The Mini: An Automotive Transformation

cooper mini
Sep 03, 2019 In 1990, my wife JoAnne and I traveled to England for a wedding Afterward, we toured the UK for another four weeks in a rented Mini Mayfair The car was an absolute joy to drive—peppy, tight, responsive, roomy and thoroughly comfortable  Tooling around England, the thought struck me how much the Mini had transformed the automotive world For Read More →

The Beetle and Tante Kiki

VW Beetle
Aug 27, 2019 My mother is from Breslau, Germany  She had a privileged youth growing up in the 1920s and ‘30s: she had a governess, house keepers and long summer vacations on the Baltic sea  And her father, George Skiebe, my Opa, had a car collection  He had a Mercedes 540 and a Horsch, but he loved American cars  He had a Chrysler, a Ford sedan and a Read More →

The Toyota Prius: An Elegant Solution

Toyota Prius
Aug 19, 2019 For most of automotive history, the main impediments to the electric car have been battery technology (limited range) and cheap oil  The energy crises of the 1970s awakened interest in alternative propulsion, but range and utility remained elusive goals The family car was expected to go 300 miles or more without refueling, and to carry at least Read More →

Why the Chrysler Minivan Changed the World

Chrysler Minivan
Aug 15, 2019 Of all the automobiles that changed the world, the Chrysler line of minivans is likely to win the award of “least exciting” by most automotive enthusiasts  But that was never the point; the minivan was not intended to be flashy, instead it was a car with a purpose that fulfilled the needs of millions of Americans Lee Iococca and Hal Read More →

Ford’s Model T: Mass Automobility

Ford Model T
Feb 28, 2019 The Model T ranks with the airplane, radio, television, and the digital computer as one of the key inventions that helped shape the twentieth century  Historian David Hounshell called the Ford Model T “the only revolutionary automobile of the twentieth century,” because what it did could be done only once “Its design and mass production Read More →

The 1912 Cadillac: A Self-Starter

1912 Cadillac
Feb 13, 2019 In a major way the advent of the autonomous vehicles today compares closely with the arrival of the controversial horseless carriage over a century ago  Initially neither innovation was broadly embraced by the general public The debate at the turn of the 20th century was why buy one of those new-fangled gas-powered, horseless carriages that Read More →

The Jeep in World War II

Feb 11, 2019 The Jeep was the result of a request by the Army  in 1940 for a general purpose vehicle that was small, lightweight, had four-wheel drive for cross-country travel, and capable of carrying a light machine gun Initially, only two companies provided vehicles to meet this requirement: American Bantam (the Bantam Reconnaissance Command or BRC) and Read More →

The Curved Dash Oldsmobile: Putting America on Wheels

Curved Dash Oldsmobile
Jan 28, 2019 R E Olds was born and raised in Ohio and eventually settled in Lansing, Michigan where he founded the Olds Motor Company on August 21, 1897 The company was bought by a copper and lumber magnate named Samuel L Smith in 1899 and renamed the Olds Motor Works The new company was relocated from Lansing to Detroit, where Smith became President while Read More →