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50th Anniversary for the Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite

Several Bugeyes at the recent Austin-Healey Conclave in San Diego. AH Sprites – enlarge By the mid-1950s, British sports cars were fairly common on American streets with MGs, Austin-Healeys, Triumphs and Jaguars selling in relatively large numbers. Each revision brought better performance, more creature comforts and, unfortunately, higher price tags. The back-to-basics, Austin Healey, debuting in 1958 represented a step ... Read More »

Ford Model T – 100 Years Old

Your father, or maybe your grandfather, probably owned one. When Ford produced its 10th million Model T in 1924, 9 out of 10 of all cars in the entire world were Fords. Over 15 million Model Ts were manufactured, a record that stood for a half century until surpassed by the VW Beetle. The Ford Model T not only put America on "wheels", but the entire world. The Model T was so well known, Ford didn't need to buy any ads for it between 1917 and 1923. Read More »

Datsun 240Z History

With it long hood, short rear deck, the 240Z had just the right look. Datsun – enlarge With the 1970 Datsun 240Z, the Japanese auto industry arguably moved from follower to leader. Nissan copied no one with the Datsun 240Z. The 240Z was not Nissan’s first noteworthy sports car, as it was preceded by the Datsun 1600 and 2000 roadsters. ... Read More »

Volkswagen Transporter

The minivan was "invented" 60 years ago with the first drawings of the Volkswagen Transporter. The first eight Transporters rolled off the assembly line in 1949 and were shown to the public in early 1950. Looking at the Type II, as designated by VW, it is hard to believe it is based on the VW Beetle that appeared in the 1930s as the KdF-Wagen (Kraft durch Freude - "Strength through Joy"). The Beetle was designated the Type I. Read More »

Detroit’s Influence on Early Volvos

In the '50s and '60s , almost every European automakers tried to sell cars in the U.S. Volkswagen, Saab and Volvo are among the few that are still here. The rest disappeared because they were ill suited for American driving conditions or suffered from poor sales and service organizations. Read More »

Green Roadster for Porsche Aficionados

Let's face it, natural gas vehicles may be very environmentally-friendly, but aren't that exciting to own and drive. This ho-hum image definitely doesn’t fit the PGO Cévennes Turbo-CNG roadster. The car was developed BRA GmbH, PGO Automobiles and gasmobil. Read More »

Cars That Can Swim

It's an idea that keeps coming back– a car that is equally at home in the water as on land. During World War II, the Germans built the Schwimmwagen or swimming car that was based on Volkwagen KdF Wagen, later the VW Beetle, via the Kubelwagen, the Nazis' VW-based Jeep. Between 1942 and 1944, over 15,000 Type 166 Schwimmwagens were built Read More »

The Renault Dauphine

The late 1950's and early 1960 saw a huge invasion of imports. The VW Beetle was by far the top seller, but for several years next place went to the Renault Dauphine. In 1958 over 26,000 Dauphines were sold, about half the number of VWs imported. The Dauphine, introduced in 1956, was based on the Renault 4CV that appeared immediately after World War II. A few 4CVs were imported. Read More »

The British Were Here First

Before World War II, Americans drove "Detroit iron" exclusively Most Americans never even saw an import, except perhaps in a magazine. After the war, imports became popular. Of course, they most all came from Britain. Automobile manufacturing capability in German, Japan and Italy had been decimated during the war. However, because of its "export or perish" policy in the immediate post-World War II period, virtually every British automobile manufacturer shipped their products to America. Read More »

The Devil is in the Detailing

I go to car shows frequently and see lots of nice cars. Unfortunately, sometimes I see a nice restoration marred by a few details. I wonder why owners go to great effort and expense to restore a vehicle, then cut a few corners resulting in less than a prize winning job. "Attention to detail" is key to a award winning restoration. Read More »