accessories to achieve 3 to 5–fold

yone with a minimum of instruction.

improvement in fuel economy, equal or bet-

ter performance, safety, amenity and af-

fordability, compared to today's vehicles.”

The Hypercar is viewed as the automo-

tive declaration of independence; inde-


pendence from imported oil, freedom

“Whole-system design means optimizing not

from greenhouse gas and other emis-

just parts, but the entire system — in this

sions, liberty to use modern materials

case the complete car, although for an extra

and power-plants and the autonomy to

challenge one could try to optimize the au-

produce suitable vehicles for sustaina-

tomotive industry and refueling infrastruc-

ble transportation at markets every-

ture at the same time, as the Hypercar.”



Leading the field at the Indy 500 in 2005 [and again in 2011]

“Hi boss”, she greeted David Letterman on

his TV show. She had almost won the INDY

and in 1964 applied to be an astronaut. Af-

500 in 2005. Yes, Danica Patrick, the 23-

ter leaving the aerospace industry, she went

year rookie was leading the pack with 10

racing full time in 1972. “Racing is so often

laps to go, when her pit crew radioed her to

perceived as a simple-minded activity, and I

slow down to conserve fuel. Better to finish

really wanted to convey the passion and

in the top ten, than to not finish at all. Dan-

complexity of the sport in a way that I didn’t

ica finished in fourth place.

think had been done before,” says Guthrie.

By explaining rules, cars, politics and per-

sonalities, she does this well in her book

Janet Guthrie: A Life at Ful Throttle’

Lyn St. James, seven-time Indy 500 driver,

after Janet Guthri, stated: "The advance-

ment and promotion of women in the motor-

sports industry is critical, not just as compet-

itors - and top-level performers - but as en-

gineers, team managers, owners and in

other leadership positions. To reach this

goal, there must be more support, more en-

couragement, more research, more devel-

opment, and more awareness.”

Countless women, of course, have enjoyed

success in different forms of motorsport.

One well-known local businesswoman

raced at Mosport near Bowmanville. But we,

the public, only remember those at the pin-

nacle. Can YOU remember even five Indy

winners from the last ten years?

Janet Guthrie was the first woman to race in

the Indy 500. She graduated from the Uni-

versity of Michigan with a degree in physics,

could have been a rocket scientist but

Sarah Fisher lately brought increased atten-

chose to go racing instead. She worked for

tion to women at the top of car racing. She

Republic Aviation as an R&D engineer,

has the talent to control a car at 350-plus

km/h. What Sarah did not have was spon-

“She has the potential to be a big star in

sorship or the equipment. Forgotten was a

motor racing,” Rahal said. “I wouldn’t be

second-place finish at Miami in 2001, a pole

spending this amount of time and money if I

position at Kentucky in 2002 or the fact she

didn’t think she could make it big. She has

started the Indy 500 in 1999 as a 19-year-

the drive and determination to be competi-

old. Eventually, it was enough to drive her

tive in the highest levels in the future.”

out of open-wheel racing and the IRL. For-

tunately, NASCAR Nextel Cup owner Rich-

ard Childress remembered this and offered

Fisher a ride in a stock car. She loves to

race and we like to see her race, with or

without fenders.

Now the world marvels at Danica Patrick.

She started showing her talent when racing

go-karts at age 12. After dominating that

class and winning three national titles, she

moved to England from Illinois at the age of

16 and spent several years developing her

road racing skills, moving up through more

demanding classes of cars. Her results

caught the attention of former Indianapolis

500 winner Bobby, who co-owns Rahal-

Letterman Racing together with David.

Back in America, Rahal contracted her to

drive for his team in the Toyota Atlantic Se-

ries in 2003. But Rahal wanted more oppor-

tunities for his young protégé and had been

working behind the scenes. Danica was

able to also race a Porsche in the GT class,

Declared Danica Patrick: “Since I first start-

and a Ferrari 550 Maranello in the GTS

ed racing my dream has been to run the

class in the 2003 American Le Mans Series.

Indianapolis 500. When I signed with Rahal-

Letterman Racing in 2002 he told me to be

“I feel that it’s important for a driver to drive

patient, because this was a lengthy process,

in different types of racing,” said Rahal, who

designed to advance me to the highest lev-

won Indy in 1986 and was CART champion

els of racing. Today all those years of hard

in 1986, 1987 and 1992. He also enjoyed

work, moving to England at 16, all the sacri-

success in sports car racing, winning the 12

fices have paid off, because now I am com-

Hours of Sebring in 1987.

fortable racing in the IRL Indy car series.”

“At the start of this season I told Danica I

didn't care where she finished as long as

she finished races,” says Bobby Rahal. “It

has been a long journey for her to get to this

point, but in many ways the journey is just

beginning. I am very proud of what she has

accomplished, but I know the best is yet to


It’s all in the family — or, like father, like daughter

"Global Leader of Tomorrow" is a tribute

corporate culture. The profit and equity

one young Canadian woman received from

sharing principle is Magna’s formula for

the World Economic Forum. The National

success. Employees receive part of the

Post named her the most powerful busi-

profits in cash, while another portion is used

nesswoman in Canada in 2001; Fortune

to buy Magna stock on their behalf, making

Magazine listed her as the second most

them shareholders.

powerful business woman in the world. In

2004 Time Magazine ranked her as one of

Various divisions design, develop, and pro-

the world's 100 most influential people.

duce just about everything anyone might

need to assemble a car, minivan, or truck.

Of course, it began small. Her father started

This includes some 5000 different parts,

an auto parts business in 1957 in a rented

from seats, instrument and door panels,

gatehouse with old machines. Being an im-

closures, and sound insulation to engine,

migrant new-Canadian tool and die maker,

cooling, powertrain, and fuel components.

he worked hard and long hours. By the end

of his first year in business, he had hired ten

Magna-Steyr in Austria, the largest division,

employees. Success followed success over

builds complete cars for five different

the years; Frank merged several other

makes, 226,000 in 2004, and it produces all

companies and in 1973 called the conglom-

diesel engines for one company.

erate Magna International.

Another division makes the safety cell for

the ‘smart’ city car of DaimlerChrysler.

Recently, the Technical University Graz in

Austria, his native country, agreed with the

head of Magna on a unique collaboration, to

set up the “Frank Stronach Institute” (does

that name sound familiar now?) at the facul-

ty of Mechanical Engineering and Econom-

ics. Magna will finance three chairs: Auto-

motive Safety, Conversion Technology /

Tools and Production, Science and Man-


Still guessing on the family name?

Realizing that his people powered his pro-

gress, he introduced his management phi-

losophy, known as Fair Enterprise, to

Magna. It is based on a Corporate Constitu-

tion which predetermines the annual per-

centage of profits shared between employ-

ees, management and investors, and

makes every employee a shareholder in the


This Fair Enterprise business philosophy

provides the foundation of Magna’s unique

Photos by Globe & Mail

Frank Stronach has served on numerous

her father at Magna. She has chaired the





boards of several firms in the auto parts

boards and has provided assistance to a

sector. She was a member of the board of

wide range of charitable and community

directors of Magna from 1988 until 2004. As

service organizations. He is the recipient of

CEO, she increased Magna’s income by

several honorary Doctorates, of Philosophy,

18%, while other large firms struggled lately

Law and Commerce. In 1996, he was in-

and dwindled. She was a founding member

ducted into the Canadian Business Hall of

of the Canadian Automotive Partnership

Fame. He won the 1997 "Business Leader

Council and served on the Ontario Task

of the Year Award" from the Richard Ivey

Force on Productivity, Competitiveness and

School of Business and the 1998 "Entre-

Economic Progress. She is a director of the

preneur of the Year Award" from the Uni-

Yves Landry Foundation, which furthers

versity of Michigan. In 1999 he was named

technological education and skills training in

a recipient of the Order of Canada and in

the manufacturing sector.

2000 he won the Ernst & Young "Entrepre-

neur of the Year Lifetime Achievement

Until entering politics, last year, she was the

Award." In 2002, the Canadian Council for

only woman CEO of a Global FORTUNE

International Business named Frank Stro-

500 company based outside the United

nach as the 2001 "Canadian International


Executive of the Year."

Today, the little long-ago 10 person shop

In 1988 Frank Stronach stood as a candi-

has grown to more than 59,000 people at

date for the federal Liberal party, but did not

166 manufacturing divisions and 32 product

win the election. Is it any surprise that his





daughter followed in his footsteps? It is she,

throughout North and South America, Eu-

Belinda Stronach, mentioned at the onset,

rope and Asia. Magna is a 20 Billion dollar

the newest Liberal Party member. Canada

automotive giant, and promotes Canada’s

could not be served by a better ‘boss’ than

expertise around the world. Its divisions de-

Belinda - but I must not stray into politics.

sign, develop and manufacture automotive

systems, assemblies, modules and compo-

Belinda studied business and economics at

nents. It also engineers and assembles

York University in Toronto and then joined

complete ‘niche vehicles’ for BMW, Chrys-

ler, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz.

The Tridon safety cell of the Daimler ‘smart’ micro-, or city-car, is produced by one the many divisions of Magna International

Does Ferrari have a direct line to a ‘higher authority’?

Pope John Paul II gave a private audience

was involved in organizing the (football

to the Ferrari Formula One team early in

/soccer) World Cup in 1990 and then on the

2005. He told the team: "Your presence of-

test-track at Fiorano where he had a ride in

fers me the opportunity to emphasize the

a Ferrari.

importance of sports in present-day society.

The Church considers sports activity, in

which the rules are totally respected, a valid

educational instrument, especially for young


Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo replied:

“The Holy Father is in pole position on the

highway of humanity," and presented the

Pope with a 1/5 scale-model of the Formula

One car the team used in 2004.

Following the assassination of President

Kennedy, bullet-proof vehicles were used to

transport heads of state – and church - soon


As we celebrated the Pope’s life recently,

[April 2005] we were reminded again that he

was shot while riding in an open car in St.

Peter's Square, on May 13, 1981. This hor-

rific incident required that security arrange-

ments for the Pope had to be increased for

his travels. Vehicles with bulletproof glass

Drivers, mechanics, and executives from

tops have been used in most of John Paul

Ferrari were greeted by the Pope. The As-

II’s international visits since that time.

sociated Press reports that he compliment-

ed Michael Schumacher and the entire

For his trip to Britain in 1982, the British

team: "My compliments to you for the victo-

Leyland Motor Corporation built and donat-

ry in the recent world championship.”

ed an armored vehicle, looking like a

streamlined Brinks truck with a sunroom.

The Pope used to ride in an open car, as

did Kings, Queens, Presidents and political

leaders around the world — in the good old

days. It could be a Cadillac or Lincoln, in

Europe it might be a Mercedes or Bentley.

Many of these motor vehicles and old car-

riages can be seen in the Vaticanś Muse-

um of Papal Carriages.

Montezemolo later explained to Associated

Press: "I had the honor of meeting His Holi-

ness on two occasions, first of all when I

White bulletproof vehicles became a sym-

this vehicle, a more comfortable, upscale

bolic image of all papal visits hereafter; a

SUV, a Mercedes-Benz M 430, coloured

sad reason, but very necessary precautions.

mother-of-pearl, which he received from

DaimlerChrysler. The vehicle was inaugu-

This truck was later donated to the British

rated in Toronto during World Youth Day.

Commercial Vehicle Museum, in Leyland,


The museum reported that it was inundated

with visitors flocking to see the Pope mobile

which John Paul II used to travel around the

UK before his death.

When Pope John Paul II visited Canada in

1984, another safety vehicle was needed to

protect the pontiff from a possible attempt

on his life when traveling on this continent.

By now, the bulletproof vehicles were

Photographs in this article are from Auto Motor & Sport

known as "Pope mobile."

Although he did not deem the term ‘Pope

The Canadian version is a GMC Sierra

mobile’ very dignified, the traveling Pope

pickup truck, donated by General Motors.

and his special white vehicles were wel-

Plastic shields and special steps were add-

come wherever they went.

ed to the truck bed. Red velvet interior from

Italy, air conditioning, AM-FM radio, a secu-

Addendum, April 2010, from the German

rity communication device and a swivel

magazine Auto Motor & Sport. It featured a

chair were installed. The bullet-proof

special section including a picture gallery of

"glass", made of Lexguard plastic, was do-

29 photos, showing details of various Pope

nated by GE Canada.

mobiles, and this report:

Two vehicles were modified and prepared at

In July 1930, a custom-made version of the

a plant in Pierreville, Quebec. The cost to

Nürburg 460 was handed over to Pope Pius

build two Pope mobiles was about $260,000

XI. It was the first popemobile from Mer-

at the time. The bill was paid by the Cana-

cedes-Benz, thereby establishing a long-

dian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

standing tradition of providing the Holy Fa-

ther with cars. Pius XI, the Roman supreme

The Pope was seemingly so impressed with

pontiff from 1922 until 1939, personally took

the vehicle that he took one back with him

delivery of the Nürburg in the Vatican. Being

to Italy. The other pickup was loaned to Cu-

one of just a few of its kind, this car has the

ba for the Pope's 1998 visit there. It is now

Pullman bodywork of the 770 Grand Mer-

part of the collection at the Canadian Na-

cedes, with adequate power being generat-

tional Museum of Science and Technology

ed by a 4.6-liter eight-cylinder engine.

in Ottawa.

From the rear seat, wishes concerning des-

With advancing age and the difficulties of

tination or speed can be relayed to the

arthritis limiting his progress, Pope John

chauffeur by means of a light signal system.

Paul II had to remain seated as he toured. A

The car was restored by Mercedes-Benz in

new Popemobile was built for the visit to

the early 1980s and handed back in 1984 to

Toronto, July 25 to 28. 2002.

the late Pope John Paul II who set out on a

trial run straightaway.

The Holy Father expressed appreciation for

Racing and living better — electrically

They are now racing to preserve precious

are the people who will design the vehicles

petroleum — with electric vehicles.

we will drive in the decades to come.

Ferdinand Porsche won his first race in an

[This following piece was written and pub-

electric car, before gasoline-burning cars

lished in September 2007, before any plans

became the norm. Just as Porsche put his

for these books came to pass. It later oc-

ideas on wheels, students from Ohio State curred to me that the words at the end of

University, and several others (see the ta-

the article would be a fitting title.]

ble), are building electric racecars, not to

win a mountain race, but a world speed rec-

The increase in gasoline price, the threat of

ord for EVs. After several years of trials and

dwindling petroleum reserves and better

failures, they gradually raised the speed of

awareness of environmental damage have

‘Buckeye Bullet’, and in the process set

sparked interest in a variety of electric vehi-

several American records. Finally, the elec-


tric racer was good enough to set several

Aren’t EVs powerless and slow? —

world records for EVs, with the top speed of


505 km/h, or 314 mph.

about golf carts.

Regular racing is ‘getting a charge’ in Japan

Electric motors can be designed and con-

witZero/Sports new electric sports-racing structed for any intended purpose, just like

‘infernal consumption’

car – which truly makes it racing to pre-

a.k.a. internal com-

serve precious petroleum. The company

bustion engines (ICE). A slow running farm

is producing vehicles for the Zero EV For-

tractor has enormous pulling power, but no

mula, based on modified Subaru cars. The-

speed, while a racing engine would stall if it

had to pul a little red wagon. ‘Designed

se production-based formula racing cars are


development tools for carmakers to find a

a-purpose’ also applies to ‘ motor’-vehicles

better way to drive the future.

of the electric kind — the only weak link is

the battery.

Other improvement classes exist and race

in many countries: Formula BMW, Formula

For this reason, engineering students –and

Ford, Formula Renault, Formula Vee (VW); industrial conglomerates– are testing and

I surely missed several others.

experimenting with various types of electric

energy ‘accumulators’,

-as batteries were

Also in Japan, passenger EVs are getting a

called in the early years of the automobile.

Today’s leading edge battery types, like

‘work-out’ by students and Dr. Hiroshi

Shimizu of Tokyo’s Keio University. They

those used in hybrids, can be recharged

have worked on five generations of EVs

much faster and can give off their stored

over the years. Their project is being funded

energy quicker than the familiar, heavy lead

by the Japan Science and Technology Cor-

acid battery. Research, development, and


experimentation continue, and exotic mate-

rial combinations hold great promise for the

near future of suitable batteries or capaci-


Remember, engineering students are put-

ting into practice the theory they learned,

when they are building a racing car. They

Zero/Sports electric racecar

"When you're dealing with technology

precious petroleum with a battery with

thought by most to be slow, heavy and lack-

more power density and a longer life span;

ing range, you must do better than any su-

the Volt should reach production in 2010.

percar," the professor said. The inspiration

is Japanese, the design and construction

The success of these new batteries is being

was done by the Idea Institute in Italy; the

demonstrated on quarter-mile drag strips by

creation became KAZ (Keio Advanced Zero-the White Zombie and KillaCycle.

emission vehicle).

But not only electric vehicles are racing on

This unusual, eight-wheel, 8-passenger lux-

the path to a zero-emission, economically

ury limousine has an 80 horsepower electric

sustainable mobility future. The Indy Racing

motor in each wheel. This allows even trac-

League has abandoned gasoline for organic

tion and offers an unbelievable – for a pas-

ethanol fuel; the three-continent Le Mans

senger car – top speed of 370km/h or 230

Series for sportscars is using a mixture of

mph. KAZ was tested by former Formula1

gasoline and ethanol, until all production

driver Ukyo Katayama.

engines are capable to digest ethanol. And,

of course, you know that the all-conquering

The second car, a twin-prototype, is named

Audi R10 TDI [and its successors] use syn-

Eliica, from Electric Lithium-Ion battery car.

thetic diesel fuel; SunFuel.

With newer batteries, is has a range of ei-

ther 200 km, or a top-speed of 400 km.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, charge your batter-

ies” might become the famous order before

My early interest in this car in 2003 resulted

an ‘Indy 500’ of the future. Electric cars

in the company sending a large information

could do that now, “batteries not included”;

package with video, booklet, negatives etc;

because today’s mass-market batteries do

this could become another article.

not yet have enough storage capacity.

General Motors’ ‘Volt’ concept car created

Universities, do-it-yourselfers, science labs,

such a stir during 2007, that the company

automakers, racing teams, hot-rodders,

contracted several suppliers to develop new

even oil companies – everyone is racing to

battery types. General Motors and A123

preserve precious petroleum – literally

Systems seam to lead the race to preserve

and figuratively.

Table from Popular Science

The first really BIG auto race – halfway around the World

“I like people who do something, not the

A much better contest promised to develop,

good safe man who stays at home”, de-

when the New York Times together with the

clared President Roosevelt to seventeen

French Le Matin challenged the young au-

men in six cars, before firing a starter pistol.

tomotive world to an even more demanding

test of fitness for 1908: Drive from New York It happened on February 12, 1908, in Times

to San Francisco, to Alaska, cross the fro-

Square in New York City. 250,000 people

zen Bering Strait to Siberia, carry on to

witnessed the start of perhaps the greatest

Moscow and Paris.

automotive contest ever, the trek from New

York to Paris, the long way around.

Talk about a challenge!

This kind of competition with cars started

Very few roads, as we know them, existed

when one automotive pioneer taunted an-

in North America or Europe. Cobblestones

other one with the likes of: ”My auto-buggy

were the latest development in and around

is better and faster than your horseless car-

large cities. The Alaska Highway was still


decades in the future, and even trails were

rare in the sparsely inhabited steppes of

They started to race each other from one

Siberia. Maps of that area were non-

community to another, from one county to

existent; in-car GPS not even a remote

the next, and, when automobiles became

dream. No run-flat tires, but hard rubber on

more reliable (will they ever?), from country

wooden wheels; air-suspension? – sus-

to country.

pended in the air if a car took a bump too


Newspapers of that time had a ‘field-day’,

reporting the chal engers’ positions in these

Take a moment to imagine the worst condi-

street races daily – usually a few days later,

tions you ever encountered, and then multi-

with reporters filing the stories by Morse tel-

ply that.

egraph. Automobiles made news, and news

sold papers.

For the grueling Great Race, France en-

tered three cars, and one each came from

In the year before, a French newspaper had

Italy and Germany. The American entry was

issued a challenge for a long distance

a Thomas, from the company that had been

match, stating, "What needs to be proved

building bicycles in Buffalo and Toronto dur-

today is that as long as a man has a car, he

ing the late 1800s.

can do anything and go anywhere. Is there

anyone who will undertake to travel this

summer from Peking to Paris by automo-

bile?" —— Did that race really take place?

Forty teams entered, but only five shipped

their cars (did they?) to Peking (now Bei-

jing); there were no rules and so much con-

troversy surrounds this event, that even the

distance is quoted as anywhere from 14,500

km to 19,400 km traveled.

The inaccuracy of information from “only”

one hundred years ago is astounding.

From ‘The Great Race’:

The one-hundred-year anniversary of that

The Europeans thought they could win this

“Great Race” wil be celebrated in less than one easily; they had raced each other for

eighteen months. [ published in September

years, while the Americans had only started

2006] Plans are being made for two clas-

building automobiles about a decade later.

ses: automobiles from 1969 or earlier will

vie for a prize of $500,000 for the winner,

But Europeans had no idea about ‘road

and the “Innovation Technology Division”

conditions’ and distances in North America,

winner will receive one million dollars. This

especially in February. Those conditions

division is for vehicles running on alternative

required a route change even as the race

fuels, such as bio-diesel, electricity, includ-

was underway; the cars bypassed Alaska

ing hybrid-electrics, fuel cell cars and per-

and were shipped to Japan, then to Vladi-

haps solar-powered ones. To demonstrate


the new, green automotive technology of

this new century, stops, demonstrations and

Two of the French automobiles had suc-

lectures are planned in 50 major cities

cumbed before crossing the US State of

across North America, Asia and Europe.

Iowa. When reaching Vladivostok, the third

The Greatest Auto Race will take about 80

one was sold to a Peking businessperson,

days and cover 35,000 km, crisscrossing

abandoning the competition.

three continents.

The German car had encountered mechani-

cal problems in Utah and was taken to Seat-

tle by train, resulting in a fifteen-day penalty.

Frequent repairs, treacherous driving condi-

tions, lack of fuel and other hazards caused

many hardships and slow progress.

Paris is still a long way from Moscow, espe-

cially so in 1908. The German Protos

reached the finish on July 30, after 169

days, four days ahead of the Thomas. With-

out penalty, the Thomas was declared the

winner. The Italian Zust arrived on Septem-

ber 17, six weeks behind the other two fin-

Majestic mountains and treacherous trails have to be con-

ishers, after a seven months ‘long distance

quered by antique and concept cars in the Greatest Auto


Race in 2008

Pictures: Wikipedia & VWAG

Do you remember the excitement at the

‘Great North American Race’ from Ottawa to

Mexico City in 1995? The first stop, orga-

nized by a local automotive group, took

place at the Quinte Mall. (Belleville) Now

visualize several hundred antique AND fu-

ture cars together.

(Yours truly was instrumental in organizing the

local ‘Pit Stop’ for the Great North American

Restored 1907 Thomas Flyer to enter the next Great Race


Herbie’s cousins win at Le Mans and around the world

Rumors persist and denials continue that

title five times in succession, and the Le

the Volkswagen Group is pondering partici-

Mans 24 Hours four times.

pation at the pinnacle of motorsports, For-

The difference between a ‘vee

mula 1. How could Ferdinand Porsche’s

-dub’ Beetle

‘Herbie’ ever hope to beat Michael Schu-

and The Audi R8 Le Mans winner could be

macher’s Ferrari? By clever industrial strat-

compared to the similarity between a hang

egy, that’s how.

glider and the space shuttle.

Just as Ford has taken over Aston Martin

The R8 is considered the most successful

and Jaguar, both with a long and illustrious

sports-racing car in history. Triumphant

racing heritage (Ford as well), so has

since first introduced in 1998, the R8 Audi

has dominated the ’24 hours of Le Mans’

Volkswagen acquired several companies

with more collective racing DNA and suc-

race, as well as the American Le Mans se-

cess than any other on this planet. With the

ries, which includes a medium-distance race

at the “little Nürburgring” near Oshawa,

pedigree of pre-war Auto Union of ‘Silver

Arrow’ fame, which now is Audi, and Bent-


ley, Bugatti and Lamborghini, and with

Actually, a Bentley has won Le Mans once,

strong connections to Porsche, who cares if

interrupting the R8’s streak, but that was a

the ‘Bentley Boys’ racing team would be v-

beautiful Bentley body on a modified Audi

dubbed the ‘Beetle Bots’.

R8 racer.

In the Australian "race of a thousand years”,

a six hour ‘enduro’ in Adelaide in 2000 one

of the Audis was painted to resemble a

crocodile. Whether it was fear of reptiles or Audi’s “Vorsprung durch Technik” may never be known, but after 225 laps the winning

Audi had lapped the second place car 21


When Audi sold their racecars two years

Herbie, from http://www.herbiemania.com/

ago, they announced the development of a

new car for the 2006 Twenty-four Hours of

Not quite at the Formula 1 level, but techni-

Le Mans. Since then the R8 has been raced

cally the closest, is the prototype sports-

by private team from France, the United

racing class, which competes in long dis-

States and Japan.

tance racing, and the American Le Mans

Series (ALMS), as well as the Asian and

Such is the superiority and reliability of the

European Le Mans series. In this class, the

Audi still now, that the governing Fédération

VW/Audi R8 has proven to be in a class of

Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has

its own. It remains unbeaten to date in the

handicapped the three existing cars more

12-hour race at Sebring, it won the ALMS

and more – but they still win races. After 60

wins, including a few 1st plus 2nd places,

some 1-2-3 ‘steamrollers’, the cars now

new technologies to mass production relia-

must carry 50 kg ballast, have a 10 liter


smaller tank than the others cars, requiring

more frequent pit stops, and must run the

With its fuel-saving Turbo FSI technology

the Audi R8 has been the ‘test mule’ for e

engine with an air restrictor that reduces


horse-power by about 70.

gines that are now available in models from

Audi and Volkswagen and their cousins at

Do you remember what the FIA does?

Spanish Seat and Czech Skoda.

This makes them about five seconds slower

This reporter does not know if, when or un-

per lap than the competition, but the R8 still

der which brand name the Volkswagen

wins on reliability, even after six years,

Group might enter Formula 1 racing. Inter-

though no longer by “Advantage through

estingly, VW is searching for race driver re-

Technology”, the Audi slogan.

cruits fifteen years and older. Successful

candidates will start their career with a fully

sponsored season in the ‘ Polo Cup’ series.

The Polo is a younger brother of the Golf,

about the size of a Toyota Echo mini car. At

less than 2000 pounds, with a 150 HP three

cylinder engine, this is an extremely com-

petitive class for aspiring Marios or Michaels

to gain experience and confidence.

When spending a day with the Audi team at

Mosport in 2005, I queried the team man-

ager about the R8’s winning ways. His an-

swer: “Attention to detail wins races”.

Audi R8 Croc

Reports keep surfacing that Audi’s new rac-

er will be a Diesel, the engine based on the

popular and successful VW Touareg SUV.

One private entry (who knows for sure?)

raced in last year’s “24 Hours” with a modi-

fied Touareg V10 Diesel until the transmis-

sion could cope no longer with the Diesel’s

enormous amount of torque.

Besides, Peugeot has announced their in-

tention to compete at Le Mans with a diesel

We may never know if it was ‘Crocodile Dundee’

engine in 2007.

or Steve Irvin, the Crocodile Man, who persuad-

Certainly, this type of activity costs a large

ed the usually stoic Germans to let loose and

amount of money, but it’s not expensive if

have fun with a serious racecar.

one considers the time savings of bringing

Win on Sunday, sell on Monday, but is something holding back?

Everything used to be so simple in the good

Production cars now use similar ‘aero-kits’

old days. Nowadays everything has to be

to enhance the looks. Knowledge added,

done by ‘the rules’, They used to say, “rules

gained in competition, means less fuel con-

are made to be broken”, but that rule is no

sumption and safer driving.

longer in effect.

The FIA (Federation Internationale de

L’Automobile) is the governing entity of mo-


Throttling technical progress is a major

problem in Formula One and other classes.

Every time a car manufacturer or a racing

team makes real technological progress, -

paradoxically - the FIA changes the rules.

Any progress transferable to production,

whether technologically, environmentally or

safety related, is THE prime motivator for

automotive companies to participate in any

competition. The money spent at tracks for

research and innovations has benefited mo-

torists since the days of the auto-buggy.

Can you imagine what would have hap-

pened, had the FIA outlawed items like


Body add-on parts by VIS for trucks or cars

 Rear-view mirrors

 Disk brakes

The ability to change a troublesome trans-

 Halogen headlights

mission in under four minutes in 2000 won

 Run-flat tires

the Audi team their first of four 24-hour rac-

 Crumple zones – and more?

es at Le Mans – banned by the FIA. Audi

These and many other safety and conven-

won three more times regardless, and their

ience items were tried, tested and improved

unfair advantage’ of direct fuel-injection

in racing, before becoming part, or options,

(FSI) today saves gasoline not only for

of every motor vehicle.

Volkswagen and Audi drivers, but for mil-

lions of others.

Many other inventions and innovations

which gave someone a “competitive ad-

[That is what racing to preserve precious

vantage” were almost immediately ruled out

petroleum is all about]

of existence in the name of “fair play” by the

FIA. To list all would require a book; here

Electronic driver aids in Formula One cars

are some examples:

of a few years ago — banned by the FIA.

Nevertheless, today’s electronic systems

Aerodynamic experiments on the Chaparal

save lives in family cars with ABS, Dynamic

in CanAm competition a generation ago

Ride Control, stability and traction control

permitted faster cornering and higher top-

systems, etc.

speed – banned by the FIA.

These and other developments could have

Brabham continued: “Efficiency and perfor-

benefited motorists much earlier, had they

mance go together. Racecars burn a lot of

not been banned by the FIA.

fuel, but they burn it efficiently. If you're en-

ergy-efficient you can go faster. If you burn

Enough is enough, said the competitors [a

less fuel you carry less weight, and that

few years ago].

gives you a performance advantage. At the

Le Mans 24-hour race it was very clear that

Nine of the 10 Formula One teams and five

one of the reasons for the competitiveness

car manufacturers are prepared to start a

of the Audi R8 is fuel efficiency. And at Le

new series of events, the World Champion-

Mans there's always a car near the front,

ship Grand Prix (WCGP), without the FIA in

because it has spent less time in the pits.”

2008. Ford /Jaguar quit in 2004, but entered

sportscar racing (Sebring, Le Mans, ALMS)

Last year one team raced a frugal

with Aston Martin soon after.

Volkswagen V10 TDI-Diesel powered car,

backed by Caterpillar and Perkins. The car

The teams, except Ferrari, have agreed on

failed to finish due to a transmission failure.

guiding principles drawn up by BMW, Daim-

The team is looking for a racing gearbox

lerChrysler, Honda, Toyota and Renault,

capable of handling the VW’s titanic torque

which outline the way they want the sport to

for this year’s endurance race.

be run: "A shift towards greater recognition

of environmental concerns and the oppor-

“My reason for getting involved with EEMS

tunity to shape a new future for the sport

is to recapture that link between the auto-

before change is forced upon us by regula-

motive industry and motorsport as a tech-

tory bodies," said a spokesperson.

nical proving ground — like Le Mans was in

the 1920s and 1930s”, explained David

Sportscar ace David Brabham, son of for-


mer Formula One world-champion Sir Jack

Brabham, has become an official ambassa-

dor for the Government-backed Energy Effi-

cient MotorSport (EEMS) program. He will

promote its efforts of encouraging use of

alternative fuels and energy-efficient mate-

rials within all forms of racing. Brabham is

driving for the revived Aston Martin team

this season and already won his class at

Florida’s 12 hour Sebring race in March.

"We've already seen some progress, such





sportscars participating in endurance racing,

but so much more must be done. We must

step up efforts to harness the expertise of

motorsport suppliers - they are uniquely

equipped to help bring forward the devel-

opment of 'green' technologies and alterna-

tive fuels for use in road cars. The motor-

sport community has the means of testing

these new 'green' solutions, as well as

Evolution brought about by racing in less than fifty years

building a public profile for them through




In German language only, but has 60 interesting photos

Everyone wants to be in ‘The Green Hell’ now — on the ‘Nordschleife’

“Record-setting Run Around the Ring”, the

The Nürburgring was constructed between

headline from Nissan read. A new ‘best

1925 and 1927 as a purpose-built proving

time’ around the ‘Ring’ for a production car,

ground to test and develop production cars

the next generation Skyline GT-R was set.

for the steadily expanding automobile indus-

The ‘Ring’ is Germany’s famous Nür-

try, and to hold occasional races. Germany

burgring racetrack, where a single lap is a

had fallen behind France, who had Montlhé-


ry; Italy with Monza, and Great Britain with

Brooklands as testing venues.

The superficial measure of a car’s perfor-

mance used to be its 0-100 km acceleration

time. As cars became faster, deceleration,

or braking action, was also considered with

0-100-0 times. Today, with suspension,

transmissions and many other considera-

tions included, more and more emphasis is

placed on a car’s ability to “Run the Ring”.

By now, most of the world’s carmakers have

established a test facility at the ‘Ring. Driv-

ing on this difficult track, springs and damp-

ers are analyzed and evaluated, gear ratios

are selected and confirmed, steering ratios

are assessed for ease of every-day driving,

From Google Earth

road-feel and precision, and suspension

set-up is finalized before production of any

Workers literally carved a road out of the

new model commences.

Eifel Mountains around the 12th century

Nürburg castle and several villages. The

Even the new Cadillac models received

result, the most-used 20.8 km ‘North-Loop’

their fitness training on the Nürburgring, be-

–Nordschleife- changes nearly one thou-

fore going onto the assembly line; if a car

sand feet from its highest to lowest point;

survives a few days on the Ring, it will last a

the steepest downhill section is 11%, the

few years under most conditions on high-

severest climb 17%.

ways, byways and country-roads.

Former Formula One World Champion

Jackie Stewart described the racetrack like

this: “The Nürburgring was bad enough at

just over 14 miles to a lap; it was leaping

and jumping, taking off and flying a long

way some 13 times per lap. You went to the

'Ring with a car stacked up with bump rub-

bers to stop it grinding itself to nothing by

bottoming out.” ‘The Green Hell’, Jackie

Stewart called the ferocious forest.

Racing drivers say it is by far THE most dif-

ficult and unforgiving circuit in the world.

Officially, it has 33 left and 40 right turns,

but the great Fangio said that 174 turns per

lap require steering input. Fangio won his

used the opportunity of a Porsche test ses-

five Formula1 world championships with

sions to do that, — and they succeeded; the

four different teams, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari,

new Nissan managed to pass the 911.

Mercedes-Benz and Maserati; several were

decided on the ‘Ring.

To get an idea of how difficult a place the

Nürburgring is to drive on, consider these

lap times and also reflect on the progress today’s cars have made:

1927 Christian Werner


1932 Tazio Nuvolari


1936 Bernd Rosemeyer


1954 Juan Manuel Fangio 9:50

1958 Stirling Moss


1969 Jacky Ickx


1975 Clay Regazzoni


1983 Stefan Bellof


Above 2 photos by Nürburgring GmbH

The small ‘South Loop’ is only 7.7km, and it

was used for important races in later years

when cars became faster, and the demand-

ing ‘Nordschleife’ was deemed too danger-

ous. As well, it was not feasible to transmit

TV or radio broadcasts from an area of that


In 1984 a new Grand Prix course of 4.5km

length was constructed, partly inside the

South Loop, with better facilities for specta-

tors, competitors and reporters; in all, a

modern track.

The now much improved North Loop has

always been open for tourists with cars or

motorbikes on days devoid of a 1000-km or

24-hour production or sportscars race; a

modest Beetle has carried my father and his

three sons around the Ring in something

slower than the following table. It was my

first year as a licensed driver, and I have

seen Fangio race there.

Recent production cars, even a Ford Escort,

That was then; now the large north-loop

are faster than Fangio was when winning

serves for production car evaluation during

the Grand Prix some fifty-plus years ago.


Porsche Carrera GT


That’s what Nissan did; trying to make the

Nissan Skyline GT-R


new GT-R go as fast as the record-holding

Porsche 997 GT3


production version Porsche Turbo. Nissan

Bugatti16/4 Veyron


Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren


eo of the real thing. Videos don’t lie. Unedit-

Porsche 997 Turbo


ed videos anyway. Nissan’s rival at GT-R

Ford GT


level, Porsche, has no problem with video

Corvette Z06


evidence. What it has a problem with is Nis-



san’s claim of a standard car crushing its

Chrysler Viper GTS


own contender, the 911 Turbo, on this leg-

Honda CRX 1.6 Group F,


endary track with a blistering time of 7

Audi RS4


minutes and 29 seconds in April 2008.

Nissan 350Z


VW Polo 2.0 Group F


August Achleitner, the 911 product chief,

Audi TT 1.8T Quattro


spoke to the CARSguide at the Australian

Ford Escort RS2000


press-preview of the latest 911 Cabriolet:

"This wonder car with 7:29 could not have

For a special treat, ride along in the record been a regular series production car," he

setting Nissan with a professional driver.

said. "For us, it's not clear how this time is

possible. What we can imagine with this

For a more “leisurely” trip around the

Nissan is they used other tires."

Nordschleife, anyone visiting Germany can

book a trip with professional racing driver

To put credit to their suspicions, Achleitner’s

Sabine  Schmitz, who will take up to 3 pas-team went and bought a GT-R in the US

sengers in her BMW ‘race taxi’ for an unfor-

and took it on a back to back to back run

gettable  experience.

against its 911 Turbo as well as the GT2,

just in case. The tests were done under the

To demonstrate how serious manufacturers

same conditions using standard Michelin

take published results of a car’s perfor-

Sport Cup rubber.

mance on the ‘Ring, this is what happened

shortly after Nissan made headlines:

"The Nissan is a good car. I don't want to

Porsche Accuses Nissan of Cheating on

make anything bad with my words," Achleit-

GT-R Nürburgring 'Record' Lap Run

ner was quoted as saying. "It's a very con-

sistent car. But this car is about 20 kilos

“As it was in the olden back alleys of the

heavier than the Turbo . . ."

world’s classic cities, that arguments among

men were settled with two pairs of fists,

For this reason alone it can be seriously

slugging it out until only one was left stand-

questioned whether GT-R really did achieve

ing. Now, today, it seems this arena has be-

its feat as a standard car. The other reasons

come the Nürburgring racetrack and auto

are the so-called “minor tweaks” that were

makers are

performed on it before



its run at Nordschleife.




For the record, here


are the times that Por-

about Nis-

sche achieved with all

san GT-R’s

three cars in standard



times post-

Nissan GT-R 7:54

ed on this

track, even

Porsche 911 Turbo




was said to

be the vid-

Porsche GT2 7:34

First Indy 500 race with renewable bio-fuel

"We're going to look back on this day as his-

Car Series lineup. The car will be co-

toric. It's the right thing to do," proclaimed

sponsored for the next four years by world-

Ron Hemelgarn.

wide Remy, better known as Delco-Remy,

makers of automotive parts.

Racing to preserve precious petroleum, the

2007 Indianapolis 500 race will be [was] run

Hemelgarn Racing and driver Paul Dana

without a single drop of hydrocarbon-based

have already used ethanol racing fuel with

fuel being burned.

great success for several years in the Infini-

ty Pro Series, the farm-team class or feed-

Instead, a one hundred percent renewable

er-series for the top IndyCar racers.

bio-fuel, Ethanol, will be used. It is derived from agriculturally produced renewable

Dana has advanced to the top league in

plant material.

2005 and will continue to ‘drive’ ethanol fuel

to a new level of awareness in the No. 91

The partner in Hemelgarn-Johnson Motor-

Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara-Toyota-

sport, and founding member of the Indy

Firestone car.

Racing League (IRL), is delighted about this

official announcement:

When the well-known (formerly purple)

Number 91 car starts this year’s Indy 500

“The ethanol industry has partnered with the

and the other 16 IRL races with Paul Dana

IndyCar Series to become the fuel supplier

driving, the car will have been repainted

beginning with the 2006 season. Ethanol is

green with blue and white - to indicate its

an alcohol derived primarily from grain. As a

‘green’ technology.

clean-burning and renewable fuel that is

non-toxic and 100 percent biodegradable, it

Don’t confuse the green racecar with ‘green’

reduces air pol ution and improves racing’s

fuel - with team Andretti-Green.

environmental footprint. The target for the

2006 season is a blend of ethanol and rac-

Still, it will not be the first time ethanol has

ing fuel that corresponds with ethanol blend

powered a car in the famed Indianapolis

commonly available to consumers at gaso-

500; in the 1927 race, a car driven by Leon

line stations. Beginning in 2007, the fuel will

Duray was fueled by ethyl (grain) alcohols.

be 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in

IndyCar Series cars, the same fuel that has

Hemelgarn is familiar with ethanol use

the potential to replace at least 10 percent

through his Michigan agriculture back-

of the nation’s gasoline supply.”

ground. He estimates the use of ethanol

racing fuel will save about $60,000 per team

Ethanol is a high-octane, high-performance annually.

fuel, derived from various plants, that is

clean burning, renewable and adaptable to

But more so, he believes the IRL's switch

both gasoline and diesel applications. As a

from methanol to ethanol is more about

growing component of the world's gasoline

conscience than being cost-conscious.

supply, it improves engine performance

while reducing emissions for better air quali-

Who needs the FIA’s progress-stifling atti-


tude in suppressing Formula One and other

series, when we have environmentally con-

To help build anticipation and awareness for

scious sanctioning bodies like the IRL,

alternative fuels, the ethanol industry group

USAC and other responsible, forward think-

is sponsoring one entry in this year’s Indy

ing motorsport groups?

The IndyCar Series has always been rec-

hood] After graduating from University in

ognized for its technical leadership in auto-

journalism, Dana started as a mechanic at

mobile racing. The engines used in this sin-

the Bridgestone Racing School at the

gle seat, open wheel racecar are based on

Shannonville Motorsport Park just east of

production engines.

Belleville, Ontario. He worked for ‘seat-

time’, drove intelligently and climbed up the

The competition in this class is lively, with

class ladder. I have been aware of his pro-

frequent passing and lead changes. Now

motion of alternative fuels for a number of

the IRL wil be the motorsport’s leader in

years. His ecological efforts in the open

renewable and environmentally responsible

wheel classes parallel David Brabham’s

energy use. As wel , it’s the only major se-

work in Europe in sportscar racing with the

ries to include several talented female rac-

Government-backed Energy Efficient Moing drivers.

torSport (EEMS) program.

Every time anyone of us needs to fill our

fuel tank, the opportunity ‘ crops’ up [don’t

you love puns?] to use agriculture-based

ethanol and gasoline mix, called ‘bio-blend’.

That is now available at all Pioneer, Suno-

co, UPI and independent stations in Ontario.

Ethanol is the only proven commercial scale

renewable transportation fuel currently

available in the marketplace.

Hemelgarn says it best: “Not only for the

Corvettes and many other sportscar classes now run on a

renewable ethanol racing fuel Photo: GETTY IMAGES

racing, but for all of us we have to find an

alternative solution to petroleum, and we as

Paul Dana has a special connection to the

farmers have the ability to generate an al-

Bay of Quinte area. [the author’s neighbor-

ternative fuel - Ethanol.”

A clever advertisement by alternative fuel proponents, showing the connection between racing and using organically derived Ethanol fuel from corn, or other renewable plant stocks and organic waste materials; truly and literally racing to preserve precious petroleum.

No smoke! No smell! No noise!

That is what the reporters kept repeating,

Volkswagen New Beetle, Jetta, Passat and

over and over again. “It’s a historic day for

Touareg models. Turbo Direct Injection is

automotive technology”, was their conclu-

the ‘new’ (more than a decade old) diesel

sion at the end of the twelve hour race in

technology, now embraced by most compa-

Sebring, Florida, during March break.

nies around the world, just with a different

brand name.

What was so historic about that, you ask?

It was the first major international sportscar

race won by a car with a Diesel engine.

What is going on here? A racecar with a

Diesel engine? Are those not meant for

trucks only?

At Sebring, the Diesel engine shed the dirty,

smelly, oil-stained coveralls. It slipped on a

red and white athlete’s speed-suit and out-

accelerated, out-powered, out-distanced,

and out-lasted Aston-Martin, BMW, Cor-

vette, Ferrari and so on thru the alphabet,

thanks to Audi.

2006 Chrysler 300 C diesel

From now on, the Diesel engine can dress Audi and Volkswagen have built millions of

formally and be welcomed at the concert

Diesel engines for more than a quarter cen-

hall, the theater or the inauguration. Or, the

tury. The two companies are like Buick and

Diesel engine could wear a casual jacket,

Chevrolet, like Harley and Davidson, insep-

blouse, sweater or shirt and go the school,

arable, and the TDI technology is shared by

library, grocery store or to church. In other

the companies. Audi just took “Advantage

words, the Diesel engine has arrived.

thru Technology”, — their slogan.

Diesels started to achieve success in Eu-

The advantage and demand for Diesels is

rope by 1990, when refineries produced ul-

such that EU countries report up to 67% of

tra-low-sulfur Diesel fuel. North American

new car sales are Diesels. Consider this:

“dirty” Diesel contains 500 ppm (parts per

Audi’s A8 TDI engine has the same capacity

million) of sulfur content. The EPA (Envi-

as the gasoline model. Acceleration is 5.9

ronmental Protection Agency) mandated in

seconds 0-100 km/h for the Diesel, com-

2001 -16-years later than Europe- that our

pared to gasoline’s 6.2 seconds. TDI has

Diesel fuel must have no more than 15 ppm

torque of 479 lb-ft. compared to gasoline’s

–as in Europe- after September 1, 2006.

317 lb-ft. TDI averages 9.45 l/100km (30

The sulfur causes the smoke and soot and

mpg) as opposed to 12.1 l /100km

the pungent smell. Soon that will be no

(23.7mpg) with the gasoline engine.


Like everything else in life, someone else

Europeans and Canadians have known the

tried it before. In 1930 Cummins, of truck

advantages of Diesel-power for years. But

engine fame, asked renowned racing-driver

many others are stil skeptical. The ‘TDI’ at

Eddie Rickenbacker to drive a Diesel in the

the side of the victorious Audi R10 at Se-

Indy 500. The rules had been changed to

bring is the same ‘TDI’ worn by countless

encourage manufacturers to participate.

Cummins believed his truck engine could

run all day; but would it be fast enough? Im-

provements had the truck engine run non-

stop in the 1931 Indianapolis 500, but not in

the lead.

Before we all can take advantage of this

promising “green” development, France's

Peugeot will give Audi a race for the glory

with the power of a Diesel racecar at the 24

hour race at Le Mans in 2007.

A pair of Cummins-powered Duesenbergs

appeared in 1934. Dave Evans stripped the

gears (Diesel power!) after a pit stop with

his four-cycle version. “Stubby” Stubblefield

placed 12th with a two-stroke version of the

Cummins truck-diesel.

In 1950 Jimmy Jackson drove a Kurtis-Kraft,

with a six-cylinder 401cid Cummins, boost-

ed by a supercharger, which failed to

charge at the quarter distance. Celebrated

driver Fred Agabashian put a Cummins

Diesel on the Indy pole in 1952 with the en-

Another great advantage of the Diesel, be-gine turned on its side to lower frontal area.

sides better fuel economy, is the fact that

bio-Diesel fuel will soon be widely available.

In 1998, the 24-hour race for production

English racing teams vying for the “VW Die-

cars at the legendary Nürburgring was won

sel Cup” in New Beetles, among others,

by a Diesel-powered car – a works team

have been testing 5%, 10%, 20% and 50%

BMW 320d. BMW now offers a racing ver-

bio-fuel, and different types of bio-fuel from

sion of that car to customers.

different sources. Jatropha oil has the ad-

vantage over canola oil, soy or palm oils,







because Jatropha trees will grow on waste-

Volkswagen, these companies will offer a

land, and will not use up food-producing

Diesel version of their cars in North America

farm-land in developing regions.

in the near future: BMW, Chrysler-Jeep,

Ford, GM, Honda, Jaguar, Lexus, Toyota

and, without doubt, others.

Picture from speedtv

Not just preserving precious petroleum, even racing without it

The green revolution is racing [ahead];

The engine of the racing Jettas is an all-new

Green is the new gold.

2.0 liter four cylinder with 170 horsepower

and massive torque, available in 2009 mod-

In a highly unusual report, the Globe Inves-

els. The transmission is a six-speed auto-

tor online magazine wrote this headline over

matic DSG [later article], available in several

their latest Report on Business: Drivers Use

other production models of the VW Group.

Clean Diesel Volkswagens to Cross Finish




Line at Virginia International Raceway.

steering is also used on other models, as is

the ESP. This electronic stability control

“Investors are flocking to deposit their

works together with ABS to stabilize a vehi-

green-backs and gold bullions into green

cle by applying the brake on one or several

technology. New jobs are created with

wheels, even before the driver detects a

green car expertise, while jobs are lost in

potentially dangerous skid.

factories that produce cars running on the

old ‘black gold’; the auto biz is colorful

enough to make you see psychedelic.

Racing to preserve precious petroleum, lit-

erally and figuratively, Volkswagen has insti-

tuted the “Jetta TDI Cup” to promote their

new, clean, 50-state approved Diesel tech-

nology across North America. Under the

sanctioning of the Sports Car Club of Amer-

ica (SCCA), thirty identical VW Jettas and

their young drivers will strut their stuff in an eight race series on closed tracks, on city

The emphasis of the Jetta TDI series is to

street circuits and on an oval track. The ‘up

develop the skill of young, promising driv-

and coming’ drivers, age 16 to 26, have

ers. Volkswagen will assist the best ones

been selected during trials just days before

with getting into other classes of motor-

the start of this world-first type of event.


The thirty Jettas are owned and maintained

Even more unique than racing with Diesel

by Volkswagen of America. The cars used

engines is the fact that the Jetta TDI Cup

in the racing series have been modified for

series is certified as a carbon free event by track use with a brake upgrade, a stiffer

the CarbonFund.org, an ecological watch-

suspension and additional safety equip-

dog. It means the cars, for the first time in

ment: Racing rules require a five-point seat

the history of the automobile, are using no

belt, on-board fire extinguisher and several

petroleum products at all, but clean bio die-

other safety items.

sel fuel and synthetic lubricants.

“The drivers race, the environment wins”.

More than 600 ambitious drivers applied to

The world wide debut of this new motor-

Volkswagen when they announced the new

sports series took place on April 27 at a well

racing series. After initial interviews, 177

known circuit near Alton, Virginia. The se-

were invited to the Firebird International

cond, and first international, event was held

Raceway near Phoenix, where they demon-

at Mosport on the May 18 weekend; Chris

strated their driving ability. They also spent

Holman from Burlington, at 20 the youngest

time in the gym (for physical fitness testing)

of the Canadian racers, won second place.

and were grilled in media interviews to pre-

pare them for ‘life in the fast lane’.

One of the drivers explained that that they

will receive almost as much off-track coach-

ing during this season as they will get in ac-

tual race training. "The support Volkswagen

is giving to young drivers is tremendous," he

said. "There is an emphasis on physical fit-

ness and we'll be schooled in public rela-

tions. More important, the engineers will go

over just about every lap with us after the

races. Everything on the race car will be

measured by computer – engine revs, brak-

ing, how a driver takes a particular corner,

and so on. After a practice or a race, all this

Among the thirty drivers are three more Ca-

data is broken down so we can see where

nadians, Andrew Cordeiro, a 24 year old

we did well and where we didn't. The goal is

from Woodbridge; Adam Kretschmer, twen-

to help everyone improve."

ty one years, from Brampton and David

Richert, twenty five, from Niverville, Manito-

The sponsors are just as enthusiastic: "We ba.

couldn't be more thrilled about our Jetta TDI

Cup race experience," said Stefan Jacoby,

The thirty Jetta racecars will stay in Canada

former president and CEO of Volkswagen of

America, Inc. “It will celebrate Volkswagen’s

to drive again in the following round, July 4

to 6, at the Grand Prix of Toronto, known as

diesel technology and heritage in motor-

sports as good, clean fun”, he added “Not

the Molson Indy, where Volkswagen will al-

so stage a celebrity race.

only will the young drivers gain real-life track

experience in a factory-prepared race vehi-

cle, it will allow them to




mindset of today’s clean

diesel technology, and

foster increased aware-

ness of its advantages

in this new era of envi-

ronmental sensitivity.”

Photos by VWAG

From Bulldozers to World Speed Records, it’s Diesels

Mention “Diesel”, and in spite of everything,

“Things didn't go so well in the race, as the

the mental image for many people is still a

turbocharger inlet was clogged with rubber

bulldozer or farm tractor; not very swift, but

and other debris by lap 70, overheating the

very slow. But hint at diesel race cars? —

massive engine. The car retired, but the

No way!

point had been made. Turbocharging be-

came common at Indy by the late 1960s,

Remember the tale of the hare and the tur-

and diesel-powered race cars have since


won at Sebring and Le Mans. They owe a

lot to the Cummins Diesel Special”, stated

The Cummins Engine Co., world renowned

the Cummins press release.

for diesel engines on land and sea, has run

in the Indy 500 numerous times. In 1931 a

Clearly, they mean the Audi R10 TDI, the

Duesenberg with a modified Cummins die-

first incarnation of a modern diesel racecar

sel truck-engine qualified last, but finished

in 2006. Audi and also Peugeot will be at

the race in 13th place after running the entire

Sebring again this weekend with two diesel

distance without a single pit stop. During

racecars each.

that decade several more attempts at get-

ting better in the fastest of all races resulted

But long before a diesel won a major event,

in only partial success, but this did not pre-

Mercedes had diesel passenger cars partic-

vent Cummins from trying again after World

ipate in various forms of motorsports. At the

War II.

1955 “Mile Miglia’ thousand-mile race

through Italy, a Mercedes 180D won its

class. In 1959 Karl Kling won the 14,045 km

Africa Rally from Algiers to Cape Town in a

190D. A Mercedes diesel engine also set a

world speed record in 1975 and a diesel

engine was used in one of the famous Mer-

cedes C111 concept cars a year later to top 400 km/h.

(below photo)

The quickest and fastest diesel truck in the world

from Gale Banks Engineering

In 1952 Freddie Agabashian surprised the

world of motorsports when he clinched the

pole position at Indianapolis with four laps at

more than 222 km/h in the Cummins Diesel

Special. A turbocharger had been added to

the six cylinder truck engine, producing

In 1976 Volkswagen introduced its first die-

about 380 horsepower. That year’s Indy 500

sel engine in the Golf /Rabbit. In his young-was part of the Formula1 World Champion-

er years, Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Fer-

ship series. A Diesel in F1? Yes.

dinand Porsche, designed the first 5-

cylinder diesel engine for Mercedes, elevat-

ing the ‘Diesel’ into luxury cars. In his later

years, he became chairman of the

beautiful, closed car was faster than the

Volkswagen Group and 1992 drove a diesel

Audis, but suffered in other areas and did

experimental car part-way across Germany

not win. For this year, Peugeot has added

to his last shareholders meeting as CEO,

hybrid features to make them even faster

accomplishing 238 US mpg. (0.9 l/100 km)

and more efficient.

Diesel engines can now be found in a Jagu-

Audi could not stand by idly; "We have

ar, Cadillac, BMW, even in the new Rolls-

gained so much experience with the V12

Royce and Bentley, and of course, in the

diesel that we could contemplate making

best models of Audi and Volkswagen.

the same power with 10 cylinders rather

than 12," said Ulrich Baretzky, Audi’s engine

After more than thirty years experience in

boss. He added that the new R15 TDI racer

building diesel engines with 1 to 12 cylin-

included "many detailed technical solutions

ders, and racing in the Beetle TDI, Jetta TDI

never before seen on a sports prototype."

and other ‘Diesel Cup’ series in Europe and

Audi Sport boss Wolfgang Ullrich believes

America, the VW/Audi engineers were in-

that only the wheel nuts are the same as on

spired to go for something bigger: design a

the previous TDI racer; This explains why

diesel-powered racecar for the most de-

Audi did all of its testing in secret and why it

manding race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

had not unveiled the R15 TDI before last

After winning the ‘shake-down’ 12 Hours of


Sebring in 2006 and 2007, the Audi R10

TDI also won the two ’24 Hours’, as well as

the American Le Mans Series (ALMS)

championship, which includes Mosport near

Bowmanville, Ontario.

This version was contemplated but not used

As a special surprise, Audi just announced

that a sports-film production company shot

a feature film for them at last year’s 24

Hours of Le Mans, titled ‘Truth in 24’. This

In 2008 Peugeot decided to challenge Audi

film will be shown tonight, March 20th, on

for the supremacy in diesel racing. Their

ESPN from 8-10 pm. People who have al-

ready seen the documentary, rate it as one

time.If someone you know is still not con-

of the top three racing films of all time.

vinced about speedy diesels, tell them this:

“Gale Banks Engineering' s Chevrolet S10

SPEED Chanel will [did] show the 12 Hours

Duramax diesel-powered pickup turned in a

of Sebring on Saturday, March 21st, 2009,

180-mph run in the quarter-mile.”

live from 10 a.m. till noon, and again later.

Or this: A four cylinder JCB tractor engine

European carmakers seem to adopt De-

was boosted and installed in a streamlined

troit’s long established motto: Win on Sun-

body. After initial trials it set a land speed

day, Sell on Monday — selling the notion of

record of 563 km/h — a four-cylinder diesel!

diesel economy and durability at the same

Testing — see JCB link for story.

What does Anheuser Busch beer and Diesel fuel have in common?

Let’s find out!

Diesels for marine and industrial use. Over

time, many municipalities and public utility

It has previously been stated here that, if

companies across America installed Busch-

you look for a connection between absolute-

Sulzer Diesels to generate electricity.

ly anything, you can find it. This one came

by a misstep. While trying to put together a

few headlines concerning Diesel, this little

story popped onto my screen: How the Die-

sel engine came to America; from chapter

26 of “Making Friends is our Business”,

100 years of Anheuser Busch, a book

from the 1950s.

We know that beer -in moderation- is not

adverse to ones health, and that bio-diesel

fuel is healthy for the environment. That’s

one commonality, and here is the other

connection between the brewery and the

Diesel engine:

Adolphus Busch was well established in the

brewing business more than one hundred

years ago. He also was open to new ideas

and to diversification.

It was at just about this time that Dr. Ru-

dolph Diesel had invented and patented the

efficient combustion process for engines that carry his name. In 1879 Rudolph Diesel

was working for the Swiss company Sulzer

Diesel engine built by MAN in 1906

Brothers Ltd., which manufactured weaving

looms. The Sulzer company bought certain

At the start of World War I the Navy De-

manufacturing rights from Diesel, and built

partment requested that Busch-Sulzer, as

their first Diesel engine five years after

“the only qualified company in America”,

agreements were made, in 1898.

build diesel engines for several types of

planned submarine boats. Again, during

In St. Louis, USA, Adolphus Busch also re-

WW II, the successful Busch-Sulzer Diesel

alized the potential of the Diesel engine,

Engine Company manufactured many types

and the advantages over steam engines. In

of Diesel engines for the Army, the Navy,

1897 he arranged for the American rights to

the Merchant Marine and for America’s war-

build Diesel engines.

time allies. After World War II, the company

was acquired by the Nordborg Manufactur-

Under Diesel’s guidance, Busch installed

ing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

the first engine in the power plant of the An-

heuser Busch brewery one year later.

Under its newest structure, the Sulzer com-

pany now builds the largest ships engines in

The new company, Busch-Sulzer, created a

the world.

market for stationary engines and for large

As we have seen so far, it is a false belief

driven day and night for thousands of miles

that Diesel flourished only in Europe.

across the continent without frequent


In 1929, during the height of the depression,

Packard, one of the most revered American

The early Diesel engines digested a differ-

luxury car makers, used a Diesel engine to

ent ‘brew’. When Rudolph Diesel demon-

convince financial backers to continue sup-

strated his engine at the Paris Exhibition

porting the company. This saved Packard at

Fair in 1898, its liquid diet was peanut oil,

that time.

the “original” biodiesel. Most Diesels con-

sumed biomass fuel until the 1920s, just as

Also during these difficult times, Cummins

Henry Ford fed his early automobiles with

showed the quality of his truck-Diesel en-


gine by installing one in a Duesenberg, an-

other greatly admired luxury car, and setting

But once the international oil companies

a speed record at Daytona Beach.

had their way they began feeding fossil

fuels to the always thirsty automobile.

A truck with a similar Cummins engine went

"The old Diesel technology formed a lot of

cost to coast across the USA on $11.22

bad memories of smoky, smelly, clatter-trap

worth of fuel, another one covered 13,535

cars, and left a bad taste in the mouths of

miles around the Indianapolis Speedway, an

many," acknowledged Dieter Zetsche of

endurance record at the time.

DaimlerChrysler. EPA-mandated refining

methods have lowered smelly sulfur content

As diesel engines became lighter over time,

from 500 ppm to 15 parts per million. No

they found a place in passenger cars in Eu-

smoke and no smell will emanate from any

rope. Mercedes and Citroën both lay claim

Diesel engine in North America after Octo-

to building the first mass-produced passen-

ber 15 of 2006, allowing TDI and CDI

ger Diesel cars in 1935. Records lost during

equipped cars to show their true benefits.

the war have prevented a clarification of

which company actually was first.

Not enough that an Audi TDI Diesel racecar

won the Sebring 12 hour race and the 24

With the advent of the Interstate Highway

Hours of Le Mans, now the English earth-

System in America, and the Freeways in

moving-equipment company JCB will at-

Canada, Diesel trucks slowly but steadily

tempt a new land speed-record with its own

took over from the gasoline engine. Only the

engines in their Dieselmax streamliner.

more reliable Diesel could tolerate being

[see previous story]

This White truck still gulps gasoline.

Most of us started this way …

As the movement for green cars continues

many schools and day care centers in Hol-

to grow, so does the need for earth-friendly

land. A Lexan roof and removable side cur-


tains keep kids warm and dry in all weather.

One protection bar for each bench (as in

Consider pedal cars!

amusement park rides) is much more con-

venient than individual safety belts.”

I was unaware of these modern day devel-

opments in junior transportation; my intent

was to write about “real” pedal cars for chil-


Green 1905 steel & wood pedal car - really green

You probably know that thousands of taxis

in China and India are still pedal-powered;

Pedi-cabs they call them. School ‘buses’ in

developing countries are enlarged rick-

shaws, carrying eight students and the bus

One hundred and some years ago, when

driver, nee pedal pusher.

automobiles started to make appearances

on town and village streets, children also






wanted to drive cars to imitate their parents.

showed police ticketing a car on a main

An industry willing to oblige youngsters

street in downtown Toronto during rush-

came into existence. Simple pretend-cars,

hour. As it turned out, the 1986 Buick Regal

basic like the real vehicles during those

had no engine. Artist Michel de Broin had

times, were offered for sale to parents trying

stripped the car bare and installed four

to please their kids.

seats and bicycle gears connected to the

drive axle. Four of the Canadian artist’s

friends took the car for a joyride, but police

did not perceive the witty part of the exer-

cise and had the pedal car towed away.

In Holland, kindergartens, child care cen-

ters, camps, resorts and the like can pur-

chase a new pedal powered school bus, a

KDV (Kinder Dag Verblijf) from the DeRed-

ding firm for €2950. It is reported that “The KDV carries up to 8 children economically,

safely and extremely happily. Linkage-

steered for stability, and built solidly from

the finest materials for years of trouble-free

use. The KDV is used instead of a bus by

As automobile styles matured, so did the

fect blue print for such a spectacular project.

pedal cars. Harley Earl, General Motors’

first actual designer, also lent his talent to

The Audi pedal car made its debut at the

sketching cars for customers still too young

Paris Motor Show in 2006, where some

to drive the real ones. The toy industry ex-

show visitors were ready to buy the proto-

panded and flourished before the Second

type right there and pedal it home. The

World War and recuperated again during

Type C Pedal car is made out of over 900

the 1950s.

separate parts, is scaled at 1:2 from the

original and is entirely made by Audi, keep-

Over time, consumers became more so-

ing in line with their slogan "designed by

phisticated and aware of potential dangers

Audi, produced by Audi".

of certain products. Sharp metal edges of

pedal cars cut many a tiny finger, and by

and by this industry all but vanished.

Today, plastic recreations and new models

are a much safer choice. Antique metal toy

cars have become collector’s items for

grown-ups and are offered at prices that

would put some used cars to shame.

As you can witness on today’s highways

and byways, we also like to recall earlier

times by driving so-called retro cars. The

Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Chevrolet HHR

(Heritage High Roof) have taken major de-

sign elements from the time before World

Photo courtesy of Audi

War II and used them to good effect.

Many pedal cars are available at various

Clever marketing people find a willing buyer







for almost anything that can be produced.

At this time no other car manufacturer offers

a pedal car, nor one built so elaborately and

Proud of their history, and also to have a

to such a high standard.

break from designing new models and fabri-

cating proto types, the people at Audi’s ad-

How did Audi stumble upon this idea? "We

vanced car studio recreated one of their

needed a highlight for our collection which

most famous pre-war cars, the Auto Union

conveys the brand message and, at the

Silver Arrow Type C, in miniature as a pedal

same time, is spectacular enough to find

car. The company’s press release states:

buyers," says Katharina Wicker, Head of

Audi design – Lifestyle Articles. And this is

”This car is something real y special", says

how the idea came about to design a pedal

Hubert Waltl, Head of Audi Toolmaking.

car that mirrors the company's heritage at

This limited edition car has an aluminum

first sight. The pedal car will therefore be an

body, handcrafted leather trim and an ex-

exhibition piece for grown-up fans too”.

traordinary design.

The original Auto Union Type C made histo-

ry in 1936 by gathering ten Grand Prix victo-

In case you did not tell your kids or grand-

ries. The Type C also happens to be one of

children about this, and were disappointed

the company's all time best-selling miniature

by the article, this should make up for it.

models, making this particular car the per-

What’s in a name? Phaeton, Landau and Coupé were horse carriages

The very meaning of Volkswagen, “peoples

that, and Ford was the biggest car company

car”, seems to suggest that a VW is a car

in the world at one time.

for the masses. But so was the ‘Model T’,

the first ‘car for the masses’. Ford built a

Why then is it that, when Volkswagen an-

reputation for low price, reliability, service-

nounced they would produce an SUV, even

ability, resale value and that hard to chart

the name caused objections. “Touareg”;

brand recognition’.

how could anybody dare name a vehicle

after a proud tribe of African nomads? Many

After a time, Ford started building more

automotive magazines raised objections. —

powerful and more luxurious cars. Nobody

What about Aztec(k)?

had any objection when they could buy a

Ford with a powerful V8 engine, and the

Teutonic perseverance prevailed.

public did not protest when somebody on

the other side of town started driving a luxu-

In Germany, the Touareg has become a big

ry Ford, a Continental.

seller, especially with the economic five-

cylinder engine.

After gaining admiration by European auto-

motive journalists, the Touareg is now col-

lecting more and more international awards,

from Australia to Zimbabwe and in between.

The Volkswagen newcomer succeeded

against two dozen other competitors and

became ‘SUV of the year’. According to one

jury, "every manufacturer of off-road vehi-

cles should dismantle a Touareg and find

out how it works, to be sure that some good

Phaetons have been around seemingly forever: Benz 1906

lessons can be learnt from it."

Volkswagen also started with one model.

Seven million more Beetles were produced

Maybe a company with such a common, or

than the next ‘most popular’ car. And while

better, ‘folksy’ name as Volkswagen has to

the Beetle was still in production, its young-

try harder. And they did: They prepared a

er brother ‘Golf’ already surpassed it in

“Race-Touareg” for the ‘mother of all rallies’,

numbers. The fifth generation of the VW

the Paris to Dakar marathon of 11,000 km.

Golf came to market just recently, and al-

Although a first time participant, VW’s SUV

ready it is the most-sold car in Europe

placed first in one stage, giving notice of

again, even before reaching full production

their intention for next year’s event.


Another outcry was heard when the ‘peo-

How many more millions of one model

ple’s car’ people announced a luxury car:

should a company produce before advanc-

Phaeton. How could VW possibly build an

ing to a larger or different type of automo-

extravagant car, and on top of it name it af-

bile? What is wrong with starting with a

ter a body-style from a by-gone era? How

small, inexpensive, high quality product and

could they! When another car company

improving continually, leaving every other

started selling a ‘Landau’, (also a body style

make in its class behind?

from the time of the horse-drawn carriage),

—— nobody voiced any concern.

As everyone knows, the ‘Model T’ did just

And what about the term Coupe or Spyder?

Less than forty years ago Audi started build-

ing cars again, similar to the first VW Golf;

now experts listen to Audi when it comes to

technology or luxury; will they revive

’Horch’, another magnificent make of the


Toyota has a long history of producing ex-

traordinary cars for ordinary people; their

Lexus has become the measure of luxury.

They say that the love of luxury is a human

Chrysler Phaeton concept of 1967

attribute that goes beyond the borders of

geography, political beliefs, or conviction of

John E. Herlitz, Chrysler Corporation's Vice

faith. Humans are neurologically hard-wired

President of Product Design, said, "Phaeton

to seek improvement and, ultimately, luxury;

embraces and contemporizes elegant, clas-

so say sociologists. In other words, the

sic design cues from historic touring auto-

‘hunting and gathering’ of luxury cars seems

mobiles of the 1930s, 40s and 50s."

to be a human need.

Most everyone started with small cars that

It seems natural that the ‘big names’, Rolls

grew larger over time.

Royce, Maybach, Cadillac, Bugatti and

Bentley are flourishing and sprouting ever

Karl Benz started with a “three-wheeler”,

more cylinders; ten, twelve, sixteen, even

considered to be the first ‘real car’, before

eighteen cylinder engines with unheard-of

his company built everybody’s dream-car,

horsepower. And now, after most of us have

the Mercedes of today.

driven a V8, we strive for more cylinders;

which proves that we all are ‘only human’;

BMW made the Isetta when starting again

with our DNA striving for more power and

after World War II, and everybody longs to

comfort, not to exclude luxury.

drive a ‘Bimmer’ today.

Luxury car cus-

tomers are not only

willing to pay more;

they also change




quently. After all,

would YOU want to

drive a Rolls Royce

day in and day


Other ‘Phaetons’:





Volkswagen’s flagship model: Phaeton

This tiny car made a huge contribution to automotive history

Few know his name, but everybody knows

rubber cone suspension, and had the mini-

the car he designed: The MINI.

car ready for production in early 1959.

Alec Issigonis was born in Turkey. As a

Talk about platform sharing: the MINI was teenager he and his family moved to Eng-built as the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin

land. He studied engineering and then

Seven. In later years the ‘luxurious’ Riley Elf

worked for Morris Motor Company, which

and Wolseley Hornet were added, and sta-

later joined with Austin to form the British

tion wagons, pickups, convertibles and jeep-

Motor Corporation (BMC).

type MINIs complement the basic sedan.

When the Suez crisis (the first oil crisis in

the mid 1950s) caused gasoline rationing,

BMC asked Issigonis to design an efficient small car that could carry four persons.





Cooper realized that the MINI had incredible

handling and road-holding. He increased

power from 34 to 55 hp, added tiny disc

brakes, and … watch out! A MINI-Cooper

wins Holland's Tulip Rally in 1962, driven by

Sterling Moss' sister Pat.

BMC hopes to sell a 1000 of the MINI-

Cooper - They sell over 150.000.

The MINI soon becomes an icon; the Beat-

les buy a MINI, so does King Hussein, Dud-

ley Moore and Steve McQueen; Enzo Ferra-

ri buys two.

After numerous rally class wins, the MINI

wins the Monte Carlo Rally outright in 1964

and repeats in 1965, 66 and 67.

He came up with numerous new ideas for

In 1965 the 1 millionth MINI rolls off the as-

an inexpensive, small car: He put the

sembly-line. BMC introduces a 4 speed au-

transmission and differential UNDER the

tomatic gearbox, keeps improving details,

engine and turned it sideways, creating a 4-

and the 3 millionth MINI leaves the factory

seater at 10 ft length. With his design phi-

in 1972 .

losophy ”Less is More”, he also invented a

After ten years production a new sporty edi-

Many automakers are preoccupied with

tion, the 1275 (cc) GT is added. Drivers

‘mini-cars’ as they plan their small-car pro-

such as James Hunt, Jackie Stewart, and

duction for the coming years. AutoPacific

Niki Lauda start their race-career in MINI-

analysts predict that, with rising fuel prices


the American ‘micro-car’ segment will grow

to around 250,000 vehicles annually within

Issigonis is knighted by Queen Elizabeth in

a few years.

1969 and lives as Sir Alec until 1988.

"The challenge other carmakers have to ac-

In 1986 the five millionth MINI is produced,

cept is that they need to develop small cars

and now runs on 12inch wheels and front

that people actually want to buy," stresses

disc brakes.

George Peterson, president of the California

consulting firm, AutoPacific, Inc. “Tradition-

Now under control of Rover (separate from

ally”, he says, “small cars have been viewed

LandRover), the MINI and the Cooper get a

by manufacturers as a necessary, if often

1.3 l fuel injected 63hp (52 in a standard

unprofitable, part of the business”.

MINI) engine, including catalytic converter

to meet the emission demands of the

Over its long life, there were dozens of ver-


sions of the first MINI. Unprofitable? Why a

new version, then? The Beetle – unprofita-

The MINI is still on the rise during the nine-

ble? The Golf, the Corolla, the Civic –

ties. Two MINI magazines are started, al-

wouldn’t you like to have a slice of their ”un-

ready popular MINI Clubs grow by dozens


more, and even by the late nineties, there is

no stopping the MINI. That is, until BMW,

Is that enough to create a real market for

the new owner of Rover, decides the MINI

mini-cars? That's a question General Motors

needs a radical ‘make-over’, ending 40

is under pressure to answer. I think "car

years of production.

czar" Bob Lutz answered that for them. Un-

der his new product-design leadership the

small Pontiac Solstice show car received –

as reported- “unexpected” (by whom?) ap-

proval. Wake up GM!

Lutz now has several new, small cars in de-

velopment, sharing the same platform. (arti-

cle upcoming)

Meanwhile customers are clamoring for

MINIs; the more power, the better. The new

MINI Convertible will have 90 hp and the

MINI-Cooper 115 hp. The 163-hp Cooper S

will follow, and modifications can make 200

Just a few of the many Minis at Issigonis’ centenary rally in 2006

hp. Safety first – NEW MINI comes with

The MINI was final y replaced by the ‘New

standard four-wheel disc brakes, ABS, elec-

MINI’ at the Paris Auto Show in 2001.

tronic brake-force-distribution and corner-


For North-American drivers, supposedly,

bigger is better. Why, then, are fifty percent

Once upon a time bigger was better (really?

more customers striving to own a MINI than

seriously?), now smaller is smarter.

the factory can produce?

In one form or another still one of the most popular cars

Numerous books have been written about

than 22 million Beetles have been pro-

the VW ‘Beetle’, and nothing I write would

duced, I believe in 27 countries.

be new.

Nevertheless, it took Volkswagen until 1972,

But I would be ignoring a part of automotive

or all of 27 years, to pass the 15 million

history if I did not add my little piece about

Model Ts that Ford manufactured in just 19

this phenomenal car, which is living on in


the New Beetle.

No new Beetles were sold in North America

Efforts by European car makers to produce

since the late 70's. Its production ended in

a wagon for everyday folks, in the wake of

Europe in '78 and in Brazil in the 90's, when

the Model T’s amazing success, eventual y

the front-wheel-drive Golf (started as ‘Rab-

led to a contract for Ferdinand Porsche to

bit’ in 1974) took over from its predecessor.

design and develop such a ‘folks wagon’.

The rest, as they say, is history.

But Mexico still needed dependable, low-

cost transportation. The Beetle continued to

I clearly recall the first Volkswagens in the

roll of the assembly line there. Sales flour-

war-torn Germany of 1946, being a car buff

ished until many more Mexicans could af-

since an early age. Later, for my driving

ford to buy automobiles of more contempo-

test, I had to master the skill of double-

rary design. Beetles were used as taxis, po-

clutching, needed to smoothly shift gears in

lice cars, delivery vans, and basic family

a non-synchronized transmission. I also re-

transport. At last, in July 2003, ‘Herbie’ re-

member that, when driving through a forest

tired after a very ‘ inventful’ life at age 69.

on a cool morning, the oxygen–rich air of-

fered the under-powered Beetle a noticea-

ble power boost.

Like the steering-wheel, the Beetle’s basic

shape has never changed. When improve-

ments to the body were made, the adver-

tisment would ask, for example: “How many

of the 22 body changes can you detect?”

As one ad explained, VW asked a famous

Italian auto designer to suggest improve-

ments to the first Beetle’s shape. After care-

fully studying the unique shape, the design-

Ying & Yang the VW way

by AMS

er admitted he could only recommend one

change: enlarge the rear window. This mi-

To real y appreciate this ‘antique’ car’s ver-

nor ‘tweaking’ altered the car’s features on

satility, remember that its platform and pow-

various occasions.

er-train was used by the VW “Transporter”,

as a ‘Microbus’ and a pickup – even with a

Technical improvements were incorporated

‘crew cab’.

time and again, and duly publicized. Con-

stant upgrading kept new Beetles rolling off

In reality, VW had the first Mini-Van. Had

the assembly lines and into showrooms

Volkswagen named it such, automotive his-

everywhere - 1,000,000 in 1955, 2 million in

tory would need to be re-written.

‘57, 3 mil in ‘59, 4 mil in ’60. Al told, more

The original Porsche also used the Beetle’s

simple, yet ingenious shape lives on in the

underpinnings, and later the stunning Kar-

New Beetle, as a beautiful convertible as

mann-Ghia. Earlier, Herbie had gotten his

well. A modern design front engine / front-

feet wet in the ‘Schwimmwagen’, then went

wheel-drive platform, shared with the Golf,

off-road in the form of the ‘Kübelwagen’.

replaces the air-cooled rear engine/drive.

Dunebuggies were also based on the same

(more on platform sharing in an upcoming

structure. Even a single-seater, open-wheel

article). Astonishingly, the Golf has already

racing class, Formula V, uses the Beetle’s

surpassed the 22+ million Beetles pro-



Numerous so-called replicars, Kit-Cars, also

Such has been the improvement in materi-

use the Beetle platform as their base plat-

als, components, systems, handling and

form to this day.

safety, that the Beetle’s younger brothers

can now safely be driven (or raced) with en-

gines in the mid two-hundred horsepower,

in the RSi, GTI or R32.

A long way from the twenty four ponies that

“powered” my first drive.

For those of us who absolute need more

VW information, here we go ….

Volkswagen history in 5 minute videos

Part 1:

One — or two? Volkswagen(s) in a parade by AMS



Over time, Herbie became an accomplished

Part 2:

movie star as well, performing in Walt Dis-


ney films, as well as in documentaries, ac-


tion films, and unforgettable, award winning





One such ad showed a warm, cozy home,


while outside a typical Canadian snowstorm


rages. The front door opens and a man,


dressed in winter clothing, struggles out

Part 5:

against the blizzard’s fury. As he does, a


voice-over announcer says, "ever wonder


how the man who drives a snowplow gets to

the snowplow?" At that moment the man

weird and wonderful beetle bugs at:

steps into a Beetle, barely visible through


the snowstorm. The typical sound of the air-


cooled engine starting up is heard, and the

“VW” on one hubcap is seen as the car


drives away.


Since 1997, after more than five years of


development, the ‘New Beetle’ now reminds

KG0 a funny ‘beetle’ video advertisement us of times gone by. The original Beetle’s

Duesenberg, the ultimate American luxury car

Lavish, luxurious and powerful automobiles

lowed the famed Beetle, and the audacious

are experiencing glory days again. Isn’t it

Audi A8L can almost hold the diminutive A1

nice to dream?

in its trunk.

Rolls Royce has a new model; a convertible

Back here in the new world, Cadillac crafted

and an extra-long version are being devel-

a concept of a huge ‘Sixteen’ ultra-luxury


car, and is still pondering possible produc-


Bentley has several new models and cannot

build them fast enough.

And now comes word of another serious

attempt to reincarnate one of the most fa-

These names are familiar, others not so.

mous of all: Duesenberg.

Many once famous names fell victim to the

great depression, others to WWII: Auburn,

August and Fritz Duesenberg, bicycle mak-





ers in Iowa in 1900, became interested in

Packard and others.

something a little faster: the newest fad –

auto-buggies. One thing led to another, and

the brothers –sounds familiar?- got hooked

on racing.

In the 1910s they met with success; in 1921

they won the French Grand Prix, the first

time an American manufacturer had entered

such a race, and that did not happen again

until the 1960s. The Duesenbergs were vic-

torious at the Indy 500 in 1921, when, for

the first time in racing history, they fitted four

hydraulically operated drum-brakes on their

Concours d’Elegance winning Duesenberg Torpedo

racecar. They repeated their Indianapolis

victory in 1922 and ’24.

As times turned, attempts were made to

resurrect some of these makes. In the Es-

When the by now famous ‘D’ became part

quire issue of December 1963, Virgil M.

of the Auburn-Cord Group, new models for

Exner, a preeminent stylist of the time, pre-the 1930s were launched: the superlative

sented the design-suggestions for the "Re-

models J, SJ, and SSJ.

vival Cars". Without financing from the ‘ma-

jors’ the attempt failed.

“They are a Duesy.” That figure of speech is

attributed to the Duesenberg, but it can be

Overseas, Bugatti struggled along, failed,

traced back to much earlier times: English

was revitalized and failed again. Only now,

slang as early as the 1830s used the name

owned by Europe’s largest auto maker, is

of the flower daisy to express something of

Bugatti coming to market again. Maybach,

high quality, such as a horse: “She is a real

under the wing of DaimlerChrysler, made a

daisy.” And then came a stunning Italian

comeback in the new century, trying to out-

actress by the name of Eleonora Duse,

do Rolls Royce in opulence and power.

whose fame had spread worldwide even

Even familiar makes, and formerly everyday

before her first appearance in New York in

ones, try to overshadow mighty Mercedes.

1893. Writes Michael Quinon in his excel-

The tiny BMW Isetta bubble car spawned

lent website for word geeks, worldwide-

the ‘Big Bimmer’, the fabulous Phaeton fol-

words.org: “Something Dusey was clearly

“These posh, stylish automobiles wil be

excellent of its kind, and it is very likely that

based on the Mercedes-Benz CL 500. Pow-

it and daisy became amalgamated in peo-

er will come from an air-cooled, super-

ple’s minds to create a new term.”

charged V12 power plant with 300 horse-

Regardless of the spelling.

power. It is likely that the suspension of the

vehicle will be provided by the new linear

electromagnetic motor system from Bose,

world renowned for other quality products.”

Declares Dave Hartje, who owns the

Duesenberg marque: “It’s definitely happen-


It’s unquestionably not a ‘replicar’, but it wil

carry enough distinctive Duesenberg styling

elements to clearly identify its heritage.

Claims one of the principals, Ian Foo: “We

still need a hand-built ultra-luxury car.”

Yeah, wouldn’t you like to win the lottery?

Back to the future: Engage automotive artist

That would be a duesy.

Jeff Teague, who was a senior stylist at

Mitsubishi, and who showed his talent at

Ford with the sensational Taurus and Mer-

cury Sable in 1984. After a turn as chief de-

signer at Volkswagen, Teague opened his

own studio. He has now immersed himself

in the revival of the Duesy with a drop-dead

gorgeous sculpture of an automobile.

Teague Design Inc, together with other

companies, is planning to handcraft a small

A Tomahawk / Viper-like bike is also envisioned

number of the Duesenberg ‘Torpedo Coupé’

from 2007 on.

Duesenberg Model J

Duesenbergs are considered the Rolls Royce of the Americas. An occasional one being sold at an auction will go for between 2 and 3 million dollars.

Talk-show host Jay Leno has more than one Duesenbeg among his extensive car collection. An interesting story in Popular Mechanics decribes the efforts that car collectors are willing to make to refurbish their prized posession.

Check out the story of Jay Leno’s Duesen-

berg collection and his garage.

An automobile with a history like none other

Just relax and imagine ….

cause few people remember this famous

You are a car fanatic and you’ve won the

marque from before World War II.

lottery. Big time. Your business is as profit-

able as before, but you bought the premises

Wilhelm Maybach was Gottlieb Daimler’s

you had leased until ‘t hat day’. You invested

chief engineer and designed the first Mer-

wisely, and the surplus pays for all you

cedes, even before the company merged

could ever wish for.

with Karl Benz. Years later he left Daimler-

Benz, and with his son Karl founded their

You built a new house with a separate barn

own ‘Motor-Works’, constructing aircraft en-

as hobby-workshop /garage for enough ve-


hicles, so you don’t have to drive the same

car twice in a week.

From 1921 to 1941 Maybach produced leg-

endary automobiles, famous for their quality

Your family has a luxury SUV, your wife can

in engineering and materials. After the war

pick the Mercedes or the Chrysler 300C for

the company’s production changed to large

shopping trips. Your two children can swap

industrial engines, and in 1960 Maybach

the Mini Cooper S, the Golf GTI, the hybrid

became part of Daimler-Benz again.

Prius or the cool Element to drive to school.

You like to drive the Explorer or the F-150

“When the firm, now DaimlerChrysler, de-

pickup to the “store”. For out-of-town trips

cided to produce an ultra-luxury automo-

there is the BMW or the Lexus. Going to the

bile”, Boni continues, “they already had a

club or to visit friends you and your wife pick

distinguished name and emblem, the two

between the Porsche, the Cadillac XLR, the

interlocking M.”

Corvette and the stylish Murano.

“Actual y, today’s Maybach is based on the

But what to drive on the weekend?

long version of the last-generation Mer-

cedes S-class, but the body is much more

A little more pampering after a hard work-

aerodynamic, with barely any wind-noise”.

week would be nice. But you don’t want to

show off in a Rolls-Royce. You don’t want to

“Make yourselves comfortable on the sofa”,

waste time waiting for a Bugatti sedan, the

Sam went on. “As you both know, each

Cadillac Sixteen, a come-back Duesenberg

Maybach is built to order, so I’l show you a

or possibly a Horch.

short video of your car’s construction-

process on our computerized wall-screen. I How about getting a Maybach? Yeah, that can change the exterior colors on the

sounds ok. Last year’s investment earnings

screen; perhaps you have a favorite purse

should cover that; Let’s do it.

or dress, madam, we could match the tones

to compliment that. When you’ve made that

Arrangements are made at the big city’s MB

decision, folks, I’l print out a poster for you.

dealership; “That’s fine, your Maybach Rela-

tionship Manager will meet you in our new

Later, Sam presents your wife a hard-cover

Maybach studio next door tomorrow after-

catalogue with sample-chips of fine wood-


veneer squares, leather swatches and

paintwork samples. A coffee-table book of

Sam Boni meets you and your wife as you

the Maybach history is included, as well as

arrive and offers refreshments. After intro-

a booklet on the new-edition model. The

ductions and a few pleasantries he starts:

pouch on the inside back cover contains

“Let me first tell you about our history, be

CDs with a copy of the video you saw, and

system allowing simultaneous viewing of a

also of the printed material”.

VHF-TV program, a video on the other

screen – each wearing wireless head-

“You both appear familiar with fine automo-

speakers - and your choice of music at the

biles; you know what you want”, Sam Boni

front with six-disc CD.”

concluded, after discussing the bi-turbo V12

engine, the six-speed-automatic’s features

“You will most likely need several days to go

(capable to out-run a Porsche Carrera), and

over the printed and recorded material

explaining the computerized air-suspension

again”, Sam said on parting. “When you

and the ‘Adaptive Damping System’ with

have made all the little choices, mail me the

driver-selectable settings to change spring

details and ask your bank manager to send

and damper calibrations.

me the $50k deposit we discussed. It’l take

about another six months until your car will

Sam meticulously explains the only options:

be delivered to you in its container, and I’l

the liquid-crystal electro-transparent roof

be there to go over everything with your

panel and the roof-mounted solar module

family again”.

powering a cabin ventilation system.

“If you are in Europe again in the meantime,

By this time you both are familiar with the

let me know”, Sam added, “I’l arrange to

four-zone automatic climate system, the

have a Mercedes at the airport for you, and

standard rear reclining seats with internal

you can inspect your Maybach under con-

heating, cooling and massage and electric

struction. — Talk to you soon”.


“Your children will be impressed with the

The ultimate automobile – before World War II, and again at

the turn of the Millennium

Maybach’s DVD player with two screens in

the front seatbacks, and the three-program-

Admiring and desiring a sixty year old beauty

This shapely, well-rounded, almost sixty-

small-diameter tubing would have been

year-old turns heads wherever she appears:

weakened by deep cut-outs for normally

the ‘Gullwing’.

shaped doors; instead, part of the roof was

cut out of the fairly low car to gain a suffi-

As an avid car fan, you undoubtedly know

ciently large opening to enter.

about the 1950s’ Mercedes-Benz 300SL

with the funny doors, looking like a seagull

The ‘Gullwing’ is considered one of the all-

about to take flight.

time masterpieces of styling and engineer-

ing. Like today’s Ferrari ‘Enzo’, it was a

Emulated by DeLorean and the Canadian

racecar made for the road. It started life by

Bricklin sportscars, the 300SL’s doors

winning the ‘Twenty-four Hours of Le Mans’

turned out this way by necessity. The car’s

and the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico in

space-frame, made up of a multitude of

the early 1950s.

Canada in the early 1960s, we used Toron-

Max Hoffman, the New York importer who

to’s then-new, and not yet open to the public

also brought the Volkswagen Beetle to

Don Valley Parkway to road-test the SLs at

America, convinced Mercedes to build a

speeds that would get you hand-cuffed to-

production version; the rest, as they say, is

day. I don’t know if I ever drove Pierre El iot

history: in 1954 the 300SL was introduced.

Trudeau’s roadster –he was still an un-

known at the time, but Oscar Peterson was

Working as a technician at Mercedes-Benz

already on his way to fame as a musician; I

drove his SL whenever I had serviced it – or

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the

is it ‘Her’?

300SL, Mercedes is now offering a twenty-

first century version, which they named

When one of these automotive icons needs

SLR. This car is as remarkable as the origi-

to be restored now, they are shipped to a

nal, for several reasons: McLaren, the race-

Small shop near Peterborough, Ontario,

car builder, is producing the vehicles and

where a World Champion Restorer (he

will only make a total of 3500 over a five

earned that title) works his magic on rare

year period. The first two years’ production

and cherished classics. As he told me once,

have already been sold, at about $ 400.000

he cornered that part of the market by thor-

each, with little more than the show car and

ough research and a clever business move,

a few promises from Mercedes; such is the

which was costly at the time, but is paying

faith of this class of customer in Mercedes.

off now; He bought all remaining original

interiors A ‘good condition’ Gullwing is

worth a quarter of a million dollars today.

During my time at their headquarters I wit-

Benz. Components are fastened to the car-

nessed one well-to-do Gullwing owner sign

bon-fiber passenger cell. Chassis parts are

and hand over a blank cheque for the sen-

also molded in extremely strong plastic ma-

sational C111 experimental car – “I hope

terial, as are suspension parts, the seats

they make them before I’m too old to enjoy

and body panels.

driving them”. That model was never pro-

duced, though, - to the chagrin of pundits.

Like the show car prototype, the 2005 pro-

duction SLR uses components from the

Another reason the new SLR is remarkable,

McLaren F1 design. As wel , the SLR’s face

is that it is fabricated of composite plastics

gives away its family connection with the

as explained in the article about ‘fantastic

Formula One by integrating the wing into

plastic’. Yes, a “plastic” car from Mercedes-

the gril . On this ‘street car’ the vehicle’s

front shape is as functional as on a competi-

torque and 617 HP. They also report that

tion car: creating down-force and channel-

Mercedes engineers have put considerable

ing air to the engine and disk-brakes, which

effort into tuning the sound of the engine,

are also made of plastic.

making it conform to European limitations,

yet letting the ‘sound and fury’ of this super-

Another unusual feature of the SLR is its

car come to the fore.

engine placement at the front. Most super-

cars these days are ‘mid-engined’, with the

One item on the SLR bothers me: by giving

engine mounted right behind the two seats.

the new car ‘scissors doors’, opening partly

The SLR follows the form of a classic GT,

upward and partly forward, Mercedes

with a long hood, contrary to the ‘cab-

missed the potential greatness that the orig-

forward’, short overhang style of most other

inal Gullwing attained.

high performance cars seen today.

[They took the advice, and the new version

Journalists who have already driven the

is shown on the second page of this article]

SLR, claim that the acceleration of the 1693

kg car compares with a catapult launch off

Regardless, I am not too old to enjoy driving

an aircraft carrier, thanks to the super-

this car either; anyone offering that drive?

charged 5.4 liter V8 engine with 575 lb-ft of

These two photos show the earlier version –

SLR- with so-called scissors doors, opening forward and up. It was developed by


Mercedes–AMG is doing the newer model -

SLS- with Gullwing doors. It will be available with either a supercharged V8 engine or as

the E-Cell electric vehicle with 4 motors of a combined 525 hp.

Self-proclaimed “expert” slams promising new type of car

Ralph Nader was absolutely, totally, wrong.

tight corner, the car's suspension configura-

tion was prone to oversteer (loose in NAS-

He caused the extinction of the Corvair, a

CAR terms), a problem shared, incidentally,

most promising, distinctive car.

by the early Porsche 911, which had an al-

most identical suspension, as well as an air-

General Motors used the same construction

cooled, rear-mounted engine, just like the

principles as the successful Volkswagen


Beetle and the Porsche, in their answer to

fledgling imports, when they developed an

However, the more expensive Porsches

entirely new-to-America way of building

cars; a North American ‘peoples

tended to be driven by more experienced

-car’, in

drivers who knew how to counter-steer and


keep steady pressure on the throttle when

It was all new and different: a body and

the car began to oversteer during cornering

frame as one welded-together ‘ unibody’, a

— whereas the typical Corvair driver, with

lightweight aluminum air-cooled engine,

little or no experience driving high-

mounted at the rear of a car with independ-

performance cars, would do what seemed

ent suspension, with designed-in front and

natural, and let off the gas, making the prob-

rear ‘ crumple zones’ for increased safety.

lem much worse.” End of quote.

Sounds like a Porsche — exactly.

Quoting from the book ‘Historic Muscle

Cars’: “The Corvair's handling was excep-

tional for its day — unprecedented at that

time for an American car. Crisp steering

made it extremely nimble and highly ma-

neuverable. Compared to the American

(and many European) cars of the period, the

Corvair was agile and athletic”.

But it was these very qualities that inadvert-

ently led to the car's now-historic reputation

Corvair unibody, drive-train and suspension components;

as an evil-handling and "dangerous" ride.

Illustration from CORSA – see note at the end.

Chevrolet made considerable improvement

to the Corvair’s handling, but Nader’s

book ”Unsafe at any speed” had already

done irreversible damage to this promising

car’s image.

At just about this time the Mustang ap-

peared, and Americans’ hunger for horse-

This car looks safe and modern – even in 2011 -GM Archive

power preferred V8 muscle cars — gasoline

was still cheap.

Driven normally, [click, and read the comment by the NHTSA in paragraph three] the Corvair was

Corvair ‘ firsts’, such as the unibody con-

no more prone to loss of control than any

struction, independent suspension and alu-

other car of its time. However, when driven

minum-alloy engine, have become com-

aggressively, especially if thrown hard into a

monplace in new car design.

Now, imagine what could have happened, if

911 up-to-date in styling, technology and in

Nader’s so-called automotive experts had

manufacturing quality and durability.

gotten their hands on a Porsche — beyond


The newest version has the PASM option or

"Porsche Active Suspension Management."

The Porsche 911, and the Type 356 before

This lets you drive to work with a ‘sedan

it, have won more trophies than Nader got

suspension feeling’. With the flick of a

votes during several attempts at the Presi-

switch the dampers stiffen up, the car drops


almost half an inch and the electronic safety

features let you ‘hang the back out’ a little

Porsches have become the aspiration of


drivers around the world, thanks to being

safe at any speed.

This neat little ‘trophy shopping cart’ comes

in four body styles: Coupe, Targa, Cabriolet

My first drive in a ‘356’ came when my fa-

(convertible) and Speedster. The Coupe is

ther’s friend let me try his pride and joy –

the 'standard' style, the Targa is like a

alone, while still a teenager. This model be-

Coupe but has a roll bar and a removable

came a huge success as a sportscar, even


before its famous successor.

Back to Nader — as they say, “a little

The 911 has been with us for forty years

knowledge is a dangerous thing”, and his

now. The unmistakable, easy to recognize

“experts are people who know a lot about

body shape was designed by Ferdinand Al-

very little”. Certainly very little about cars!

exander "Butzi" Porsche, the ‘Professor’s

grandson. Another grandson, Ferdinand

How wrong they were. Some experts !!!

Piech, who later was in charge of the

Volkswagen Group, developed the equally

The Beetle, nicknamed the baby Corvair,

unmistakable sounding “boxer-type”, flat six

proved Nader wrong 21 million times, and


Porsche’s winning ways don’t wane.

More than a quarter of a million have been

built in about fifty variations. Early models

used an engine of 2.0 liters capacity which

has grown to almost four liters over time.

More power produces more heat, and the

latest engines are now water-cooled.

The little company has built a reputation for

reliable high-performance cars that can win

a race on Sunday and be used to go shop-

ping during the week.

Less extreme in shape than its competitors,

variants of the Porsche 911 have won en-

durance races around the world, won the

Frequent winner ‘Yenko Stinger’ Corvair ‘hanging out the

‘Paris to Dakar’ extreme rally two times and

back?’ –NOT- Handling looks absolutely neutral.

Don Yenko photo

the ‘24 Hours of Le Mans’ no less than six-

teen times.

Note: The website of The Corvair Society of America (CORSA) offers 445 pages of valuable Corvair information, over 1,000 pictures, and links to 200 other

Continuous improvements have kept the

Corvair sites; a real treasure trove.

A V12 engine is so run of the mill

Cadillac's tradition is rich in style and quali-

‘Sixteen’ refers to the 16-cylinder, 1000-

ty. This will continue with vehicles as solid, horsepower engine. Cadillac gained a mys-dynamic and beautifully designed as any-

tifying reputation during the '30s because of

thing ever done before. The Cadil ac ‘Six-

the industry's first V-16 engine. Today, the

teen’ concept car is an indication of this new

engine bay really pays tribute to the V-16,

era. “The Sixteen is a modern interpretation

said Wayne Cherry, GM's vice president of

of everything that made Cadillac the stand-

design. It's like a setting for a diamond,

ard of the world and can again”, said Robert

clean and simple. The under-hood was de-

Lutz, GM vice chairman for product devel-

signed with the same care and attention as

opment and chairman of GM North America.

the interior. The engine compartment, with

its sculpted design, has drama. Hinged

about a center spine that runs the length of

the expansive hood, it makes an event out

of opening the power-operated hood panels

of the engine bay.

The concept car’s 32-valve V-16 engine

displaces 13.6 liters and features fuel-

saving DOD (Displacement on Demand)

technology. This allows the engine to run on

four, eight or all 16 cylinders, as needed, to

save fuel. During a recent test-drive from

Cadillac advertisement of the 1930s Detroit to California, the engine operated on

eight cylinders 65 percent of the time, four

Since General Motors persuaded Bob Lutz

cylinders 30 percent of the time and the full

to interrupt his retirement, he has trans-

16 only 5 percent of the time. Average fuel

formed the thinking at GM of what a car

economy was 11.8 l/100 km.

should look like, in order to create passion

among car buyers again. Several models

DOD will debut on some 2005 GM models,

coming to market during the next few years

wil prove that a single ‘car guy’ can infl

shutting down cylinders during most driving


ence a manufacturer’s fortunes more than a

conditions and automatically and seamless-

ly reactivating them for more demanding

committee of marketers and accountants

conditions, such as brisk acceleration or

did in the recent past.

load hauling.

The ‘Sixteen’ will be to our time what the

Describing such a splendid vehicle from car-

Rolls Royce was during the last century.

show memory and pictures, I find myself at

Quoting the manufacturers of the concept-

a loss for words; I’l let the eloquent prose of

car, General Motors and the Alcoa alumi-

num company: “In form, power and op

the marketing professionals from GM con-


tinue: “As an exterior statement, the Six-

lence, the Cadillac Sixteen embodies the

teen's proportional composition is bold. The

timeless qualities of an exceptionally luxuri-

aluminum hood is long, giving the car tre-

ous super-sedan with its sleek, gemstone

mendous dash-to-axle dimension; the wheel

appearance. The rear-wheel-drive Sixteen

arches were designed to accommodate the

brings forth the exclusivity and grandeur of

beautiful 24-inch polished aluminum wheels.

the custom-built Fleetwood coach cars of

The four-door hardtop incorporates an all-

the 1930s for today's generation of exceed-

glass roof and is without B-pillars. [between

ingly well-heeled customers of discerning

front and rear doors] Crisp-edged lines of


the midnight silver aluminum body panels

structure provide substantial weight ad-

accentuate the Cadillac Sixteen's striking

vantages for the 140”-wheelbase automo-


bile. Steering all four of the huge wheels

enhances the 223-inch-long giant’s maneu-

“The interior is a pure expression of design,


said Cherry. Premium materials in luxury

refinement are fine woods, precision-cut

“This car offers premier refinement and

metals and crystal. They've all been com-

craftsmanship, said Cherry. Its ultra-

bined and balanced in harmony in the Six-

contemporary technical detailing is evident

teen. The hand-stitched, Tuscany leather

throughout. The Sixteen's exterior propor-

upholstered seats nestle the occupants. The

tions and its superb, handcrafted interior try

right rear seat features power adjustable

to recall the splendor of the hand-built cus-

slope to recline like a chaise-lounge. Warm,

tom car era. The prototype’s proportions

hand-woven silk carpets the floor in a light

were crafted with great attention to detail

color that matches the leather upholstery.

and homage to classic design, said Brian

The dash, door panels, and front and rear

Smith, exterior designer. The Sixteen is be-

consoles are trimmed with walnut burl ve-

fitting of the great Cadillac tradition as the

neer inlays.

standard of the world.

“The lighting is architectural, enhancing the

I could not agree more; and I would be ex-

mood and desirability of the Sixteen's interi-

cited to see a Sixteen on the street at any

or space, complementing its shapes and

time. - I bet you would be too.

colors, said Eric Clough, interior designer.

Technique combines with technology for a

sophisticated, pampered ambience.

“The extensive use of aluminum compo-

nents, and an aluminum-steel chassis-

General Motors picture

Charging ahead to living better - electrically

"Never in my 40-year career have I been as

Suspicious minds had been wondering why

excited about something as I am about the

General Motors awarded development con-

Volt project”, said Robert Lutz at the recent

tracts in December of 2006 to two compa-

North American International Auto Show

nies for automotive lithium-ion batteries.

(NAIAS) in Detroit [in January 2007]. Lutz is

The ‘General’ had no electric vehicle that

General Motors’ Chairman of Product De-

needed such an energy storage unit. Practi-


cal minds had been wondering why the

Honda or Toyota had not yet developed a

The ‘Volt’ is General Motors’ new electric

‘plug-in hybrid electric vehicle’ (PHEV).

vehicle (EV) concept, named E-flex.

Numerous electrical experts have recently

The publicity about the movie “Who Kil ed

modified their HEV with additional batteries

the Electric Car” had just faded away, when

to extend the driving distance on ‘green

General Motors reinCARnated their EV.

power’. At night, they plug in the battery

charger to fil up the ‘electric tank’ again.

Volt was THE sen-

sation at NAIAS.



covered it for sev-







about it for months

to come.

Why all the hype?

Because it is not




American company

introduces a new

technology. Honda

and Toyota pio-



hybrid electric ve-

hicles a few years

ago. Volkswagen and Audi offer their 1000+

km-per-tank diesel engines. DaimlerChrys-

Now, the word is out: Chevrolet will produce

ler is now advancing clean, ‘green’, frugal

plug-in hybrids. The Volt is the first true ‘se-

‘BlueTec’ diesel engines in certain Mer-

ries hybrid’. Until now, ‘parallel hybrids’

cedes, Jeep and smart models. This is pos-

used an electric motor to assist the smallish

sible in the wake of the recent introduction

engine - or vice versa - on take-off or on

of Ultra-low sulphur diesel-fuel in North

climbing hills.


A 160-horsepower electric motor drives the

Concerns about global warming and dwind-

front-wheel-drive Volt, giving 0-100 km/h

ling petroleum reserves are placing a new

acceleration of 8.5 seconds and a theoreti-

urgency on the development of even more

cal range of 640 miles. Nothing but an elec-

efficient and environment-friendly automo-

tric motor turns the Volt’s wheels, from the


energy stored in the battery pack. The car's

computer-controls monitor the state of

charge (SOC). When it is down to 30% of its

gasoline, would result in the equivalent of

capacity, a generator, driven by a small

150 mpg overall, amounting to 525 miles

three-cylinder engine, starts automatically to

per gallon of gasoline in the Chevy Volt. He

recharge the battery. When the battery has

notes that even if the owner forgets to plug

reached 80% of its capacity, the charging

the car in at night to recharge the battery

stops; this, GM says, assures that the lithi-

pack, the car will still get an estimated 50

um–ion batteries can be cycled (charged

mpg while the generator recharges the bat-

and discharged) more than four-thousand


times; they will be guaranteed for 10 years.

Without converting from the American

The engine driving the generator runs at a

measurements, which would result in une-

steady speed of 3200 revolutions per mi-

ven numbers, the math works this way: On

nute (RPM), no matter what your right foot

a 60-mile round trip every day to work, 40 of

is doing. At this constant speed there is no

those miles can be driven on the battery

need for fancy engine management soft-

only. The other 20 miles would be done with

ware, no need for variable valve timing and

the engine/generator running –- at 50 mpg.

other ‘hi-tech tricks’ commonly found on to-

The result is that you travel 60 miles on just

day’s combustion engines; this engine can

0.4 gallons of E85 blend, averaging 150

be produced very inexpensively indeed.


Plug-in hybrid cars use larger electric mo-

tors (and smaller combustion engines) than

today's hybrids.

That's why research is intensifying on au-

tomotive-type lithium-ion batteries, which

offer about twice the power and half the

weight of today's nickel-metal hydride bat-

teries, as used in the Toyota Prius.

"We see real potential in using electricity as

the majority fuel and as a real competitive

advantage for us. We're taking a calculated

gamble on this E-flex vehicle system, mak-

ing the bet that the Lithium-Ion batteries will

be there when the vehicles are ready, likely

in 2010 to 2012", Lutz said.

Depending on the intended market area, E-

flex concepts at other Auto Shows might

feature a diesel generator, bio-diesel, natu-

ral gas, 100-percent ethanol (E-100) or, ul-

timately, a hydrogen-powered fuel cell to

charge the battery.

The Volt can also be plugged in to a stand-

Contact-less energy transfer systems are

ard wall outlet for a 6.5 hour recharge,

also undergoing development; without plug-

hence “plug-in hybrid”.

ging in, the battery is being recharged when

parked over an embedded, automatic, in-

Bob Lutz estimates that, burning E85, a fuel

ductive recharging station.

blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent

The rise and fall of luxury automobiles

James Bond was baffled. Where would he

Mans and the DB3 did well in sales, as well

get his next movie car?

as in competition.

Ford Motor Company sold Aston Martin in

In 1959 Aston Martin won the Sportscar

early 2007, - that small company, building

World Championship, but the name never

luxurious high-performance sportscars. Alt-

gained fame, as did Ferrari.

hough Agent 007 has driven different cars in the much adored spy movies, one of his fa-But more than any victories could have ac-

vorites is the Aston Martin.

complished, the DB5, with James Bond driv-

ing, conquered the world, so to speak, in

Don’t worry, James Bond, be happy; David

1964 with “Goldfinger”.

Richards, one of the new owners and chair-

person of Aston Martin, promised, "We are

confident we now have all the right ingredi-

ents to take Aston Martin to even greater

heights", according to The Guardian news-


Aston Martin has had a turbulent, colorful history since Lionel Martin and Robert Bam-ford formed the company in the UK in 1914

near Aston Clinton; hence the name. Al-

ways ‘geared’ towards competition and de-

signed for the affluent, production has re-

007 & DB5

mained small over the decades.

Over the years, technology marched on,

and the DB9R is the current model conquer-

ing racetracks of the world. Dignified, sporty

models were developed over time; from the

$110,000 V8 Vantage to the $260,000 V12

Vanquish. The fourth model going into pro-

duction is the DBS, publicized in the latest

James Bond film “Casino Royale”.

This recent expansion was not possible dur-

ing the 1970s or ‘80s when Aston Martin

had again changed ownership and contin-

1937 2 Liter short chassis

ued to stagnate. In 1987 things started to

look up when Ford acquired 75% of the

Aston Martin entered the famous 24 Hours

company and expanded this to 100% in

of Le Mans race first 1928, but continued to

1994. With Ford’s help, the small firm re-

struggle throughout the 1930s and lan-

covered from a production of only 46 cars in

guished thru World War II. In 1947, industri-

1992, and is now selling about seven thou-

alist David Brown bought the company and

sand vehicle a year around the world at se-

lent his initials to the DB series of cars. The

lect dealerships. A new factory was added,

DB1 entered and won an endurance race,

and Aston Martin now has about 100 deal-

the DB2 had some success at Le

ers worldwide, Canada having three, in

Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Under the present difficulties of the North

hour race itself. You may have seen the in-

American auto industry, Ford now sold a

tense battle and lead changes with the rac-

prosperous part of their empire. [03/2007]

ing Corvettes on TV.

The new owners of Aston Martin are a con-

sortium including Richards, John Sinders,

Investment Dar and Adeem Investment. The

last two entities are international financial

institutions based in Kuwait; Sinders is a car

collector and backer of Prodrive Racing,

which is headed by David Richards.

Prodrive is one of the new ‘niche compa-

nies’ emerging in the automotive world, and

is already scheduled to enter into Formula1

racing in 2008. Now, as owners of Aston

Martin, and with Middle-East backing, the

Even more high-tech, Prodrive developed

new group could become a serious rival for

and managed Honda’s Formula1 car and

Ferrari, on road and track.

B.A.R. team for several years. Canadian

World Champion Jacques Villeneuve pa-

Prodrive has emerged as one of the world’s

tiently helped in the development of the car

leading automotive technology and motor-

and team. (more about J V soon)

sport businesses. It employs more than

1000 people in the UK, Germany, USA and

With this technical expertise and engineer-

Australia and formed a foothold in Bangkok

ing skill, and its own proving ground and

and Shanghai.

four-kilometer test track, Prodrive has en-

tered into the mainstream of the automotive

Down under, Prodrive works with Ford Rac-

industry. They plan to create additional jobs

ing in the V8 Supercar Championship Se-

at Aston Martin and expand sales into Rus-

ries and produces about two thousand mod-

sia and Asia.

ified Fords per year for demanding custom-

ers, much as AMG does for Mercedes or

SVO for Ford in the US.

Prodrive is also a top independent motor-

sport business, preparing competition vehi-

cles for major manufacturers. Subaru has

won six World Rally Championships with

cars developed by Prodrive. Beside success

with Subaru, Prodrive has won more than

130 international rallies with Porsche, BMW

and MG. In racing touring cars over the

years, Prodrive has had victorious with Alfa

Romeo, BMW, Ford, Honda and Volvo.

The team achieved its greatest accom-

plishment up to that time by winning its

class at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a Ferrari

in 2003. This lead to Prodrive’s connection

Is it any wonder that Ford entrusted one of

with Aston Martin, preparing their cars for

the world’s most famous brands to the Pro-

the American Le Mans series and the 24-

drive team?

Automobiles in Art and as Art

"I tried to portray speed pictorially. If a car is

The three-months long The Art of the Mo-

moving really quickly, all the lines and col-

torcycle at the Guggenheim Museum in ors are blurred", explained pop art legend

New York City in 1998, and elsewhere, was

Andy Warhol after he covered his BMW ‘Art

the best visited museum show of all times.

Car’ with sweeping paint strokes in 1979.

Like any new art form, automotive art did

not become entrenched overnight.

Toulouse Lautrec may have been the first

automotive artist by creating the lithograph

The Motorist in 1896.

In his 1968 Theories of Modern Art, Her-

schel B. Chipp quotes the Italian futurist Fil-

ippo Tommaso Marinetti, who wrote in

1908, "We declare the splendor of the world

has been enriched with a new form of beau-

ty, the beauty of speed. A race automobile

adorned with great pipes like serpents with

explosive breath, a race-automobile, which

seems to rush over exploding powder, is

Art Cars borrow from fine art, folk art, out-

more beautiful than the Winged Victory of

sider art, street art, advertising, the automo-


bile industry, current trends, religion, sci-

ence, politics, literature, sex, architecture,

Further back in time, European gypsies

design, photography, the landscape, and

decorated their wagons, and farmers their

nearly anything else you can think of”, one

ox carts, to show their talent or advertise

art critic observed.

their wares.

Until recently, I had not considered this as

serious art. I had admired automotive art

before in photography, paintings, sculptures

and in the sheet-metal. However, if Andy

Warhol’s and the other BMW Art Cars are chosen for sold out showings at the Royal

Academy in London, the Palazzo Grassi in

Venice, Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, the

Guggenheim Museums in New York and

Bilbao, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg or at

the Louvre in Paris, then we should accept

them as art.

Gratefully acknowledging this photo from flickr

Every self respecting museum in the world

Pin striping, airbrushed murals, flames and

is now clamoring to have at least one, or

special paint jobs allow individual owners to

better a few, Art Cars on display at one time rebel against the bland uniformity of mass

or another.

production. Recent niche vehicle fabrication

is the auto industry’s attempt to eliminate

A similar show, ‘ Cars as Art’, happened in

that dilemma for well-off customers. We

1995 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.

could consider hot rods and low riders as

swered, "I love the car; it's better than the

the older ’cousins’ of the Art Cars.

work of art itself."

The recognized Art Car artists were by no This car was raced only once, during the

means the first to use a vehicle as a ‘can-

1979 ‘Twenty Four Hours’, by Manfred Win-

vas’. The ancestors of the famous BMW

kelhock from Germany and Herve Poulain

collection are the colorful Jeepneys in the and Marcel Mignot from France. The ‘War-Philippines, Mexico’s, and Panama’s paint-

hol’ placed second in class and sixth over-

ed buses, the decorated trucks in Pakistan

all, a masterpiece in itself.

and Afghanistan and Haiti’s multi-colored

‘tap-tap’ buses.

By now, fifteen BMWs [now seventeen]

have had multi-colored, geographic, geo-

metric or random ‘make up’ applied to them

by renowned artists from countries around

the world.

A special Art Car is in the works for 2007.

Olafur Eliasson was commissioned to trans-

form the record-breaking H2R. [another arti-

cle] He explains: "A laboratorial process to

research the spectrum of sustainable ener-

gy and energy awareness, with a particular

interest in hydrogen as a potential future

energy-source. This is within the context of

my current work that engages with the

whole complex of the individual's relation

The chronicle of the Art Cars began in 1975,

towards mobility, time and space."

when racecar driver Herve Poulain asked

Alexander Calder to do magic on his 480 hp

“Art Cars document the fascinating link be-

Bimmer before he raced it in the 24 Hours

tween art and technology. They reflect the

of Le Mans. Some artsy BMW exec liked

cultural-historical development of art, design

what he saw, and in 1976 the Bavarians

and technology”, explained one reviewer.

commissioned Frank Stella to use the same

model of car as his drawing board.

Addendum: I would deprive you of knowing

more about automotive art, if I would not

The next year Roy Lichtenstein “used paint-

point out that not only the West is into this,

ed lines as a road, pointing the way for the

but the East as well. At the 2008 Olympics

car”. The year after that, it was Andy War-

more Art Cars came to the fore in Beijing.

hol’s turn.

Most of the artists used a scale model to

develop their art, and then craftspeople

transferred the work to the full size car.

Andy Warhol insisted on painting the real

M1 sports-racer himself. Reports have him

using all of twenty-three minutes to com-

plete his masterpiece; for that personal

touch, he used his fingers on the paint.

When asked if he liked the result, he an-

From farm tractors to the world’s most stylish cars

“There is obviously something wrong, when

Ferruccio did quite well, but when he looked

wealthy executives have to retire to find

for a nice new car, he did not like the all-to-

meaning in life; becoming involved in fund-

common (in his circles) Ferrari. So he

raising and administration for charitable or-

hatched a plan to build his own supercar.

ganizations”, writes Walter Buckingham in

his book ‘Automation’.

These “poor” people stil need leisure time

after a life of closing million-dollar deals on

the golf course and ‘hitting the sack’ in a

five-hundred-dollar hotel room.

What to do? Chasing tranquility with yachts

costing more than a family home feels too

slow a pace. Buy a Ferrari? Naa, too run of

the mill; everybody wants to drive a Ferrari.

How about a Lamborghini? A what? Oh yea, Lamborghini is still producing modern tractors – 1994 model

I heard about them; very special car,

Lamborghini secured the services of the

sounds more sensible.

best Italian designers and engineers. With a close kinship to the farming community, he

Ferruccio Lamborghini had a similar dilem-

selected a charging bull as the emblem of

ma. He grew up on his parents’ farm, but

his new company and as the badge on his

did not enjoy nature as much as technology.

cars. From a new factory in Sant'Agata the After technical studies he came to be in

first cars charged the roads in 1964.

charge of vehicle maintenance of the Italian

army during World War II. At war’s end, he

Success came not so easy this time. The

started buying military vehicles and convert-

1973 oil embargo and the following reces-

ing them into much needed farm tractors.

sion forced Lamborghini to sell 51% of this

Quality workmanship and loyal customers

company to a Swiss businessman, and in

earned him respect. But these machines

1974 he sold the remaining 49% shares.

were not quite the right tool for farming.

Unfamiliar with the world of wheels, the new

owners did not succeed. New Italian owners

could not get the business out of low gear


In 1987 the Chrysler Corporation bought

Lamborghini as part of its expansion plans.

Chrysler President Lee Iacocca decided that

the Italian firm should enter Formula 1. A

new engine was developed and supplied to

several teams. Progress and even success

in form of podium places resulted.

In 1992 new Chrysler chairman Bob Eaton

In 1948 Lamborghini bought a small work-

decided that the engines would be re-

shop, where he developed, produced and

badged Chrysler and that the corporation

sold modern farm tractors.

would mount a bigger F1 attack in 1994.

McLaren built a test car for Chrysler, and

Gallardo RS Spyder, again a very different

Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen both test-

approach to open-air driving, will follow in

ed a McLaren-Lamborghini. At the last mi-

2006. With these meticulously crafted,

nute, however, McLaren decided on a

magnificently finished rolling sculptures the

Peugeot engine, which caused Chrysler to

planned annual production of two thousand

give up on F1 and on Lamborghini. In No-exclusive automobiles will be reached.

vember 1993 Chrysler sold Lamborghini to

Indonesian Megatech, who cancelled the

Jean Jennings, editor in chief of Automobile

Formula 1 program, and the promising

magazine, said Italian exotic brands have

marque continued to stagnate.

improved in quality in recent years. "Not all

that long ago, you expected an Italian su-

percar's character to include the curse of

poor quality. It was a given," she said.

"That's just not so anymore. Today's Lam-

borghinis feel the most handmade, but they

are downright reliable now."

Lamborghinis models are named after famous bulls

Since 1964 Lamborghini’s talented engi-

neers and creative designers had created

some of the most stunningly beautiful

sportscars ever. Just look at the Countach.

It’s like a space-ship. Strikingly different,

Modern safety cell protects occupants in case of accident

radically angular, it shocked show goers. It

took time to get used to such a fundamen-

Driving a supercar or the family-car with

tally different style. We were used to the

passion and precision can be therapeutic

soft, curvaceous lines of other Italian beau-

treatment for exasperated executives – or

ties. Countach has a special beauty.

anyone wishing to restore meaning to their

life. In addition, that includes being consid-

During almost twenty years nearly 2000

erate of other road users.

Countach models have been crafted. Like

most Lamborghinis, the next model, Diablo,

And here, something extra:

was named after a well-known bull.

Lamborghini’s CEO was in Pebble Beach,

California, for the annual Concours d'Ele-

Compared to the “mass-production” of

gance, an event Lamborghini used as back-

around five thousand Ferraris per year,

drop for the debut of the automaker's radical

‘Lambo’  fabrication was never more than new show car. In a wide-ranging conversa-one car per day.

tion with TheCarConnection.com Publisher

Paul A. Eisenstein, Winkelmann spoke

In 1998, Lamborghini was acquired by the

about what's in store for Lamborghini, in-

Volkswagen/Audi Group, and considerable

cluding possible production plans for the

amounts of money were invested to mod-

Concept S.

ernize the plant. Since 2001 Lamborghini

has launched two cars - the Murcielago

TCC: You were comfortably ensconced in

coupe and convertible powered by a V-12

Germany, running the home-market opera-

engine, and the Gallardo V-10 coupe. The

tions for Audi. So why leave for Lambor-

Winkelmann: We don't need to grow to Fer-

ghini, a company that makes fewer cars in a

rari's numbers, but we do have to grow. The

year than Audi sells on a bad day?

balance between low volume, high image,

and (strong) economic results is a triangle

Winkelmann: Audi called and asked me if I'd

that is tough to maintain. With the launch of

like to do it. They needed a marketing ex-

the Spider next year, we will reach about

pert and wanted someone who understood

2000 units in 2006. Not only in existing mar-

both the German and Italian mentality.

kets, but new markets like Russia, Malaysia

Frankly, for me, it was a dream come true.

and China.

This lets me run a company, 360 degrees,

everything from marketing to manufacturing.

TCC: There've been a lot of new players

entering the ultra-luxury segment in recent

TCC: How important is Audi's support?

years, like Maybach, or expanding their

presence, such as Aston Martin. What does

Winkelmann: "Without Audi, Lamborghini

that mean for a company like Lamborghini?

couldn't exist. They bring money and tech-

nology. Audi is becoming a more sporty

Winkelmann: The market for high-lux is def-

brand because they are investing more in

initely growing because there are more

technology - technology that Lamborghini

manufacturers - and collectors. Our cars are

(otherwise) couldn't afford. We can benefit

often the fifth or the tenth or even the twen-

from these huge investments, but we must

tieth in a garage. But people are not just

maintain the huge discipline that is the pillar

buying something good looking and fast.

of what Lamborghini stands for. Lambor-

They now want quality, for sure. The aver-

ghini is uncompromising, extraordinary -

age mileage for a Gallardo is a lot more

and Italian.

than for the Murcielago, sometimes 20,000

miles a year, because owners are driving it

TCC: How is Audi's investment paying off?

every day. That's a big change for Lambor-


Winkelmann: Lamborghini is 42 years old.

For the first 40 years, we never sold more

TCC: Ironically, hasn't that required you to

than 250 cars. In 2003, it rose to 1300 and

give more content in a lower-priced car - the

last year 1600. We have decided to stay at

Gallardo - than one would normally expect

the same volume this year.

in the top-line Murcielago?

TCC: Why?

Winkelmann: We're offering luxury and

comfort packages, navigation, rearview

Winkelmann: For one thing, we've had to

camera. But we have also had to stick to

deal with the image and awareness of the

our roots.

brand. But we also have to deal with (build-

ing) a support network. Back in the 1960s

TCC: I've heard it said that Lamborghini re-

and '70s, dealers would come to the factory

ally isn't in the automobile business.

to pick up cars. Now we need a modern

network. We grew our dealers from 65 to 80

Winkelmann: We are selling luxury. If you

last year, but Ferrari has over 200 world-

look at our cars, they are not something you


need. It is irrational. We have to market to

people in the luxury world. That is one rea-

TCC: But eventually, don't you need to grow

son we are here (in Pebble Beach). They

more? Wouldn't you like to be as big as Fer-

don't want us to be anonymous. They want


to be able to meet us.

TCC: You're also using the Concours to

lysts. Your cars may not big, but they aren't

show off the Concept S prototype. Any

exactly fuel-efficient, either. Any concerns?

plans for production?

Winkelmann: So far, fuel prices are not af-

Winkelmann: We want to see what the reac-

fecting us. But it's not the money that's the

tion is and then we will decide by the end of

issue, but social stigma. If super sports cars

September whether to build a limited series

are not seen as coherent with (society), that

of this car. The initial reaction, by the way,

could be a problem.

has been strong.

TCC: Finally, let's turn to racing. Unlike Fer-

TCC: People are using the word, "radical,"

rari, Lamborghini has never been big on

to describe the Concept S, but to us, some-

motor sports, but we hear that might change

thing like Porsche's Cayenne SUV would be


truly radical.

Winkelmann: If you look back in our history,

Winkelmann: Actually, we like to say the

(founder) Ferruccio Lamborghini said we

Lamborghini LM2 was the first super SUV.

didn't need to go racing because our cars

And then there was the Espada 2+2. So if

speak for themselves. For the time being,

we decided to do these body styles again,

we're not planning to enter racing, but we

we would hope people would accept them

are looking carefully at what kind of cham-

as true Lamborghinis. But at the moment,

pionships we would join if we did enter. We

we are not planning other models.

will see next year.

TCC: Soaring fuel prices are finally begin-

ning to impact car sales, according to ana-

The talented young Canadian designer Ja-

son Battersby is suggesting a new ‘Lambo-Toro’ tractor, using design cues from the

famous sportscars.

Drawing enthusiasts can use this link for instructions on how to sketch a Lamborghini

Murcielago, or watch this 10 minute video to get drawing information.

This is an excellent source for technical information about the Lamborghini Gallardo.

Richard Moriarty had his 1974 Lamborghini Countach

mounted on the living room wall of his home

Fiat, the poor people’s Ferrari – as they used to say

“We want Fiat to become the ‘Apple’ of au-

The engine was bored out to 750 cc and

tomobiles and the new Fiat 500 to be their

had an Abarth cylinder head with a Weber iPod”, CEO Sergio Marchionne announced.

carburetor, and extra cooling. This tiny

The occasion was the July 2007 launch of

hotrod surprised many American-made cars

the Italian retro version of their people’s car,

at Toronto traffic lights; it could have fitted in

il Topolino, the little mouse.

their trunks (with the lid up).

After Henry Ford ‘motovated’ the American

population with the Model T, the Italians did

the same with a tiny two-seater they named

Topolino, their name for Mickey Mouse.

From 1936 until 1957 the tiny car with a mo-

torcycle-sized side-valve engine of less than

600 cc capacity (0.6 liter) and 13 hp trans-

ported its owners around their countryside.

This was long before the other ‘peoples car’

showed up, and long after the Model T’s

fourteen million, compared to half a million


Fiat then stopped exporting their cars to

North America, more than one generation

ago. And production of the ‘500’ ended in


Like many other companies lately, Fiat ex-

perienced difficult times. It must have been

heartbreaking to sell their part ownership in

Ferrari to an Italian Bank. General Motors

allied itself with the largest Italian automak-

er, but bailed out when GM itself became

1955 500C Topolino from topolino.org.uk

hard pressed.

In 1957, a similar, new “Fiat 500” was intr


When Fiat planned to produce a popular

duced, with a modern overhead valve en-

gine and a ‘powerful’ 17 HP. Over the years,

small car again, it also included the public in

its development with a website ”500 wants

the cars grew slightly, as did the engine.

you”. 500 days before the planned launch,

interested people could recommend styling

During the 1960s, different Fiat models

were sold in Canada, from the “Cinquece

cues, options, colors and other pertinent


to”, meaning five hundred, to normal sized

suggestions on this site. Regular updates

kept the public informed of the general pro-

sedans and sporty two-seat convertibles.


The export models that arrived here, had a

600 cc engine with 23 hp, just like the early

Now, fifty years after the ‘Cinquecento’ first

Volkswagen Beetles. Yours truly drove a

appeared, Fiat has introduced a re-make of

version of this small city car with a much

the earlier ‘500’ models. Styled by Frank

modified engine for a while.

Stephenson, who was chief of design at

Ferrari, the new city car was presented to

The new “500” no longer makes do with a

the world with a spectacular party.

‘half-liter’ engine; it will be equipped with a

choice of three four-cylinder units, a 75 hp

While many carmakers introduce new mod-

diesel and a 69 or 100 hp gasoline version

els with great fanfare at auto shows, the Ital-

with five or six speed transmissions. A tur-

ians celebrated as only Italians do. Fiat en-

bocharged Abarth version with 150 hp and

gaged Marco Balish, who was the creative

modified suspension is also in the works.

producer of the opening and closing cere-

monies at last year’s Winter Olympics in

Automotive journalist who have driven the

Turin. On a stage on the river Po, the festivi-

‘Five Hundred’, are writing rave reports

ties in three acts went on into the evening,

about the built quality and the handling of

before ending with a brilliant fireworks dis-

this newcomer from Italy. One newspaper

play. Only a video would do justice to re-

reports that three weeks after the unveiling

count the celebrations.

of the model, 57,000 orders have been

placed with dealerships. That covers this

[ While reformatting this story for the book

year’s planned production. With that suc-

and looking for additional photos, I discov-

cess facing the beleaguered firm, Fiat will

ered the following set of videos about these

increase next year’s output to 140,000.

festivities that you should not miss; almost

45 minutes of it. Part 2 is Fiat’s response to

What surprised me most, though, was to

the first part, where they reveal original

learn that the Fiat is produced in a factory in

scenes from the launch of the ‘500’ from 50

Tychy, Poland, together with the European

years ago, with original audio of the Beetles.

Ford Ka. The two cars share the same plat-

— Enjoy ! ]

form, but not the engines, nor any similarity

in style or any body panels.




City cars are increasing in numbers and

models; performance versions like the Mini


Cooper or the 500 Abarth, with acceleration


part 2

of 7 seconds from 0-100, sound very tempt-

ing for economy minded enthusiasts. Per-


haps, Fiat will return to our shores and

SQo&feature=watch_response part 3

make up for past times with a 40 mpg

econo-car that would be a blast to drive.



part 4

[Since this story was published in 2007, Fiat

has become one with Chrysler, and the new


500 is available in North America, as you


part 5


The newest Fiat is aimed at the popular Mini

Just like the Apple appeals to a particular

and others of the new genre of quality ‘city

group of computer users, a hot hatchback


fascinates certain drivers.

The company is already promising to add to

(Jay Leno is also a friend of the Topolino) the basic three-door (a two-door / hatch-The Topolino had a front engine - rear

back) a convertible, a utility type, nee sta-

wheel drive; Cinquecento had a rear engine

tion wagon ala the Mini ‘Clubman’, and a

– rear wheel drive; The ‘New 500’ has front

sporty roadster.

engine – front wheel drive.

Corolla out-numbers them all: Model T Ford, VW Beetle, Golf / Rabbit

Fifteen million Model Ts, twenty one million

1970. A little longer, and with 13 more

Beetles, twenty three million Rabbits / Golfs

horsepower, it was a more comfortable car

(who knows?) but rarely do we hear that

to drive with an automatic transmission. A

Toyota’s bestseller beat them all: 32 Million

year later, the engine grew to 1.6 liter and

Corollas produced and counting.

102 hp.

The chronicle of the modest Corolla reads

The third generation was oddly re-styled,

like a partial history of the automobile itself.

but so were many cars of the ‘70s. Five dif-

ferent models were available, and a catalyt-

It used to be plain old reputation, which lifts

ic converter was added in 1975, as was a

one car above the others; now they call it

sporty 5-speed manual. A hatchback, a

‘brand equity’. Corolla has earned its stand-

sports coupe and the SR5 were among the

ing as “old faithful” since 1968. The oldest

choices, and they seemed to last forever.

Toyota, bar one, sold in the Americas, Co-

rolla was the first Toyota later produced

Generation four Corolla of 1979 became


more complex with a new ‘chassis’ carrying

a rear coil-spring suspension under its uni-

body. In 1981



car received a

four speed au-









having grown to

1.8 liter OHV by

now, was re-

placed by a 1.6

liter unit with an

overhead cam-

shaft in 1983.

First generation 1966 Corolla, photo by Toyota Canada

As a two-year old, Corolla came to this con-

The little car that could, received its biggest

tinent in 1968. A simple 1.1-liter four cylin-

transformation with its fifth generation. It

der, carburetor-fed engine with 60 horse-

changed from rear wheel drive to front

power turned the rear wheels through a

wheel drive. The same engine, now side-

manual four-speed gearbox and a solid rear

ways in the car, used a five speed manual

axle with leaf springs. Simplicity in itself;

or four speed automatic transmission; such

every shade-tree mechanic could fix it.

is progress. During 1984 the coupe and the

‘Liftback’, as Toyota calls their hatchback,

Even at $1,700 there was nothing cheap

were upgraded to a double overhead cam-

about Corolla; hardly anything ever broke.

shaft engine with four valves per cylinder,

making 124 hp from 1.6 liter displacement.

Recognized as too small for our kind of driv-

During the Corolla’s early days only racing

ing, the second generation Corolla came in

engines had this type of equipment and

power. A few Corollas also came with a

With 120 hp, the basic model of generation

Diesel engine.

eight had double the power of thirty years

ago; it lasted from 1998 until 2002. Bigger,

The year 1987 brought a new front-drive FX

but lighter with an all aluminum engine, and

coupe and also the first time that Corolla

with better fuel economy, Corolla had be-

was produced in North America, in a joint

come a serious competitor to many other

venture factory with General Motors in Cali-

makes. In 2000 Toyota added VVT-I varia-


ble valve timing to achieve LEV status as a

‘low emission vehicle’. Interior and exterior

With the sixth generation in 1988 Corolla

refinements added extra flair to a fine auto-

looked more stylish than the previous boxy


versions. The station wagon was available

with full-time all-wheel drive, Toyota’s “Al -

The ninth generation Corolla, from 2003 to

Trac”. This model also had another first:

2007, is similar in looks and size to its big-

throttle-body fuel injection, while the GT-S

ger brother Camry of a few years ago. Its

had EFI, meaning separate port injection. At

structural integrity would have made earlier

that time dual outside mirrors, power steer-

Lexus models proud, say Toyota engineers.

ing, stereo, air conditioning and the like

Close to a luxury car of just years ago in

were optional equipment, all standard on

comfort and handling, thanks to electronic

today’s models. By 1990 all models in the

assists, Corolla is now nearing it its 10th

Corolla line-up had the benefit of fuel injec-

generation, BUT – likely under a new name.

tion and overhead camshafts, and the GT-S

had 130 hp.

Whether that will be Altis, Axio or Auris is

not yet clear, but the new “Corolla” will con-

From 1993 to 1997 the seventh generation

tinue the tradition of reliable and economic

was built. Having grown in length and width,

transportation we have come to expect from

the EPA now classified Corolla as “com-


pact”, up from “subcompact”. Drivers airbag,

height-adjustable seat belts, ABS and a 1.8

[Article was written in March 2007]

liter engine were concession to the chang-

ing times. A passenger airbag and an inte-

grated child seat was added in ’94 as an

option. During its last year, power windows

and locks, electric mirrors and CFC-free air-

conditioning made life easier for humans

and nature. By the end of generation seven

Corolla had overtaken the Beetle as the

best-selling car in automotive history.

2011 Corolla, generation 10

A few items that might be of interest, but were intentionally not linked to the text:


an illustrated timeline

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZXhZUb13vQ a video by Alex, a 13 year old boy

http://www.toyotabharat.com/inen/cars/corolla/history.asp all 10 Corolla generations

The car that became a symbol of freedom for an oppressed nation

Numerous carmakers are history, copious

“The Trabi, as we affectionately called our

cars make history; the Trabant falls under

‘communist limousine’, was a lot like East

both categories.

Germany,” said actor Wolfgang Stumph,

who co-starred with a blue Trabant in a

More than a few automakers are remem-

1991 German movie, ‘ Go Trabi Go’. “It was

bered by only a chapter in a book about the

far from perfect, but somehow it worked.

You had to improvise every day to keep it

past; some makes or models have been

going. It was small and smelly and broke

reinCARnated. At present, several manufac-

down a lot, but it was all we had.”

turers are building new factories while quite

a few others and their suppliers are in dire

Over the decades, more than three million

straits, as we start 2008.

Trabants were “put together”, pushed by

hand along the production line every time it

It’s rude to make fun of someone or some-

failed to run. And most of the assembly was

thing unfortunate, but the people of the for-

done with common hand tools, not power-

mer DDR, or East Germany, started it

tool, much less assembly robots.

themselves. They made fun of the Trabant,

their East-Block’s People’s Car.

In 1986 the Trabant sales office phoned one

lucky East German on the waiting list:

Such as: If the Trabant had two tailpipes,

“Comrade Schulz, you wil get delivery of a

according to a worker on its assembly line, it

Trabant on April 1st, 1992”. - Schulz: “Morn-

would make a fine wheelbarrow. Or: How

ing or afternoon? I have a plumber coming.”

can you double the value of a Trabant? –

Fill up with 92 octane hi-test.

Not far from the truth, because the average

Trabant delivery time was eight (8) years.

Many Trabis “escaped” to West Germany

with their owners after the Berlin Wall crum-

bled in 1989. Paradoxically, they have be-

come a collector’s item among car fanciers

all across Europe and beyond. One car col-

lector in the UK was fined £750, because he

ignored a court ruling to remove his sub-

stantial collection of Trabants, which had

been declared an eyesore.

Manufacturer’s brochure

Or this: How many workers does it take to

build a Trabant? - Two. One to fold and one

to paste. — The Trabant had a crude, never

updated mid-1950s, boxy “Duroplast” body,

pressed from recycled materials - the best

post-war plastic available. The car was

powered by a smelly, pre-World-War II

twenty-six horsepower two cylinder, two-

stroke engine. “Sparkplug with Roof”, they

branded it, until the last one was made in

Gathering of an American Trabant Owners Club

April of 1991.

But people still hold them dear, and the

cars were produced during the Soviet era, a

jokes continue. The Irish pop band U2 did a

Monument to the Trabant was erected

song about them and put it on a Vinyl in-

stead of a CD.

Since 1990, model-car manufacturer Herpa

has produced some hundred thousand Tra-

Why does the Trabant have a heated rear

bis at 1:87 scale. To mark the car’s 50th

window? - To keep your hands warm while

birthday on November 7, 2007, the compa-

you push it. How do you make a sportscar

ny created a modern looking 1:10 Trabi

out of a Trabi? - Put a pair of running shoes

concept and displayed it at the German IAA

in the trunk. Customer in a West German

auto show in September. 12,000 show visi-

auto parts store: Can I get two new tires for

tors indicated they would purchase a new

a Trabi? - Store owner thinks long and hard;

version, and plans are now underway to de-

“OK,” he says at last, “it’s a deal”.

sign a present-day Trabant.

The Trabi got its name after Sputnik, the

“For many people the Trabant is more than

first artificial satellite, went into orbit. In

a car”, said Herpa general manager Klaus

German, the Moon is a Trabant, or satellite,

Schindler; over fifty-thousand were still reg-

of Earth. The meaning of the word ‘Trabant’

istered in Germany at the end of 2007.

later implied notions of ‘servant’ or ‘com-

rade’, tasks that were carried out by “the

A prototype is now being developed, and

little car that could”.

Herpa is negotiating with ‘full size’ car man-

ufacturers to produce a limited number of

‘New Trabi’. That should not be too difficult,

with all the multi-model assembly lines now

producing niche models. During the last few

years of its production run, Trabants already

used a 3-cylinder engine from one of

Volkswagen’s entry-level models.

A New Trabi? (Why not? Other iconic cars –

New Beetle and New Mini come to mind,

and they are very successful) New Trabi

would weigh less than 1,000 kg and could

have all modern amenities, electronics and

safety features, including ABS, of course.

After road-testing an earlier model Trabant,

one car magazine reported: “The two-stroke

engine provides no braking effect at all. Nor

do the brakes.” Despite the potential conse-

quences of that, the only car more often tar-

geted by thieves is Porsche.

Go Trabi, go!

Old Trabant & concept of newTrabi with model toy

Perhaps the Trabant will have the last laugh

For your amusement, here is a video of the

after all. It has become a symbol of freedom

Trabant’s final fit and finish adjustments on for an oppressed nation and the peoples’

the assembly line in communist East Ger-

will to carry on under adversity. The now

many, and as a counterpoint a few minutes

free German City of Zwickau, where the

of an assembly line in West Germany.

Why did Will and Kate leave the royal wedding in an Aston Martin?

When you hear ‘Royal’ or ‘Windsor’ you

lapidary and metal engraver. Born in Milan,

probably connect that with Buckingham

Italy, in 1881, Ettore began studying fine

Palace. I will overlook that blunder. As a car

arts, but decided he would be more suc-

buff, you might think Rolls Royce or Bentley.

cessful as an engineer. At the age of nine-

— Close enough.

teen he designed and built his first car. He

kept looking for a place to set up his own

Did you ever hear of a Bugatti Royale?

factory. In 1909 he acquired a large piece of

Lucky you; Most other mortals never have.

property at Molsheim in the Alsace region of

France, strewn with numerous buildings.

To make us normal human beings ’feel like

a king’, the automakers have humored us

with models titled Imperial, Windsor, Mona-

co, Monte Carlo, Crown Victoria, Prinz

(NSU) and possibly others.

Despite the fact that some of these exam-

ples came from Windsor, -the city, not the

castle-, they were common models. Our

loyalist friends south of the 49th parallel also

brought us the Crown Royal, the Regal, the

King Cobra and others.

Only one car was purposely constructed for

Royalty: the Bugatti Type 41. Intended for Bugatti Type 57

Kings, Queens and other Nobles -between

Here he began production of a small, light-

1927 and 1933, the fittingly referred-to Bu-

weight racing machine. When this car ap-

gatti Royale is superlative in every possible

peared at Le Mans in 1911 and came in se-

way. In fact, the Type 41 was so grandiose

cond, it proved that the young Bugatti knew

that Royalty did not dare to acquire it, lest

more about car design than many older en-

they raise the ire of the common people as

gineers. Orders came in and the little factory

a result of royal excess.

prospered. When World War I broke out in

1914, Ettore Bugatti buried three racing cars

Bugatti Type 41, ‘Royal’, - Napoleon Coupé

under the cellar of his home and fled to Italy

with his family.

After the war they returned to France and

remained at Molsheim until World War II.

During this time Bugatti and his automobiles

became famous. The sleek sky-blue cars

almost completely dominated the race

tracks of the world. In 1925 and 1926 alone,

they won over 1,000 races. Some of the

outstanding Bugatti cars were: the 1934

Type 35, a classic design; the Type 51, one of the most beautiful body shapes of its period; the Type 57, and the Type 59, the last Ettore Bugatti’s father Carlo was an artist,

of the racing “Bugs”.

painter, silversmith, sculptor, woodcarver,

Although Ettore Bugatti was known for his

at the time. It is the longest car ever pro-

racing cars, he always produced a produc-

duced, with a wheelbase of 432 cm or 170

tion model for the road. Some were coupes,

inches. Its 12.7 liter straight-eight engine is

some convertibles, some sedans, and these

the largest yet used in a ‘production car’. Its

automobiles “have a purity of body design

radiator is shoulder high to an average man.

and a mechanical precision that is almost


The depression put an end to Bugatti’s

grandiose motorized royal carriages; only

In 1927 Bugatti introduced the type 41, an

six, possibly seven were completed. Several

ultra-luxurious, majestic vehicle in every as-

were re-bodied by their eventual owners,

pect. The bare rolling chassis and power-

because even the wealthiest were hesitant

train alone cost almost double the price of

to be seen in such splendor during the worst

the next most expensive luxury car available

of economic times.

This photograph clearly shows the immense proportions of the 1931 Bugatti Type 41 ‘Royale’: 21-foot-long, 7,000-pound, 12.7-liter straight-eight engine Other models were developed, raced and

Another ‘Royale’ is said to have been hid-

sold. Successful in the market and in com-

den in the sewers of Paris during the war.

petition with numerous types, the Bugatti

Restored, each Bugatti is treasured as a

factory driver Pierre Veyron won the ‘24

museum piece, and almost all are in good

Hours of Le Mans’ race in 1939. After this,

running order.

World War II put an end to private cars.

Whenever one of these famous cars chang-

The Bugatti family saved two of the Type

es ownership, a buzz goes through the en-

41, which they owned, by hiding them be-

tire automotive world. The VW Group of

hind a false wall in one building during the

Companies acquired a ‘Type 41’ a few

war and until 1950, when they were sold to

years ago. Volkswagen? Why would the

American multi-millionaire and Le Mans

peoples-car people want a Bugatti Royale?

driver Briggs Cunningham. Regrettably, Et-

Find out next week. [see next page]

tore, known as Le Patron, had died in 1947.

Reincarnation of

and now Bugatti, waited for owners; too few

millionaires ready to buy them during a re-

To encounter a Bugatti ‘Royale’ is a great

cession. Artioli went into bankruptcy and the

Bugatti factory was closed again in 1994.

thrill for enthusiasts; to own any Bugatti is

the pinnacle of automotive delight.

The big got bigger; Ford took over Jaguar

and Aston Martin, General Motors added

As part of my work, I visited a restoration

shop, in the process of refurbishing a ‘reg

Saab and Hummer, Volkswagen acquired


lar’ Bugatti. After admiring and examining

Bentley and Lamborghini, BMW got Rolls

Royce. DaimlerChrysler revived the famous

the antique — my first encounter with a Bu-

luxury make Maybach. Attempts to resurrect

gatti, I asked the shop owner if I could work

such legendary makes as Duesenberg,

for him after my demise. He looked puzzled;

“That would be paradise

Packard and others are stumbling along.

for me”, I replied.

Being a ‘car guy’, Volkswagen’s CEO Ferdi-

Back to reality, I remind myself, recalling the

nand Piech pondered: why not breathe life


into Bugatti again, since we are now build-

ing luxury and sports-cars? Ideas became

Throughout the last century, numerous au-

plans, plans developed into actions, and

tomakers around the world struggled and

VW bought the rights to Bugatti.

disappeared for different reasons. After the

great depression and after World War II a

Flash-back: In 1961 car collector Mills Lane

number of manufacturers, especially in Eu-

discovered a complete, but decaying Bugatti

rope, were unable to get back on their feet -

Royale, one of only seven made, known as

make that tires-, lacking factories, funds or

the Binder Coupe de Ville. Beautifully re-

new designs.

stored, it became part of the Harrah collec-

tion. After Harrah’s death, and two complex

Bugatti was one of the unfortunate ones.

ownership changes later, new owner Lyon

After its founder had died in 1947, the com-

learned of Volkswagen’s connection with

pany still developed new models. But mon-

Bugatti. Negotiators worked overtime, and

ey was scarce, customers for high priced

in 1999 the Binder Coupe de Ville went to

cars needed every coin to rebuild their own

VW’s Wolfsburg home, forecasting the Bu-

businesses; In 1963 Bugatti closed its

gatti revival.


Despite everything, car lovers did not aban-

don the famous Bugatti. In 1989 Romano

Artioli purchased the Bugatti marque and

built a modern factory in the sportscar capi-

tal Modena, where Ferrari, Lamborghini and

Maserati practice their craft.

The new Bugatti was an advanced super-

car, named EB110 – to indicate its debut 110 years after the birth of Ettore Bugatti.

The car was engineered by Paolo Stanzani

and styled by Marcello Gandini, both of

Lamborghini Countach fame.

Closing a door to the old, and opening a window on the new Bugatti

Far too many supercars, —Lamborghini,

In the meantime, the Beetle boss had com-

Ferrari, Jaguar, McLaren and Yamaha (!),

missioned Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign

to create a ’study model’ for display at the

tional Motorshow, Volkswagen presented

Paris Motor Show 1998. This unmistakable

the Bugatti 18/3 ‘Chiron’.

four-door saloon recaptured Bugatti features

such as the ‘horse-shoe grille’. “EB 118”

The Bugatti tradition of successful sports

reveals it as show-model number 1 with an

cars is reflected in the name chosen for this

18-cylinder engine.

design study, which commemorates former

Bugatti factory drivers.

At each major auto show that followed, a

revised concept (video) was shown: next Next came the Paris show in 2000 with a

came the EB 218, again referring to the 18-sixteen cylinder concept car, EB 16/4 ‘Vey-

cylinder engine, the first ever used in a pas-

ron’, another famous pre-war racing-driver

senger vehicle. This VW-developed engine

and Le Mans winner.

has three rows of 6-cylinder banks, joined in

a "W" outline. At the 1999 Frankfurt Interna-

Emphasizing the Bugatti heritage and the official French racing colors - blue Later, at the Geneva show, visitors were

some automobile will anchor the Bugatti

stunned by two Bugattis, the Veyron, su-

brand pavilion at VW's ‘Autostadt’ theme-

perbly re-done in burgundy and black and

park in Wolfsburg.

accompanied by the Royale in the same

striking colors. A Bugatti Royale is seldom

Developing a new car requires five to seven seen in public, since so few exist. This awe-years; Bugatti can take advantage of its

W16 engine having been developed by its

Scheduled for introduction next year [2007],

sister-company Bentley. In the Veyron the

the new Bugatti is undergoing the standard

engine develops 1001 HP by adding four

VW long-term tests of 50,000 km each, in

turbo-chargers. This coupe is two inches

the arctic and in the desert.

shorter than a Porsche 911. With all-wheel-

drive, a seven-speed transmission and mid-

engine-handling it will reach 400 km/h.

Only fifty Veyrons will be assembled every As we are preparing this for publication dur-year, and two dozen customers are reported

ing the summer of 2011, comes the news

to have made a deposit of 300,000 Euros.

that the last of 300 Veyron has been sold, to

be delivered at the end of 2012.

The new Bugatti will truly be a car for rulers,

- in a positive sense - rulers of the road, and

A few special edition models were crafted the king of cars, a worthy successor to the

as well: polished aluminum, convertibles,

Royale and other Bugattis of an era long

and one with porcelain inlays inside and out.


As well, some related articles and more in-

teresting news about a four-door successor.

Viva la Bugatti!

If you are handy with paper and scissors,

this is for you.

Veyron: Not for the shy and timid: Asymmetric paint-art and porcelain inlays

Galibier: Quiet elegance and opulence

Numerous automakers started by producing horse-drawn wagons

A car company with more than 150 years in

shoreline. — Of course, that is General Mo-

existence? How come we never heard of

tors Canada’s headquarter building.


Tatra, on the other hand, had a much more Tatra is that exception in today’s world of

tumultuous past. The home country of the

bottom-line priority with “buy it, fix it, split it

small town of Nesselsdorf (Koprivnice since

up and sell it”. This vehicle manufacturer is

the area became Czechoslovakia) near the

located in what is now the Czech Republic.

Tatra mountain range is bordered by Poland

Its background as a wagon builder goes

in the north, Austria in the south, Germany

back to 1850; as an automaker, Tatra is the

in the west and north-west and, lately, Slo-

third oldest in the world after Daimler-Benz

vakia in the east.

and Peugeot.

The small wagon factory goes back to the

industrial revolution in Bohemia and Mora-

via. Its first expansion came around 1862

and included the purchase of a steam en-

gine. With power operated saws, lathes,

grinding and sanding machines, the firm

could build more vehicles, and business


They added production of high quality semi-

and fully covered luxury coaches and

Streamlined Tatra of the 1930s

showed them around Central Europe,

Studebaker had a very similar history and

spreading the good name of the Tatra plant.

background, building horse-drawn carriages

About 150 artisans produced almost 1200

and coaches during the 1800s. When en-

horse-drawn vehicles per year.

gines of various types became available,

the firm made horse-less carriages. Stu-

In the early 1880s a railway was construct-

debaker was a major producer of fine auto-

ed nearby, and Tatra was given the contract

mobiles until the middle of the last century.

to manufacture the railway cars. This re-

One of the defunct company’s famous mod-

quired more space; additional buildings had

els, the Avanti sportscar, has undergone

to be constructed to house a foundry, as

several revival attempts. Sadly, Studebaker

well as assembly space. This in turn meant

now only exists in the clubs whose mem-

more money was needed, and the firm con-

bers keep its cars and memory alive.

verted into a joint stock company.

The Canadian McLaughlin Carriage Works

had an almost parallel beginning and met-

amorphosis. The difference is that this es-

tablishment joined another company and

still carries on business under the new

name. Puzzled? Here’s a hint: with that new

name on the building, you can see it from

highway 401, when approaching Oshawa

from points east. The stately structure on

Colonel Sam Drive is partly surrounded by a

sheltered bay of Lake Ontario’s marshland

Tatra limousine of the Soviet era

After much prodding from an enthusiastic

After the war, their cars became more mod-

patron, the development of horseless car-

ern. Czechoslovakia sent 168 Tatras to

riages started in 1897. One year later, a 2.5-

Canada in 1950 in return for food. The

ton truck was added, and several different

communist government then did not allow

passenger vehicles were developed. The

repair parts to be shipped to Canada. That’s

first car made for racing by the Koprivnice

why nobody heard of Tatra anymore.

factory came in 1900, its maximum speed

112 km/h.

Under Soviet government, cars were not a

priority; trucks and buses were needed. Pol-

Baron Liebig, Tatra’s patron, was the most

itics in the ‘80s and early ‘90s almost

successful racing driver of the Koprivnice

brought the once mighty business to its

factory in the early 20th century.

knees. One hundred years of car production

came to an end in 1998; Tatra produced

Tatra’s technical manager, Hans Ledwinka,

trucks only since that time.

recognized early that automobiles must be

produced more economically and simpler,

and appeal to the general population, not

just the rich. He started to develop a line of

cars with similar technical features, as well

as engines based on the same basic de-

sign. Over time, a number of models were

introduced, based on sound design and

construction principles.

A 12 passenger steam-powered bus was

also developed during that time; production

now included cars, trucks, buses and rail-

way stock.

Ledwinka was the first to create a car with

The company is now privately owned by an

an air-cooled rear engine in a streamlined

industrialist from Texas. Tatra is presently

body, with swing axle suspension and a

producing a successful range of primarily

central tube frame. Sounds familiar? Ferdi-

all-wheel-drive 4x4, 6x6, 8x8, 10x10 and

nand Porsche acknowledged that he “may

12x12 trucks for industrial use and other off-

have looked over Hans’ shoulder”. Both of

road purposes, sold around the world.

these pioneers lived and worked in close

proximity in the days of the automobile’s

coming of age.

Even Tatra trucks had independent rear

suspension, a definitive advantage in rough

terrain. Truck production flourished, but the

unusual passenger cars did not become

widely popular.

At the start of World War II the Germans

occupied Czechoslovakia, and after the end

of the war the Soviets did. Despite all the

hardship, the skilled craftspeople of this

Some folks are outright passionate about

small country did not lose their pride in

Tatra trucks, as you can see here and here.

building with quality.

Like a cat, this car seems to have nine lives

The Saab story is a sob story: another car-

the company decided to use the plant for

maker facing extinction.

the production of cars. With a background

and expertise in aerodynamics, is it any

You heard it on the News far too many

surprise that the early cars looked more like

times: Chrysler salvaged and controlled by

aircraft with their teardrop shape, than the

Fiat; Ford selling Volvo; General Motors

usual three-box cars? To build the ‘fuselage’

selling Hummer, closing down Pontiac, try-

was no problem, but what about the en-

ing to sell Saturn, then eliminating the “dif-

gine? They had none, and SAAB had no

ferent kind of car”. They’re all ‘local’, all

understanding of small car power-plants.

easy to ‘keep an eye on’; what went wrong?

Overseas, it was German Opel and British

Vauxhall, snatched from the clutches of the

competition by a miracle yet to happen. It’s

general confusion at the ‘General’s’ head-


Moreover, that happened just during the last

twelve months, during 2010.

Companies, whether having been a century

or a decade in the marketplace, whether

Auto-Union /DKW (now Audi) had engines

alone or tied to a conglomerate, - none are

that would be an excellent choice for a small

safe when it comes to the ‘bottom line’

vehicle; and so they used the good old reli-

drawn on a sheet of paper.

able German 2-cylinder, two-stroke engine

in the first Saab sold in 1950. Like the DKW,

Hanging on for dear life into 2010, treading

the Saab had front-wheel drive and it too

water, waiting to be rescued by one after

proved to have excellent handling. When

another of failed attempts – by its American

DKW changed to a three-cylinder engine

parent first, then by two small car compa-

with a new model, so did Saab.

nies, by government, bank or investment

firm, Saab is now facing its so-called mas-

Saabs excelled in wintery conditions, espe-

ters in Detroit and their decision, good or

cially in rally competition, claiming many


victories in snowy northern New York State,

where Saab took a strong early foothold

Many car companies had their origin long

with a dealership in Watertown more than

ago in bicycle making, but one of the

fifty years ago. Coming across the border

younger automakers, this Swedish company

into Ontario, Homer Trotter became a leg-

‘fell out of the sky’. Svenska Aeroplan Aktie-

end on the rally circuit with his Saab. His

Bolaget (SAAB) in Trollhättan made air-

success became Saab’s success around

planes since 1937 before it started to pro-

the Great Lakes.

duce cars in 1950.

During the first industry-wide attempts at

After World War II SAAB no longer needed

pollution control, Saab used a V-4 engine

to make airplanes (they did again later), and

from Ford of Europe in 1967. At another

time Saabs were propelled by an engine it

Merbanco, a group of Wyoming-based pri-

shared with the Triumph TR7 sportscar. Af-

vate investors. Dutch niche automaker

ter merging in 1969 with Scania, Sweden’s

Spyker (which uses Audi engines) had 3

heavy-duty truck maker (now owned by

offers rebuked, then managed to acquire

Volkswagen), Saab engineers developed


their first engine, used from 1972 on.

[This venture did not last long and Saab has

Soon catching up to the rest of the industry

not produced cars since the spring of 2011]

in engine technology, Saab developed sys-

tems that are unique, even in the new mil-

Various parties were still interested despite

lennium, such as variable compression ratio

General Motors having already sold some of

Saab’s ass

on the fly – to adjust for a variety of charac-

ets and proprietary technology to

teristics in alternative fuels. Saab also re-

Chinese Beijing Automotive Industry Hold-

introduced the all but abandoned upper-

ing Corporation.

class four-seat convertible to North Ameri-

God and GM work in mysterious ways.

ca, re-designed with all applicable safety


One journalist put it this way: “Hey, it's not

as if GM needs to close Saab for the corpo-

rate tax write off; GM still gets to use all of

that bad debt from "the old GM" for future

balance-sheet manipulations.”

Saab cars were always unique, love them or

hate them, and soon they will be missed —

unless General Motors postpones another

deadline or changes its corporate mind one

more time; in the meantime confusion con-

Perhaps this, and surely other reasons,


prompted General Motors to acquire a fifty

percent share in Saab in 1989 and complete

Two years on, Saab is still negotiating with

ownership in 2000. Supposedly, Saab lost

potential new investors.

money in all but one year under its Detroit

[In early 2012 Turkey showed interest, and


at the end of January (as we prepare this

for publication), the Mayor of Trollhättan,

Despite that, one source reports that 29 par-

Saab’s hometown, together with a large

ties allegedly expressed interest in buying

delegation, traveled to China to renew ne-

Saab from troubled General Motors in re-

gotiations with a previously interested inves-

cent times. Among them were BMW, Re-

tor, whom General Motors previously did not

nault, the Hyundai-Kia group, Tata Motors,

wish to be involved with Saab].

Geely Automobile, Fiat and Magna. Saab

held talks with three selected bidders, re-

We hope that, like a cat, Saab will land on

portedly with the Renco Group, with

its feet, err, on its wheels soon.

Koenigsegg (Swedish specialty carmaker)

having financial backing from a Chinese au-

tomaker and Norwegian investors, and with

Life is 440 horsepower in a 2-cylinder engine Henry Miller, American author, 1891-1980

The horsepower race is on again! Reports

Charger, Roadrunner and others stir memo-

abound about exotic V-10, V-12 and sixteen

ries of cars with 400 plus horsepower. Four

cylinder engines with the power of up to one

hundred ‘ponies’ was heady horsepower for

thousand horses.

so called family cars, when not even seat-

belts were required. Disc brakes were al-

The 1960s are remembered as the era of

most unheard of, and safety equipment, we

the muscle cars. From year to year manu-

would not be without today, had never been

facturers tried to out-do each other with in-

thought of yet.

creased engines and ever climbing power

output; that’s when the term ‘horsepower

The horse-power race ended when the oil

race’ was coined. Fuel consumption mat-

crisis of the 1970s overpowered thirsty gas-

tered little, because gasoline was inexpen-

guzzlers. Fuel prices went up, up and up,

sive and plentiful. ‘Big block’ engines over

and before long nobody wanted horsepow-

400 cubic inches of displacement, some

er, but economy. Customers demanded

topping 500 cid, were commonplace. (6.5

cheap to run –meaning lighter, low-power

liters to over 8 l.)

cars, and manufacturers were compelled to

build them.

Front-wheel-drive (FWD) cars began to pro-

liferate, than dominate the market. These

cars could be built lighter, because the

smaller drive-trains left more passenger

room, and cars became smaller, and lighter


Most of us drove four-cylinder FWD cars for

at least the last decade.

Now, times are changing again. Back in

demand are more powerful engines. Only a

few years ago, 300 horsepower was con-

sidered a serious performance target. Four

hundred ‘ponies’ was a far off target for the

new, small, computerized engines for many

years. Now, 500 hp seems to be the new

threshold, before being accepted as a seri-

ous sports or even luxury car.

But style is also back in vogue, evident by

the return of such familiar shapes as the

From 1967 Rod and Custom magazine

New Beetle and New Mini, the Ford GT40 of

[Looking for suitable pictures, I came across the

Le Mans-winning fame, and such popular

story of the BMW Isetta with a V12 Allison air-

cars as the Mustang, making a near return

plane engine. While in the original car the front

to the original shape in 2005. The Daim-

door was used, the driver of this slightly(!) modi-

lerChrysler PT Cruiser and the funky Prowl-

fied micro car had to add a rear door to enter]

er take us back to the 1930s, and General

Motors will soon join that trend with the SSR

As ferocious as the engines, so were the

pickup, the HHR wagon, and a re-make of

names of cars they powered: Barracuda,

the mid-fifties’ Nomad, the sought-after sta-

tion-wagon brother of the famous ‘55/6/7

Porsche makes some of the fastest cars in


the world, and the new ‘Carrera GT’ tops

600 hp.

Combining new style with power, here is a

cross section of the finest ’new muscle-cars’

Rolls-Royce is not normally known for high-

the industry offers:

performance, but it has undergone a mas-

sive makeover to heighten power, with a

Audi and others in the Volkswagen Group

500-hp engine, to befit its level of excel-

are offering several high-power models for


membership in the ‘ 500-HP-Club’; From

Bentley’s new GT Coupe you would not ex-

Pickups have also joined the horsepower

pect anything less in power to match its

race; will SUVs be next?

splendor. The VW Group’s Bugatti ‘Veyron’

ultra luxury sportscar, due later this year,

Last but not least, we have to give credit (?)

promises to deliver 1001 horsepower.

to McLaren, who just before the turn of the

century started the horsepower and super-

BMW’s next M5 performance sedan, and an

car craze with the F1.

all-new M6 coupe could be powered by a

road-going version of the V-10s used by the

Formula 1 Williams/BMW.

DaimlerChrysler’s redesigned Dodge Viper

V-10 gets an even 500 hp, and the Chrysler

mid-engine V12 concept car offers 850 hp –

THE sensation at this year’s Detroit Auto


Ferrari’s new 575M will easily ‘make the

club’, with 515 horses, while the exotic For-

mula One-inspired ‘Enzo’ will produce over

600 hp.

Ford’s re-created GT40 is expected to be a

“club 500” member, and Aston-Martin, Jag-

Are these magnificent motor cars the mus-

uar and Saleen are waiting in the wings.

cle cars of the twenty-first century? Or are

they the industry’s last “power struggle” with

General Motors’ new Cadillac CTSV and the

internal combustion engines, before the ad-

next Corvette should ‘push 500’. The ‘Cien’

vent of hybrids and hydrogen vehicles?

supercar prototype makes 750hp and the

Cadil ac ‘Sixteen’ concept car promises one

A potential step closer to a hydrogen infra-

thousand horsepower.

structure for transportation happened in On-

tario in the fall: A group of Canadian fuel cell

Lamborghini’s V-12-powered Murcielago

companies is pushing the idea of a 900 kil-

has ‘only’ 575 hp.

ometer “hydrogen corridor” between Wind-

sor/Detroit and Montreal with enough hy-

Maybach, the reborn luxury marque from

drogen fuelling stations to support fuel cell

DaimlerChrysler, produces over 550 hp.

and hydrogen vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz is emphasizing perfor-

Welcome to a new era.

mance with an expanding line-up from its

tuner division, AMG.

[written in February 2004]

Foreign Fords or homegrown Hondas, which one is a ‘domestic’?

I’m confused. Do you stil know which cars

or General Motors vehicle a domestic, when are foreign or domestic? Is your car or truck

they are built in Brazil, Korea or Sweden? Is

made by a Big Three or a ‘Group of Seven’

the MG stil a British car when it’s made by


a Chinese company? Can you explain that?

“Can you tell the difference? I can’t see the

Just as much ‘history’ as the concept of

difference! Is there any difference?” This

domestic and imported vehicles is, so is the

well-used advertising slogan applies equally

term Big Three automakers. With Ford re-

well to automobiles, when it comes to North

placed in 2003 as ‘Number Two’ by Toyota,

American versus so-called imported cars.

and Volkswagen out-selling Chrysler, even

counting in the Daimler part of that new

Canada lost the difference between Cana-

company, people now have to look at the

dian vs. American-made models after 1965,

motorized world through a different wind-

when the Auto Pact eliminated restrictions shield.

between our two countries, concerning mo-

tor vehicles. No longer able to differentiate

Volkswagen is building Diesel engines for between a Fargo and a Dodge ‘light duty DaimlerChrysler; Toyota and General Mo-truck’, we had to look at pickups -and cars-

tors have a Joint Venture, supplying each as ‘American’, not made in Canada or USA.

other with fashionable cross-over-vehicles,

nee station wagons. Ford will get Diesel en-

With global free trade progressing “on the

gines from Renault/Nissan, Saturn will use

assembly-line” ,


multi-nationals, not only

motor vehicle manufac-




products at a location

best suited to their mar-

ket and/or the ‘bottom



The global economy is

hiding international bor-

ders, when considering

trade and commerce.

We are becoming a

global village when se-







Chinese are striving to





Honda engines, etc.

Americans (that includes Canadians) are

taking a liking to compact mini vans and mi-


American Chevrolet Aveo is produced at former Korean

Daewoo and sold in North America

Is a Honda, Toyota or Volkswagen an im-

What is this world coming to? Could the

ported car when they are produced in Amer-

Ford-owned British Jaguar get a German-

ica? (Canada, USA or Mexico) Or is a Ford

invented Wankel engine built by Japanese

Mazda? The consequence could be a ‘cat’

purring as smoothly as that Le Mans-

winning rotary engine.

If only the world’s leaders (the G7)

could get along as well as the world’s

seven largest car makers! They now

build better quality, more economical,

ecology friendly, easy to maintain, hard

to repair, long warranty, low interest

rate cars in one-hundred-plus coun-

tries. Could it be true that humans are

becoming wiser? The ‘global vil age’ is

certainly expanding and those who

don’t accept the changing values wil

be left behind as the ‘vil age idiots’.

Even the UAW (United Auto Workers) can-

not keep up with all the cross-overs from

are built by non-union workers, such as the

country to country.

above 1984 Mexican-built Beetle 1200L

sold in Germany with Brazilian wheels

There was a time when imports were not

allowed on their headquarters’ parking lot at

Toyota Camry, the Honda Odyssey, and

the Solidarity House in Detroit. They now

other makes and models.

suggest that consumers buy so-called

UAW-made vehicles, regardless of the

"As a consumer, you want the maximum

manufacturer's nationality. That situation

amount of competition, the maximum

has been fuzzy for some time, but it is get-

amount of car dealerships and manufactur-

ting downright foggy with the increase of

ers competing for your business because

European and Asian auto and parts plants

you know you'll get the best price and the

across the southern USA. Some of the best-

best value," Mark Perry said. He should

known “US makes” are built in Canada and

know, he is professor of economics and

Mexico, like the Ford Windstar minivan,

chairperson of the Department of Econom-

which is made in Oakville, Ontario, and

ics at the University of Michigan-Flint. “And

some Dodge Ram pickups, made in Mexico.

besides”, he said, "the overwhelming ma-

Some brands are built by UAW workers,

jority of buyers in America don't care.

while other brands made in the Americas

They're looking for a vehicle that best suits

their needs at the best price. They don't

care where it comes from and what it's

called." He continued: "They travel all

over the world when they go on vaca-

tion. They get all these advantages of

a global market -- more selection, bet-

ter prices, higher value," Perry said.

"The vehicle market is just a good ex-

ample of a market that used to be

pretty much exclusively domestic.

Now, over the years, it has gone com-

pletely global."

Japanese Suzuki, produced in India, sold in Europe

‘Doctor of Motors’ is a really difficult profession

Ring–ring. Ring-ring. ——

because “it’s only done a few kilometers

since the last service”.

“This is Dr. Payne, how can I help you?”

When feeling threatened, doctors stand up

“Doctor, I heard you specialize in this; —this

against governments, old mechanics cannot

pain is killing me, could you give me a pre-

even stand up straight; Doctors acquire their

scription for that, or do you think I need an-

own stethoscope, mechanics must buy a

other operation?”

multitude of hand-tools, power-tools and

special tools; Doctors can incorporate to

“Take two Aspirin and call me in the morn-

lessen their tax burden, mechanics can‘t

ing” is not what any person of sound mind

deduct anything, although their toolbox con-

would answer to that.

tains more than one year’s wages in equip-

ment; Medical specialists are sent to attend

The automotive equivalent, which I experi-

conventions, technicians are expected to

enced all too often, is this: “Hello, my car

educate themselves after hours; Patients

makes this noise at the front; what do you

are regularly sent to specialists, automotive

think it is, and how much will it cost to fix?”

service personnel have to content with ob-

scure, intermittent problems and dirty, hot

engines; Depressed patients are sent for

therapy, unhappy customers are sent to

“talk to the mechanic directly”.

I don’t envy the poor guys – and girls – who

have to convince already irate customers

that the problem is not what they insist it is,

that it will take more time than they are will-

ing to wait, and that it will cost more than

what they want to pay.

The doctor’s office will give the patient a

precisely timed appointment, months from

V-8 engines of a by-gone era left enough room for access

now. You could be charged if you miss the

It is ludicrous, but expected, to diagnose car

appointment, but when you get there, you

problems over the telephone; it’s difficult

usually have to wait your turn, ‘ patiently’.

enough with the ‘ patient’ in the workshop. It

can be harder than diagnosing people prob-

Let’s have a little consideration for the au-


tomotive professionals. Yes, they are pro-

fessionals; Not only your life and the safety

Doctors have only two models to worry

of your family depends on their knowledge

about, but they stil ”practice” medicine. Pa-

and skill, but also the lives of people you

tients can verbalize what ails them, and

meet and pass during your travels.

many symptoms are well known.

Today’s ‘ Doctor of Motors’ (yes, automotive

Motor vehicles’ models number in the hun-

technicians can earn that tile, after undergo-

dreds, change on a regular basis and often

ing a comprehensive examination at one

don’t show any symptoms when brought in

automotive company) must have thorough

for repair. Yet, many customers expect an

knowledge of mechanics, hydraulics, pneu-

instant answer, a quick fix and no charge, -

matics, electronics and electrics in order to

cure current-day multi-computerized per-

burnt. Manual-transmission gear oil tends to

sonal transportation devices of any ailment.

be more on the brown side, and compara-

Diagnosing an intermittent malfunction in a

tively thick.

recent motor vehicle takes part experience,

part technological knowledge, logical rea-

* Red is probably power steering fluid. The

soning, and technical detective work.

power steering system is supposed to be a

completely sealed system and never lose

No matter how well educated your auto-tech


may be, s/he can use your help in analyzing

your car’s problem, just as your health

* Pale green, orange or yellow sweet-


smelling fluid is coolant/antifreeze. Be care-

professional needs your input for a success-

ful with this toxic fluid if you have pets; they

ful diagnosis.

are attracted to its sweet smell. Coolant

leaks can originate in many different places

As a regular reader of this column you know

most of this. But let all of us remember that

today’s auto-tech had to gain more

knowledge and more information during the

last decade, than during the half century

before that, and the need to understand

chemistry as well; That’s coming down the


More on diagnosing problems from the


Bluetooth in Automotive Diagnostics

It is getting more cramped under the hood of modern cars

“Bluetooth is a low range, low power wire-

Fluids are the lifeblood of a motor vehicle.

less communication standard. It intends to

They cool, lubricate, seal and transfer pres-

replace cables that communicate devices of

sure. When any of the usually seven differ-

peripherals that are close to the user or

ent fluids leak, it is often an early signal of


mechanical problems to come.

In many applications cables limit perfor-

You can be an effective assistant to your

mance and ability to perform certain tasks.

car-care provider in preventing major prob-

We are so used to live with cables around

lems with your vehicle by pointing out what

us, that we hardly think how to do more

type of fluid you may find under your car or

tasks or behave different without them.

truck. A piece of cardboard is a good collec-

tor. Each fluid looks, feels, or smells slightly

different, so use the following color refer-


* Brown or black is usually engine oil. If it

smells slightly like gasoline, then it certainly

is engine oil. Older engines will normally

use (burn) a small amount of oil, but they're

not supposed to leak oil.

* Reddish-brown fluid is most likely auto-

matic transmission fluid, if your car is so

Scarcely room to place a hand in VW 412 ‘Squareback’

equipped. If it's dirty, it will smell faintly

Small-town reporter invited to try out various fuel cell vehicles

An opportunity I would not miss — usually

To produce a large usable amount of elec-

reserved for the ‘big names’ from Road &

tricity to supply homes, offices, industries,

Track, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, or jour-

etc., multiple fuel cells are combined into a

nalists of large newspapers. Lucky me!

fuel cell stack. The stack is essentially an

assembly of fuel cells, designed to produce

After writing about automotive topics for

a sufficient quantity of electricity to power a

more than three years, including a series on

vehicle. The electricity generated can be

fuel-cells, I unexpectedly received an invita-

increased or decreased by altering the

tion to a fuel-cell workshop from Hydrogen-number of cells in the stack.

ics in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto.

Producing electricity for a working applica-

tion, such as a motor or an appliance, re-

quires much more than just the fuel cell

stack. In addition to the stack, a fuel cell

system includes many components for such

functions as injecting fuel gases, managing

a water cooling system, conditioning the

output power, and monitoring and control-

ling all the required system parameters such

as temperatures and pressures. Without this

supportive operating system, the fuel cell

stack cannot produce usable power. The

successful integration of an entire fuel cell

system is critical to achieving the desired

There I found myself in the company of pro-

power performance.”

fessionals from various disciplines, from as

far away as northern Quebec, California and

Changing power … Powering change” is

from across Canada. Hydrogenics’ special-

Hydrogenics’ motto.

ists gave us an insight into their occupation,

takings turns in presenting the subject of

their activities:

“A fuel cell is a device that converts chemi-

cal energy from hydrogen and oxygen into

electrical energy to produce electricity. It is

similar to a battery in that it has an anode or

negative terminal and a cathode or positive

terminal. A battery, however, is only capable

of storing power, whereas the fuel cell can

generate it, so long as hydrogen, the fuel, is

being supplied. As such, the fuel cell system

also has similarities to an internal combus-

tion engine, except that it operates very effi-

A real gas station of the future – H2 gas, that is — hydrogen

ciently at low temperatures and with minimal

moving parts. In the process of electro-

With more than fifty years experience in

chemical conversion to create electricity, the

working with hydrogen, the recent construc-

only by-products or emissions of the fuel

tion of hydrogen generation equipment,

cell are water and heat.

producing various sizes of fuel-cell power

units, and building test equipment to evalu-

ate it all, Hydrogenics is facing the ‘hydro-

the CNE grounds refuel John Deere ‘Pro

gen economy’ with poise.

Gator’ work vehicles, forklifts and future

fuel-cell vehicles at this, Toronto’s first true

gas station.

A visit to, and demonstration of this power

plant was part of the immensely interesting

fuel-cell workshop, in connection with driv-

ing carious fuel cell demonstration vehicles.

After returning to Hydrogenics, they showed

us the work in progress: fuel-cell power

modules of various sizes and outputs, hy-

drogen generators and the test stands. On

one of these was humming a fuel-cell that

would complete a seven-thousand hour test

on the next day. This is the equivalent of

almost 750,000 km endured by an internal

combustion engine in an automobile.

On-site electrolyzer and storage cylinders

As I reported in earlier columns, different

types of fuel-cell vehicles (FCV) are being

tested around the world; passenger cars,

buses and delivery vans. We had the

chance to drive a Purolator van and one of

the new generation of ‘city cars’, the small

Behind the refueling station the wind turbine that generates

two-seat commuter vehicles. Like the

electricity to pump water from Lake Ontario and convert that

into hydrogen, which is used to power Public Works vehicles

‘smart’, the GEM is a micro car. But while

of the City of Toronto.

the ‘smart’ is diesel or gasoline powered,

Toronto partnered with Hydrogenics in a

the GEM (Global Electric Motorcar) is an

‘Fuel Cel Demonstration Project’. As a part

electric car. Both of these companies be-

of several future ‘Hydrogen Vil ages’, a

long to DaimlerChrysler. The GEM comes in

wind-power generator at the Canadian Na-

two and four seat versions and as a pickup.

tional Exhibition Park supplies ‘green’ ele

Several of these cute ‘gems’ are in for an


tricity, which in turn powers the Hydrogenics

organ transplant; the battery pack is re-

‘Electrolyser’ generator, producing hydrogen

placed by a Hydrogenics fuel-cell. Just as

from water. The gas is stored in four large

the smart is a riot to drive, creating traffic

cylinders, adjacent to Toronto’s first hydro-

jams from people trying to get a glimpse at

gen fuel pump. City employees working in

it, the GEM is off to a fast start. But, being a

‘city car’ its top speed is limited.

Thanks to Hydrogenics, Ballard, and other

Canadian firms, the time of a fuel-cell pow-

ered cell phone, automobile, or home is get-

ting closer; the Hydrogen Age is dawning.

Driving FCVs, city staff keep Toronto’s parks beautiful

Shown here are some of the vehicles being

modified by Hydrogenics during my visit,

powered by a fuel cell instead of internal

Hyster FC forklift used by General Motors in Oshawa

combustion engine; witnessing the transition

from the ICE age to the Hydrogen (H2) Age.

Purolator is testing fuel cell delivery truck in Toronto

All photographs thanks to Hydrogenics

“Safety is no accident”

Seatbelts save lives, but it’s not always

clear who should be buckled in which seat.

"We're talking about creating cars that don't

Infants MUST face the rear of the car, in a

have accidents," says director of engineer-

special baby-carrier in the back seat. Tod-

ing Dr. Andrew Brown Jr, of Delphi Corp.

dlers and small children up to a certain

weight must sit in a child safety seat. More

Canada is playing a crucial role in the cur-

information on this is available at seat and

rent [2005] six-year effort to establish global

car retailers and from police. Confusion still

safety standards among 22 nations. North

exists on how to properly buckle child-seats;

America, China, Japan, Australia and mem-

a new Universal Child Safety Seat Standard

bers of the European Union must adopt

is coming, which uses an easier tether set-

equal regulations for this to happen. Com-

up to correctly install new seats.

panies and customers will benefit from

manufacturers being able to avoid duplica-

tion and cut development time.

The drive to design and manufacture safer

automobiles started in the early 1950s. The

Hungarian engineer Béla Barényi, working at Mercedes-Benz, was the first to discover

that in a collision, kinetic energy must be

absorbed through deformation in order for the occupants to be protected. He logically

split the car body into three "boxes": a soft

front section, a rigid passenger cell and a

soft rear section. Other early efforts of the

automobile industry to reduce collision inju-

ries resulted in collapsible steering columns,

padded dashboards, steering-wheel impact

plates, head-rests, lap belts, seat-back

Rear-facing safe & happy toddler

Photo by Mitsubishi

locks etc.

You owe it to yourself and your family to

choose the safest vehicle by checking the

crash-test ratings. Three out of four vehicle

shoppers are citing safety as the prime fac-

tor in making their choice, before economy,

power, styling, etc. Seat comfort and being

at ease with a car's controls play a very im-

portant role in safety. Some vehicles are

now equipped with adjustable pedals to help

shorter drivers get a safer position. The

driver should be no closer to the steering

Inflating seatbelts tested at Ford in 2011

wheel than 25 cm, about an arm’s length,

for the airbag to offer its best protection.

Most of us remember the introduction of

shoulder seatbelts and airbags. The Nation-

Today, every vehicle manufacturer has

al Highway Traffic Safety Administration es-

safety-engineering departments, exploring

timates that this has saved more than

new ways and systems. Innovative materi-

100,000 people from dying in car accidents

als and electronics deliver and promise

between 1975 and 1997.

more involved safety measures.

Toyota (and other automakers) are working

items and systems, such as:

to integrate all separate-functioning systems

 adaptive turning lights

into Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Manage-

 black ice sensors

ment (VDIM). Through an array of sensors,

 lane departure sensors with virtual

actuators and controllers, VDIM seamlessly

rumble strips warning drivers by vi-

coordinates the functions of braking, steer-

brating the left or right seat-edge

ing, vehicle stability and traction control sys-

 sleep sensors – a camera focusing

tems. The electronic control begins before

on the driver’s eyes and emitting a

the vehicle reaches its limits, offering pre-


ventive safety performance.

 adaptive cruise control that keeps

your vehicle at a safe distance from

others regardless of speed

 intelligent brakes and steering, over-

ruling the driver if a potential impact

is ‘sensed’

Before all this functions faultlessly, cars will

have door-locks that remain closed during a

collision or crash. Outside airbags will pre-

vent a pedestrian from hitting the wind-

shield, or, already functional at Honda and

others, the hood raises itself partially at the

Honda all-weather indoor crash-test center. High speed

windshield for the same purpose. Flexible

cameras on all sides of impact point.

materials could also be used to lessen a

small impact, with ‘memory’ to return to their

Another new item, but soon mandatory in

original shape.

new automobiles, will be a tire-pressure

monitoring system.

Mercedes just patented another major ad-

vance in safety-structures with the A-class,

Run-flat tires, first developed in racing, are

and Volvo has the reputation of being

now available on some cars. Their strong

among the safest of motor vehicles.

sidewalls can support the tire in a normal

position – but only at reduced speed and for

a limited distance. Without air in the “flat”

Even in the most advanced cars, the best

safety device is still an alert, skilled driver.

tire, the vehicle must be driven gently. VDIM

could limit a vehicle’s

speed electronically

when that condition


Not lifesavers, but sav-

ing insurance claims


and expensive body


parts are park-assist



and automatic parking




Car of the


In the near future we


will see a multitude of

additional new active

and passive safety

Modern monuments to motorcars

Washington, Paris, Moscow, Ottawa; We

towers; all are monuments to human inge-

think “politics” when we hear those names.

nuity and resourcefulness. Pharaohs,

Matters affecting our daily lives are con-

kings, sheikhs and princesses left us memo-

nected with these names. But what is more

rable constructions. In modern times, the

important for our daily existence than our

wealth created by industrious workers is

cars? Going to work, to school, to the store,

expressed in office towers and headquarter

the playground, to see our friends and fami-

buildings. Libraries, museums, and places

ly, all by car.

of performing arts celebrate human culture

and our way of life.

Mention Detroit, and every person alive rec-

ognizes that city as the car-capital of the

Automobiles have improved the life of the

world. Oshawa, we were told, is “The City

general public during the last one hundred

that “motivates” Canada”. How many people

years in every country they are produced in,

do you think know that? What about Oak-

economically and in lifestyle. An array of

ville? Does everybody who drives a Ford

tributes to the automobile have been fash-

know that some models are made there?

ioned to celebrate its influence: Murals,

Windsor? A little better: the Chrysler Wind-

sculptures, songs, movies, race-tracks, mu-

sor was an admired model, and a “Windsor

seums and the business buildings the auto

engine” is recognized by enthusiasts.

firms operate from; the spectacular setting

and surroundings of the Canadian GM

Stuttgart? Sounds familiar? You are a car

headquarters mentioned before; the “Four

enthusiast if you connect that city with Benz,

Cylinder Building” of BMW in Munich: four

Daimler and Porsche, all pioneers whose

round office towers; the striking new design

names are now on factories in that city.

centers of most car companies and many

beautiful bridges connecting charming cit-

Turin, beside the recent Olympic Winter


Games, is known (really?) as the car styling

capital of the world.

Volkswagen, Europe’s largest car maker,

has taken the architectural tribute one step

What about Wolfsburg? If you drive a

further: they have constructed Auto-City,

Volkswagen you may even know that city as

Autostadt in German, where 13 buildings


house administration, museums, delivery

centers, hotels, restaurants and much more

Cities of politics have built majestic struc-

in a park-like setting.

tures that stand out, “monumental” build-

ings; our Parliament Building, Toronto City

Despite being an automotive theme park,

Hall, the White House, the Kremlin, castles

ample activities for children are provided:

from the medieval times.

they can walk through a giant model of an

internal combustion engine or drive in go-

Cities of industry are repeating that exam-

kart-sized New Beetles while learning about

ple. Remember seeing the General Motors

traffic safety. A computer lets children ac-

headquarters by Lake Ontario, just east of

cessorize and modify Volkswagen vehicles,

to Oshawa on Highway 401? Perhaps you

and a photograph of that car is printed.

have seen the old Chrysler building on a trip

to New York City?

Educational displays and activities are

available for all ages: visitors can plant a

Architecture is one way for humans to con-

seed that will grow into a plant to be har-

vey greatness: pyramids, castles, bridges,

vested for bio-fuel; a machine in the safety

center allows the sensation of a car in a roll-

Visitors can explore technical themes, but


also environmental and social concerns.

Part of the old plant has been transformed

At regularly intervals throughout the day vis-

into a community center, used for a regular

itors can take a tour of the factory, one of

events, such as the Mondo- (World) Club.

the world’s largest, which began operations

Almost every month, the center becomes

in the late 1930s. Vehicles of the past and

“disco electronica”, attracting between 3,000

the future of the VW Group’s members Au-

and 5,000 youthful party goers, many from

di, Bentley, Lamborghini, Seat, Skoda and

other European countries.

Volkswagen are displayed in distinct build-


Since it opened in 2000, ten million visitors

have come to visit Autostadt.

After all is seen and done, more than 600

visitors a day pick up their new car at Auto-

The emerging Chinese automobile industry

stadt. Hundreds of all types and models are

has seemingly borrowed a page from

stored in two 20-story glass silos. The new Volkswagen’s Autostadt. Changchun, a very

car is brought down to the customer in a

young city in China, beautiful and green with

fully automated procedure. Watching the

public parks and gardens, has the largest

high speed hydraulic lift move the cars from

automotive industry in China. The country’s

the different floors at high speed is a show

first car plant was set up here in the 1950s,

by itself.

and China’s “Automotive Cultural Park” wil

open in 2008.

More on this soon…

Part of Volkswagen’s Autostadt in Wolfsburg

From a far distant land they come

A ship transporting 4,190 South Korean and

The MV Hyundai was one of 127 RO/RO

Japanese cars sank after colliding with an

(roll-on/roll-off) vessels listed.

oil tanker south of Singapore on May 23,

[2004] according to a Reuters report. The

I remember when imported cars were lifted

MV Hyundai was carrying about 3,000 new

off a freighter by crane. A heavy coating of

cars exported by Korea's largest automaker,

wax protected them from ocean spray,

Hyundai Motor Co and its Kia Motors affili-

which had to be washed off with lots of

ate, as well as over 1,000 second-hand

warm water. All too often cars were dam-

Japanese cars. All the cars sank, but there

aged on-board or during unloading.

was no crude-oil spill from the tanker. The

crew of 20 was rescued before the ship

When more and more vehicles were traded

went down, and there were no injuries to

between countries in the 1960s, shipbuild-

members of either vessel.

ers started to design ‘Roll-On/Roll-Off’ ves-

sels to carry a variety of wheeled cargo.

This breakthrough came when classification

RO/RO ship at right has partly emptied the parking lot, while

the Wallenius Lines’ vessel is ready to load its cargo of cars

societies (like Lloyds of London) and gov-

ernment regulators agreed that it was safe

The inside of a modern RO/RO-ship has a

to cut openings into the hull of a ship, large

basic design of a parking garage and can

enough to roll vehicles through it, and to

carry up to 6600 cars on 12 decks. Most

design ships with long, flat decks, rather

Imports are shipped from Europe or Asia on

than to subdivide the vessel by cross-wise

these ‘floating garages’.

partitions, called bulkheads.

The Tamesis, a fourth-generation roll-

(495,000 sq/ft). Some decks are fixed steel

on/roll-off ship, is designed for the transpor-

decks and some are hoistable, consisting of

tation of railway trains, earth-movers, agri-

separate panels. The ship can load cars

culture equipment, trucks and cars. One of

with the batteries connected and fuel in the

the largest RO/RO carriers in the world, it

tanks. Ventilation is provided by 68 fans.

was built by Daewoo Heavy Industries, a

company that also builds automobiles

Main access is by the three-section rear

ramp, which is sealed off by the rear door

Below the freeboard deck, the Tamesis has

when sailing. This ramp is angled to one

a double-skinned hull, with the spaces serv-

side. There are also eight hoistable ramps

ing as water ballast tanks. Altogether, there

along the side. The main ramp can load four

are 14,442m³ (tons) of water ballast availa-

trailers with a combined load of 320 tons

ble. Three divisions separate two fuel tanks

simultaneously. Each vehicle is chained in

from the water ballast in the double bottom

place with special ‘quick-straps’.

skin. The total cargo deck area is 46,000m²

Schematic layout of a large RO/RO ship

To compare the giant ship diesels engines

ing history analysis (fault analysis). It inte-

to our cars: Some produce up to 76,000 hp

grates not only main and auxiliary machin-

at just over 100 rpm, propelling freighters to

ery, but also tank levels, anti-heeling and

24 knots (45.5 kmh). The super-charged 12

cargo-load placement. The program was

cylinders have a bore of almost 1m and 2.5

developed by Israeli software specialist To-

m stroke. Five small (van-seized) diesels


with around 2000 hp drive the generators,

the hydraulic systems and pumps. The main

Despite all the modern conveniences and

engine consumes more than 8000 liters of

computerized safety systems, accidents still

fuel each day.

happen. Another car-carrier sank in De-

cember of 2002 in the English Channel after

The loading of several thousand vehicles is colliding with another ship. I have a very

planned and controlled by an “Autoship-

funny report of this tragic mishap; a future

Systems’ computer program. Supported by

column [article] on automotive humor will

Windows software, the computer allows da-

include this.

ta exchange with the shipping office, includ-

The most publicized car ‘lost at sea’ is the

The Futura’s body was hand crafted by the

“Futura”. It sank with the Andrea Dorea after

Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy and shipped

being rammed by the ‘Stockholm’ on the

back to the USA onboard the unfortunate

foggy night of July 25, 1956, just off the east

cruise ship, with still another custom car

coast of the USA. The Ford Motor Co. was


waiting to take delivery of their latest "car of

the future", a "rolling laboratory" from which

Ships are built to float, and yet they sink.

Ford would learn about new technology to

Poor cars! They never had a chance. —

apply to their production automobiles.

We need more amphibious cars … that arti-

cle is coming soon.

Cars being loaded onto one of the smaller car-carrying ships

One of the large RO/RO car carrier ships during loading — usually by two ramps

Yet another ship is ready and waiting for the cars to come …

RO/RO ships have lifts between decks for heavy vehicles such as railway locomotives or earth moving equipment, and ramps for speedy car loading

Loading or un-loading cars through two, or even three ramps, crews can move about one thousand cars per hour A small marine engine on the way to the shipyard – large ones have up to 14 cylinders & 108,000 HP @ 105 RPM

Photo by Telstar Logistics

The above photo refused to fit into a single column —

Below: after just a few hours at the dock, with every-

this way it shows much better the enormous size of

thing shipshape and strapped down securely, the re-

these huge car carriers

Photos by Eukor

supplied ship sails to a far distant land again

A Christmas story for the young and the young at heart

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and Santa was sad.

He had wished for a sportscar - an Audi TT at that!

There were dozens of cars all over the store;

Roadsters, convertibles, and hard-tops galore.

The cars were ready and each had a tag

Marked “Cody” or “Francis” or “Tony” or “Pat”.

St. Nick looked them over, but none was for him.

His chances of getting that sportscar grew slim.

While searching he wondered: was it too much to ask?

A good little sports car, not exceedingly fast!

Year after year he gave presents away,

Pleasing people, wherever, on this special day.

But never a bag or a box was for him.

The tags always read: “for Jane” or “for Jim”.

No one asked Santa what he wished for this year;

They always want things for themselves, that was clear.

Well, Santa decided ‘twas time for a change,

Him wanting a motorized sleigh wasn't so strange.

He had been good, not doubt about that. — —

There was an Audi R8, tagged “for Pat”.

The body was silver, very streamlined and sleek.

St. Nick stepped closer and took a small peek.

The engine under the window - impressive; behold,

And Santa soon started feeling quite bold.

He opened the door, and he clambered inside.

”I’l go for a spin, just a short little ride”,

He thought to himself as he turned-on the key;

The engine was idling, Santa noticed with glee.

And he carefully backed the car out the door.

When out on the highway, Santa's foot hit the floor.

The R8, it roared, nearly took to the sky,

and Santa eased off and gave a big sigh.

He was driving a sportscar, but it was not his,

He must take it back in the condition it is.

But Santa was blissful and he drove for an hour,

the car handled great, and it had lots of power.

Somebody lucky will soon get this machine;

I now must return it, before I am seen.

Perhaps next year, St. Nick thought with glee

there may be a car for me under the tree.

If not a sportscar, ok, but not an old lorry!

If I can’t get a car, many kids will be sorry.

He would have to use, he thought with disdain,

His team of slow moving reindeer again.

Eh, it came to him, what could be funner

Than to pull the sleigh with a Hummer.

Relieved, he called out, as he drove back inside

"Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good-night!"

And by sheer coincidence, close to the

He invited Eva-Maria to join him and Mrs

North Pole, the Audi folks were doing a

Claus for a mug of hot chocolate. They

sequel photo-shoot, fourteen years after talked about cars and traffic congestion

the original, of an Audi with Quattro four-during holidays and the advantage of all-

wheel-drive climbing up a ski-jump.


(When an Audi can do that, it can cer-

tainly pull a sleigh up a roof!) And the

Eva-Maria knew that Santa Claus was

Audi did that eleven times, not with a

looking for some type of vehicle to

stunt driver, but with confident engineer

speed up the yearly increasing workload

Uwe Bleck.

of delivering presents. She was able to

convince Santa of the Audi Q7 SUV’s

Unexpectedly, one of the security

ecological and economical advantages

guards on duty reported that he saw

over the Hummer. The Q7 is one of the

“some Audi model” driving up the side of

VW – Audi – Porsche triplets of SUVs,

a nearby mountain.

which come with gasoline, diesel or hy-

brid drivetrain.

Eva-Maria V., Audi-Sport PR executive,

later took a drive in that direction in her

However, before signing a purchase or-

A4 Quattro. To her amazement, she dis-

der, Santa insisted on having the new

covered a driveway with the sign “Santa

“Quattro Sled” painted in an inconspicu-

Claus” and a mail box with the Canada

ous snow-white camouflage color.

postal code H0H 0H0. Eva-Maria, whom

yours truly met when Audi raced the

Eva-Maria has notified this writer that

R10 TDI Diesel sportscar at Mosport in

Santa Claus will take delivery of his new

August 2007, took a chance and entered

Audi SUV as soon as the weather clears

the long, winding driveway.

at the North Pole.

(Area residents can tune in to the yearly

From the ski-jump tower, the photogra-

radar reports from Canadian Forces

phers were able to keep track of her car,

Base Trenton Airport on December 24,

and they took the accompanying picture

to keep track of Santa’s progress)

with an extra-long telephoto-lens. The

[Or on one of the radio stations in OUR

photograph clearly shows another set of

neighbourhood] — read the story aloud

tire-tracks on the cobble stones, ahead

of the Audi rounding the turn. To Eva’s

to your children

Photograph courtesy of Audi:

amazement, Santa Claus awaited her at

On the way to visit Santa Claus

the reindeer stable, just below the castle

[both parts published December 18, 2007]

The cost of these toys isolates men from boys

Of course, that is not the case here. They

across three boys racing home-made carts

do it strictly in the name of science and

down a back street in Dayton, Ohio. He saw


the fun potential of this sport for the whole

community and arranged a coasting race for

Gravity sucks”, I have heard it said. But not

the boys and their friends. A collection of

so in a soapbox derby, the good kind of

vehicles made from orange crates, soap

street racing. Gravity pulls everything down

boxes, tin sheets, buggy wheels and other

– this is what kids want, the faster the bet-

'junk' was the start of a world-wide phenom-

ter. The only thing that opposes gravity is

enon now called Soapbox Derby.

friction and air resistance.

This fun idea for children took off. National associations were formed and strict rules for

construction and safety of the engine-less

racecars were put into action. Over time the

Derby developed in North America and

many other countries into an intensely con-

tested competition, with the overall winner

racing against an international field from

Canada, South Africa and even Hawaii for

the title of World Champion. When at its

best, the All-American Soapbox Derby at-

tracted 25,000 entrants in 120 races. Across

the country, race weekends drew crowds of

millions of people.

Celebrity race in a Minnesota community, from Wikipedia

As with many other activities, success de-

Going uphill can be fun, rock- or mountain

pends on the enthusiasm of its organizers

climbing, sand dune climbing with or without

and participants. While soapbox racing de-

wheels. Hill climbing on a winding road is a

clined in many areas in recent years, its ap-

popular type of motorsport. The most ex-

peal for fun and fund raising was realized by

treme one is the annual ‘Race to the

the ‘Festival of Speed’ in Goodwood, Eng-

Clouds’, the Pikes Peak hil -climb in Colora-land, in 2000. Using the hill-climb track in

do. It’s a 22 km, timed run up a mountain to

reverse, twenty-four private entries and

14,000 feet, traversing different weather

several car builders went up (actually down)

patterns and road surfaces. Lack of oxygen

against famous racing driver Sir Stirling

at the top robs the engines of power and the

Moss and Lord March of Formula 1 fame,

drivers of breath - if they avoided the pull of

this time in a soapbox. The derby competi-

gravity by not going over a cliff.

tion became an extremely popular feature of

the unique Goodwood Festival. Between The opposite is the wish of any ‘gravity

2000 and 2004, one of the Festival of

sport’ participant. They want a steep drop-

Speed's most talked-about events was the

off to gain initial speed. Going down a hill

‘Gravity Racing Club’ Soapbox Chal enge.

faster than the other kid in a home-built

‘derby racer’ is the wish of thousands of

New regulations restricted overall size,

youngsters in many a town.

shape and concept, but still left plenty of

possibility for design innovation. New Derby

Soapbox racing started in 1933, when the cars came from some of the brightest minds

American newsman Myron E Scott came

in automobile design. The result was close

and spectacular racing, unlike anything else

approach to design.” Different ideas came

in the motor sport world.

from Audi, Bentley, Chrysler, GM, Mazda,

Nissan, Porsche and Volvo.

Soon the idea jumped to car-crazy Califor-

nia, where many of the world’s manufactur-

The Bentley boys named their entry the

ers have design centers. They joined with

"Crewe's Missile" (the Bentley factory is in

charities, and Soapbox derbies gained ac-

Crewe, England). By the end of the Pin-

ceptance as fundraisers, one of the best

ewood Derby, in August, the fastest gravity

known the Pinewood Derby, aiding foster racer was the Volvo entry, which hit 87

children and the Boy Scouts of America.

km/h, about 60 more than the home-built


Interest in soapbox derby racing is now in-

creasing in leaps and bounds, since NAS-

CAR has taken on the All-American Soap

Box Derby as part of its youth outreach pro-


The steering of a soapbox car is by a wire

acting on the buggy-like front axle. Soap-

boxes were the first ones to "drive-by-wire" .

Taking a break from the serious task of de-

(the low-tech eqivalent )

veloping more powerful or more fuel effi-

cient engines, or different body styles for the

In many communities the Rotary Club or-

next model, engineers and designers used

ganizes these events.

some of their time to “think inside the


How about organizing a Soapbox Derby in

YOUR community???

“It’s a very international deal,” said Mazda’s

Will you at least think about it?

chief of design Truman Pollard. “When you

look at the field, everybody’s got their own

Different design ideas from Audi, Bentley, Chrysler, GM, Mazda, Nissan, Porsche and Volvo

The Legacy of the Silver Ghost

What’s in a name? Both, Legacy and Silver

Mans five times between 1924 -1930. Since

Ghost, are model names of different car-

1998, Bentley is part of Volkswagen Group.

makers; one current, the other antique.

Naming a model is one thing, but how did

BMW (English= Bavarian Motor Works) was

the automobile companies start out?

founded in 1919 as an out-growth of Rapp

aircraft engine manufacturers. They could

The auto firms’ big-ego founders named

no longer produce those after World War I,

most companies with easy-to-remember

but started building motorbikes, then cars

names — their own family name. Some

during the late 1920s.

were named in different ways, like the bu-

reaucratically derived General Motors, the

David Dunbar Buick was already building

peculiar Plymouth or the audacious Audi.

gasoline engines in 1899, and he revealed

his first automobile in 1900. His company

On a leisurely day, the origin of some of the

was incorporated in 1903 and moved from

most familiar car companies might be an

Detroit to Flint, Michigan.

easier read than the more technical pieces.

Some makes no longer exist, but are still

Cadillac is named in honor of the 18th cen-

popular. To learn more about each individu-

tury French-Canadian explorer Antoine

al name, just google it and you are ‘off to

Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac. He

the races’.

So here goes mishmash:

was born in France and immigrated to Can-

ada. Cadillac established a fur trading post

Aston Martin. Like many, this one is based

on Lake St. Clair and later founded Detroit,

on the ego and pursuit of its founder, Lionel

Michigan – a true Canadian connection.

Martin, combined with activities at the near-

by Aston Hill Climb. The famous "DB" series

Chevrolet is named after Swiss racecar

– DB9 the latest - was named by, and for,

driver Louis Chevrolet. He drove a Buick in

David Brown, who bought Aston Martin after

the first Indy 500 in 1911 for W.C. Durant,

World War II to prevent it from going bank-






rupt. In the 1960s, Aston Martin bought the

“Chevy’s” mechanical talents improved

prestigious, low-volume Lagonda name-

Buick cars, then led to the formation of the

plate, renaming it Aston Martin Lagonda.

Chevrolet Motor Company. He later left that

company to form Frontenac Motors.

August Horch, remarkable engineering and

business pioneer, did not see eye to eye

André Citroën was the first European car-

with his investors and opted out of the firm

maker to take up mass-production in 1919

carrying his name. Under corporate law he

and establish a sales and service network.

could not open another company with his

Eight years after starting, it was Europe’s

last name. Audi, the Latin equivalent of

largest, and the world’s 4th largest auto-

Horch (“hark” = listen) solved that detail in

mobile manufacturer; now Peugeot owns it.

1909. The high-end Horch company, equal

of Maybach, expired during World War II,

Walter Percy Chrysler had worked his way

but found a worthy successor in ‘


up to superintendent of the locomotive

shops of the Chicago & Great Western Rail-

Walter Owen Bentley started making cars

road by 1907. One year later, he visited the

in 1919, when his rotary aero engines were

Chicago Auto Show and purchased his first

no longer needed after WWI. The high-

car, a Locomobile. In 1912, Charles Nash

quality, fast cars won the 24 Hours of Le

(remember Nash cars?) hired Chrysler as

works-manager of Buick. In 1919, Walter

Chrysler resigned as president of the Buick

Motor Company and vice-president of Gen-

When Edsel Ford was president of the Detroit

eral Motors Corporation. Chrysler was then

Arts Council in 1932, he commissioned Mexi-

hired to save Willys-Overland and the Willys

can-born artist Diego Rivera (1886–1957) to

Corporation, at $1,000,000 per year. (in

paint frescos depicting the City’s industries.

1920!) Next year, the company bankers ap-

Rivera painted the famous murals on the north

proached Chrysler to save Maxwell and

and south walls in the museum’s Garden Court.

Chalmers. Chrysler agreed, for $100,000 a

Shown here is the center panel of the North

year plus stock options. After acquiring the-

Wall, depicting production and manufacture of

se for several years, Walter incorporated

transmission and V8 engine

the Chrysler Corporation and took over the

Maxwell Motor Corporation. In May of 1925

Enzo Ferrari started racing cars early in his

the last Maxwell was built, in June the first

life. He raced and worked for Alfa Romeo,

Chrysler arrived.

when in 1929 he started ‘Scuderia Ferrari’

as the racing team for Alfa Romeo. It was

John and Horace Dodge worked in Wind-

not before 1947 that the Ferrari company

sor, Ontario, for a time and organized the

we know today, was formed. He named one

Evans & Dodge Bicycle Co. They had be-

of the models after his son Dino. One of the

come skil ed in their father’s bicycle ma-

models of this century is named after ‘il

chine shop, and soon fabricated automobile

Commendatore’ himself, Enzo.

parts for Henry Ford, who offered them a

10% interest in his company. After twelve

Fiat stands for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili

years of prosperous partnership, they de-

Torino. Investors started the firm in 1899,

cided to do it their way in 1914. Ford cars

and it has become Italy’s largest company,

were being built with “virtual y all Dodge

producing a great variety of products and

parts” until then.

consumer goods. As of July 2011 Fiat has

controlling majority in Chrysler.

Immigrants Fred and August Duesenberg

made legendary automobiles in the United

Ford surely does not need much of an ex-

States of America from 1913 to 1937.

planation, but some clarification: Henry Ford

did not invent the automobile, nor the as-

A number of these names appear else-

sembly line. Olds already used that in 1901,

where with an article devoted to them; Wik-

but its first use in the industrial age was in

ipedia is a good source for more detail.

1799 by Eli Whitney. He built muskets with

interchangeable parts on an ‘assembly line’.

Henry Ford improved its usefulness by in-

its numerous owners, before settling with

troducing conveyor belts to bring parts to

Chrysler and now Fiat.

the workstations. This cut the assembly time

of the Model T in 1913 from 14 hours to 93

Kia more or less translates as "Arising from

minutes. The Ford Motor Company was

Asia", which it did in Korea in 1944. Produc-

founded in 1903, although Henry had built

ing tubing and bicycle parts at first, then

several auto-buggies earlier.

bikes, then motorcycles and small motor

vehicles, the now fastest growing car-maker

General Motors was founded by William

is fairly new to us. Kias are selling in 170

Durant in 1908. He had started building cars

countries, and it is now partnered with the

under his name and formed GM as a hold-

other Korean automaker.

ing company for Buick. A shrewd business

person, he soon added Oldsmobile, Cadil-

Lamborghini is also named after its found-

lac, Oakland and Elmore to later become

er, Ferrucio Lamborghini, who reportedly

the giant, hard to manage empire we know.

rebuffed criticism about the poor rearward

visibility of the low-slung sportscars by say-

Holden is one of the oldest businesses still

ing, "what’s behind me does not matter."

in existence. Starting in 1856 as a saddlery

The company started out as a maker of

manufacturer, the firm got into the automo-

farm tractors. Our trusty ‘Trentonian’ news-

bile industry by first making interiors. By and

paper published an entire column about this

by they expanded into producing complete

make some time ago. [see the ‘cars’ sec-

vehicles. Holden became a subsidiary of


GM in 1931 and kept expanding with other

makes in Australasia.

Land Rover, the other firm sold by Ford to

Tata, started in 1948, as the second four-

Soichiro Honda started in business shortly

wheel-drive off-road vehicle after Jeep, by

after World War II by installing small en-

the former Rover Motor Co.

gines into the bicycles of customers to make

commuting to work less of a chore. Honda

Mazda stems from the company's first pres-

soon started to build motorcycles, then cars,

ident, Jujiro Matsuda. To make the name

and now the company is starting to build jet

sound better outside of Japan the spelling


was changed to Mazda. The company

started as Toyo Cork Kogyo, Ltd., with

Hyundai. Rhyming with Sunday, Chung Ju-

“Mazda” first used in 1929 when the "Mazda

Yung started the firm as an engineering and

Go-a" motor-tricycle was introduced.

construction firm in 1947. Branches of this

largest Korean company today include elec-

Bruce McLaren, a New Zealand racing

tronics, ship building, grocery stores and

driver, started the company in 1963. At first

others. Hyundai means "modernity" in Ko-

only racing cars were fabricated; later the


firm added production of sportscars for this


Jaguar started in 1922 as the Swallow

Sidecar Company. Sir William Lyons fabri-

Mercedes - started as a model name of the

cated motorcycle sidecars before producing

Benz Motor Company. Karl Benz and

automobiles. After WW II the company’s

Gottlieb Daimler joined their expanding

name was changed to its present name.

firms only in 1926, as Daimler-Benz. After

Ford owned the prestige make for some

the split-up of DaimlerChrysler the corpora-

years before selling it to India’s Tata Motors.

tion bought back the Daimler name from

Jaguar /Tata before legally calling itself

Jeep has perhaps the most convoluted his-

Daimler at present — corporate law can be

tory concerning its name’s origin, as well as complex.

Mitsubishi is the Japanese term for "three

Shown here is the center panel of the South

diamonds," which is the logo. Founded in

Wall, depicting chassis and body production.

the early 1870s by Yataro Iwasaki, it is ar-

Smaller parts of the frescos by Diego Rivera

guably one of the oldest in Japan

show other industries of Detroit, such as medi-

cal, pharmaceutical, and chemical.

Nissan called itself Datsun in North Ameri-

Photo from: City of Detroit.

ca until the 1980s, although it has been

"Nissan" in Japan since 1934. The cars

General Motors vehicles have been and are

were named Datsuns, a reference to the

still being designed and developed by Opel.

1914 Dat 31, the first vehicle produced by

the company that would eventually become

The Peugeot family business goes back to

Nissan. The acronym "DAT" represents the

1810. First making coffee mills, then bicy-

initials of the three original investors Kenjiro

cles, early automobile production began in






1891. The very innovative company still


makes bicycles to this day, plus scooters.

During the 1970s Peugeot ran the European

Ransom Eli Olds grew up in a family that

Chrysler division, which had been the British

made stationary gasoline engines. His first

Rootes and the French Simca makes.

vehicles were steam powered. After design-

ing his first gasoline-powered car, he

James Ward and William Doud Packard

formed the Olds Motor Company in 1897

made luxury cars in the USA from 1899 to

and started producing a one-cylinder, chain-

1958. Efforts are underway to re-establish

driven buggy-type vehicle. In 1900 Olds

this and other luxury automakers.

added a feature that made his car unforget-

table: It got a curved dashboard. Numerous

The Pontiac Buggy Company was orga-

‘curved-dash Oldsmobiles’ are stil running,

nized in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1893. Pontiac

more than one hundred years later.

is the distorted name of Obwondiag, who

was a great chief of the Odawas tribe and

Adam Opel started building sewing ma-

supreme head of the Algonquins confedera-

chines in 1862. He added high-wheel bicy-

tion of the Great Lakes. He devoted his life

cles in 1886. His two sons raced these

to the amalgamation of the American Indian

‘penny-farthing’ to promote the business. In nations. The ‘Ottawas’ spoke a language

1899 the first autos were made, and Opel

belonging to the Algonquin language group.

became part of GM in 1929. Many current

Another Canadian connection?

In 1928 the first Plymouth was produced.

engines in several models, purchased from

"What we need is a popular name, some-

DKW, later re-named Audi.

thing people wil recognize instantly”, Walter

Chrysler had said, when planning a low

According to the official Studebaker history

priced model to compete with Ford and

published in 1918, three German men

Chevrolet. Suggested one of the managers:

named Studebecker —Peter (aged 38),

"Why not call it Plymouth? Every farmer in

Clement (36), and Henry (28)—sailed on

America knows Plymouth Binder Twine.”

the ship Harle from Rotterdam, Holland, and

And Plymouth it was. The Mayflower ship

disembarked at Philadelphia on September

on its grill referred to the rock and the Pil-

1, 1736. Two of the men were accompanied

grims, but had it not been for the binder

by their wives. They moved on from Phila-

twine, there would not have been a Plym-

delphia to Germantown and, sixty-two years


later, persons named Studebaker were

recorded as paying taxes in York County,

and were described as "blacksmiths and

woodworkers". These were Peter Stu-

debaker (1747–1812) —probably a son of

the immigrant Clement Studebecker (1700–

1762) and his wife Anna Catherine. The lat-

er Studebakers were building horse buggies

and later fashionable automobiles.

Subaru means "unite" in Japanese. It is al-

so the name for the six visible stars in the

Pleiades cluster in the Taurus constellation.

“Relax, I’m just along for the drive…” AMS photo

In 1953, five Japanese companies merged

into Fuji Heavy Industries. The new corpora-

Renault was set up in 1899 as Société Re-

tion adopted the "Subaru" cluster of stars as

nault Frères by brothers Marcel, Fernand

its logo. Fuji Heavy Industries today is a

and Louis, an engineer. They recognized

global transportation conglomerate.

from the beginning that success in motor-

sports improved their sales as well as busi-

Michio Suzuki started the Suzuki Loom

ness recognition, continuing to this day.

Works in 1909. Later, he developed a new

type of loom, an exceptionally complex ma-

Rolls Royce was founded in 1903 by

chine, covered by 120 patents, that was ex-

Charles Stewart Rolls and Henry Royce.

ported around the world. Contrary to popu-

Before they met, Charles told a friend that

lar belief, he first started to produce cars, in

his ambition was “to be the greatest name in

1937, motorbikes in 1952. The company is

motoring”. The partners achieved this by

now aligned with the VW Group.

different means than the Renault brothers.

Sakichi Toyoda (1867–1930) invented the

Svenska Aeroplane Aktiebolaget - aren’t we

automatic weaving loom, taking technology

lucky they shortened that to Saab, so we

to the level of the Western world. His son

could pronounce it? Saab was formed in the

Kiichiro (1894-1952) took the Toyeda com-

late 1930s as an aerospace company, even

pany into the automotive age. After a con-

now producing jets. After WWII an automo-

test for a better-sounding name, it changed

tive division was added, and in 1949 the

to Toyota.

Saab 92 appeared. It used a transverse-

mounted (sideways or east-west) two-

Vauxhall started in business in 1857 as a

cylinder two-stroke engine and front-wheel

pump and marine engine manufacturer.

drive. Over time, Saab had almost identical

1903 saw the first autos being produced,

and in 1928 it was acquired by General Mo-

Last but not least, Volvo, from Latin, means

tors. Vauxhal cars today are almost identical

"I roll". Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Lar-

with Opel, being made mostly in their plants.

son founded the Swedish company in 1924

as a spin-off from the roller-ball-bearing firm

Contrary to popular belief, the idea of a

SKF. The first Volvo was in production by

Volkswagen, “people’s car”, started in the

1927. In 1999 Volvo was acquired by the

mid-1920s. Most Europeans could not af-

Ford Motor Company and recently sold to

ford an automobile of that time, and at least

Geely, one of the up-and-coming Chinese

four carmakers started to emulate the Model

automobile manufacturers.

T, in Austria and other European countries.

It was the German trade-union who pushed

for an affordable car in 1937.

This outdated “family tree” shows how complex and inter-related the auto industry is…

Someday we might become familiar with the

anything specifically. It is said, that it is a

names of automakers from China and India.

new idiom intended to stimulate a positive

connection with "luxury" and "elegance", as

If you are not yet confused, take this quiz….

much as Acura seems to suggest precision.

If you have to name a child, peruse this link.

Manufacturers “invent” names and suggest

We see the cars mentioned here in brief on

examples to literally hundreds of thousands

our roads every day, but hardly ever lose a

of people in contests, and using the favor-

thought on their origin. After a lifetime in the

ites. For now, let’s stay with makes; we’l

‘mobility industry’, I learn new things daily,

have an entertaining time with models in

so let me share a few: Lexus doesn't mean

another article.

They say that art ‘grows’ on you

Do you remember the Garden Song that

Gardening is still a while away here in On-

John Denver did on the Muppet Show?

tario, snow and ice covering the frozen soil.

“Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this

But in Texas they do things differently, any-

garden grow. All it takes is a rake and a hoe

way. They have the Cadillac Ranch, where

and a piece of fertile ground”.

ten classic cars are ‘outstanding in their


The ‘Group of Seven’ is Canada’s famous

decided if they are referring to the toll rust

group of artists; Texas has the ‘Ant Farm’, a and corrosion are taking on the “car-rot”

group of a number of architecturally oriented

patch, or if they mean the “art” of yearly re-

artists, who created a memorable monu-

painting. Or could they mean the graffiti

ment which is considered (by some) a work

from art-loving visitors with spray cans –

of art in progress.

which requires the repaints.

We know of the bond between architecture

One of the largest artistic (industrial kitsch?)

and automobiles, but is there a connection

monuments in the United States, it surely

between art and agriculture?

deserves more recognition than the single

sentence under ‘points of interest’ in the city

Amarillo, Texas, has the dubious distinction

guide. After all, it is located on Route 66,

of having a historical site, which is not listed

now heartlessly renamed Interstate 40.

in any archeological catalog. And no Arts &

Culture newsletter explains what the group

of artists tried to accomplish by creating this

unique memorial.

Archeology and the Cadillac Ranch do have a close relationship, though, because the

cars jut out from the earth at the same angle

as the sides of the Egyptian Cheops Pyra-

mid. Does that not justify acceptance in ar-

cheological circles? And what about the hi-

eroglyphs, nee graffiti?

Has nobody any respect for history any-

Deeply rooted in agriculture and resembling

more? And is Art not something permanent?

a carrot patch, where the heavy part also is

in the ground, the car’s engines need culti-

Enough bemoaning of lost cultural sensitivi-

vating and aerating to prevent wet rot.

ty, let’s get to the facts: The Ant Farm group

As to the ‘work of art in progress’, I am un-






RoadsideAmerica.com, the guide to out of

proached well-to-do Stanley March III to

the ordinary tourist attractions states: “Over

fund their project. Being a “merry prankster”,

the decades, a lucky handful of offbeat at-

he liked the group’s idea; they must have

tractions have grown in recognition and

been a very merry bunch indeed!

stature, celebrated frequently in magazine

photo essays, in calendars, as backdrops

It is reported that the cars were planted in

for music videos and movies. These Great

1974, but as the city grew (and the cars

Monuments are rhapsodized as the embod-

didn’t) they had to be transplanted in 1997

iment of American hopes and dreams, folly

‘a couple miles further west’. The report

and failure, art and commerce, materialism

continues that the “Automotive art exhibit

and spiritualism. Professional authors and

and American cultural commentary com-

screenwriters know a pre-baked, easy-to-

prises [sounds official, doesn’t it?] ten now

get symbol when they see it."

classic industrial icons: a 1949 Club Coupe,

a 1950 Series 62 sedan, a 1954 Coupe de

Seriously, that’s what it says.

Ville, a 1956 Series 62 sedan, a 1957 se-

dan, a 1958 sedan, a 1959 coupe, a 1960

We all know about the excess of Texans,

‘flat top’ sedan, a 1962 four-window sedan

and we also know that most of our Ameri-

and a 1963 sedan.

cans neighbors aspire to higher values.

May they Rust in Peace

Bruce Springsteen had fun with this as well;

here is one verse from his song:

Well, there she sits, buddy, justa gleaming in the sun

There to greet a working man when his day is done

I’m gonna pack my pa and I’m gonna pack my aunt

I’m gonna take them down to the Cadillac Ranch.

A group of film makers were the latest to

by their voice you can recognize who is an

hitch their wagon to the Cadillac Ranch: The

actor and who is not. I should get that movie

producers and artists of the much praised

on a DVD to research another branch of

animated movie “Cars” used the Ranch as

automotive art … well ….birthday is coming.

inspiration for the backdrop to their town of

Radiator Springs.

Cadillac Ranch may have been a serious

attempt at making an art statement and cre-

I wanted to see that movie, because two

ating a monument to an industrial icon of

great racing drivers lent their voices to a

earlier times. But today, these vintage Cad-

pair of the funny cars: Paul Newman and

dies are serious collector cars, and many

Michael Schumacher. Critics said that even

consider it sacrilegious to bury them.

The beginning of the end of the Petroleum Age

“Peak Oil” they call it.

The Financial Times reported in July 2007

that the International Energy Agency, IEA,

Meaning not the price we pay at the pump

had stated that ”Oil looks extremely tight in

for our daily fuel, but the amount being pro-

five years’ time,” and that there are “pro-

duced in the oil fields of the world for further

spects of even tighter natural gas markets


at the turn of the decade”.

First, a definition: peak oil suggests that, at

We motorists already feel our empty wallets

some point in time, oil companies or coun-

and wince ” That’s the way the money goes,

tries will reach a peak in the quantity of oil

Pop! goes the weasel”.

they can economically pump out of the

ground, and that production will decline after

The Price On the Pump that is going to the

that peak had been reached. Graphically,

weasels (thesaurus: weasel = sly, under-

this increase and decline can be illustrated

handed, evasive, misleading) is going up,

as what is known as a bell curve.

up and away. The cost of crude oil almost

quadrupled in the last five years. One barrel

The theory of peak-oil was first published by

of Brent crude sold for $29 in 2003; in 2004

the late geophysicist Dr. Marion King Hub-

it increased to $38; it rose to $54 in 2005

bert. He shocked the world in 1949 with his

and to $65 in 2006, and it reached $98.62

book "Energy from Fossil Fuels, Science",

on November 7th of 2007, before dropping

by predicting that the era of fossil fuel would

back into the lower 90-dollar range.

be a short one, in geological terms. He had

[oil reached $143.00 half-way thru 2008]

studied geology, mathematics and physics.

While working for the Shell Oil Company, he

traveled the world, exploring potential new

oil fields and collecting information.

After his retirement from the petroleum in-

dustry, he taught at Stanford University and

at the U. of California in Berkeley.

In 1956, Dr. Hubbert predicted that oil pro-

duction in the United States would peak in

1970, give or take a few years, and would

then decline. He was ridiculed by industry

and government, but his surprisingly accu-

rate analysis was proven correct, and his

geological estimates are now being heeded.

Petroleum industry columnist William Rees-

Display: After the Oil Age. Photo: peakoil,com

Mogg reports that of fifty-one oil producing

Supply and demand regulates prices, our

nations, 27 have reported declining output

since 2006. These nations are listed in BP’s

capitalistic thinking has us in the habit of

‘Statistical Review of World Energy’. Not all

believing. Yes, the drastic climb in the oil

price since the turn of the century has been

of the OPEC nations are on the best of

driven by demand increasing by more than

terms with the western world and refuse to

2 per cent per year, while the supply has

report accurate petroleum production or es-

increased by only 1.25% in 2005, and only

timated reserves in their countries.

half of one percent (0.5%) in 2006.

However, do energy supply companies real-

As threatening as that may sound, this

ly have to make up to $40 billion (with a B)

quote from one of my sources should allevi-

dollars of yearly profit, when half of humani-

ate our collective anxiety: “Canada's leader-

ty is sick and starving, and has never even

ship in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies

used an “infernal consumption engine”?

received double honors at the 20th annual

World Energy Congress in Rome. [Novem-

Perry Hicks, a former college professor,

ber 11-15, 2007] The International Partner-

wrote an eye opening eight-part article in ship for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE) has

the Gulf Coast News about oil, politics and

chosen British Columbia's Hydrogen High-

religion. Already in the first three para-

way™ program as the winner of the Tech-

graphs he expresses his displeasure with

nical Achievement Award, and the organiza-

the present government in the USA with the

tion has elected Canada as its new chair.

disclosure that “the Bush Administration de-







nied the war was over oil even as the mili-

in September 2010 in Montréal, Canada”.

tary invasion was embarrassingly named

Operation Iraqi Liberation, or O.I.L. That link In the meantime, remember that the Stone

takes you to a White House press confer-

Age did not end for lack of stones, but be-


cause humans found a better way.

Peak-Oil is here, and the tide is turning. Oil

American, Asian and European carmakers

ran the economy of the 20th century; the

are at the verge of producing zero-pollution

shortage of oil will have power over the 21st

vehicles, just as the oil age is cresting.

and force the world’s industries, and all of

civilization, to look for other fuels.

Collage with photos from FreeFoto.com, NASA, and GMW: Oil is found in many places around the world; A ‘Nodding Donkey’

pumps crude from the well; Sirius Voyager oil-tanker on way to refinery; Sadly, accidents happen: oil-spill on Lebanon coast from space; Fawley refinery; Refinery at Teesport; Sunset at Teeside; Storage field at Wallsend; the author at the pump – before recent price hikes


"If I had asked people what they

wanted, they would have said

faster horses."

Henry Ford

Ford-Edison 1913 Model T experimental EV

"Keep on the lookout for novel

ideas that others have used suc-

cessfully. Your idea has to be orig-

inal only in its adaptation to the

problem you're working on."

Thomas Edison

2007 Volt concept

"Our imagination is the only lim-

it to what we can hope to have

in the future."

Charles F. Kettering

General Motors

Chevy Volt production model, precursor of the 2nd EV-Age

Dear Reader, if you enjoyed the preceding items, if you gained new insight into automobiles and the people connected with them, then my efforts will have been worthwhile.

In the volumes that will follow, we will come across various types of vehicles and explore their seldom seen sides. We will follow them through the design and production stages, from a sketch to the assembly line, and from the factory to your neighbourhood showroom.

Please, visit http://indieaisle. com/find/ again, as well as my own website at

www.autothoritybooks.com to check for subsequent issues of

Racing to Preserve Precious Petroleum

Modern technology, such as the ePub or the FlippingBook® publishing programs, as used on my website, made it possible to assemble these books.

It would have been unthinkable doing it with this old method.

Thank you for devoting your time to reading the foregoing stories, and I hope you will return.


George M Wand

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Racing to Preserve Precious Petroleum