Car Evolution: (Part 2) From Vintage to Now

 

bmw-158703_1280The Evolution:

radiator-emblem-3248652_1920Soon after the Brass Car Era, (pre 1930) when any bicycle maker could try his hand at creating a horseless carriage, the US entered what we commonly call, the Vintage Car Era. What spurred the vintage car era in a more serious direction was the relatively short period between 1919 and 1930, which coincides with the First World War when the true potential of motorized vehicles and improved roadways became clear to citizens and government alike.

Thus began the vintage car era, 1930ish to 1948, which coincides with the Second World War. So when you are looking at what appears to be a vintage car it might be a Pre-War, War or Post-War car—in reference to World War II.

Visually Distinct Features:

When you think of a vintage car you think of a well-defined automobile, its headlamps stick out, it has quite a small radiator and beaded wheels. What most people don’t realize is that many vintage cars had radios. But with a few exceptions, it was all about being as comfortable as possible.

Some vintage cars evolved into brands we’d recognize today and others died out with time.

One example of Design that Stood the Test of Time:

oldtimer-3398320_1920In 1921 Citroen created the B2, which had a top speed of 45mph. This 3-speed car had a spring suspension and shock absorbers.

Fast forward to the 1955 2CV there is something familiar in the shape, in the headlights for instance, (though it seems to be taking inspiration from the Mini a bit, as well as the VW Beetle). The 55 2CV has four-wheel drive and a fourth gear. It is even suitable for off-road traveling. The main difference, though it would be hard to pick a specific feature, is that it no longer looks like a “boneshaker.”

But the Deux Chevaux (2CV) remained stripped down compared to other cars of its era. Citroen was ahead of its time in predicting what the average car buyer would value, and while the seats were barely more than metal and canvas, the car could carry 2 farmers and a basket of eggs across a plowed field without breaking anything. Sure the windows didn’t roll down, but it went 100 km on 3 liters of fuel, and that kept it popular for over 55 years.

A Vintage Car that Went the Way of the Dinosaur:

5ec518a39eaf726e41a7be0e3d7361c5A vintage car design that wouldn’t survive, the 1927 Pedroso. It might seem like a car from the future with ignition timing straight from the dash, the seats close to the ground and so on.

The trouble is that when you create a car for racing, parts become expensive very quickly. You also want something unique, not something that can be easily manufactured. Ultimately, the reason for Pedroso’s failure is that it remained a shed-built car; it didn’t go into mass production, so it’s vintage but actually so rare as to not be popular with collectors.

Other Differences between Vintage and Now:

It seems that as cars evolved they have become much more structural and possibly less defined. Terminology has also changed; in the U.K. we speak of “bodywork” rather than “chassis.” (In the US we call it a “frame” & “body” if it’s a truck or old car, or unibody as the case may be.) For more on car-component terms see our post from Monday.

Headlamps and wheel-wells moved from distinct items affixed to the body/frame closer and closer to the body itself and then incorporated completely inside the main body of the vehicle.

The partial convertible, or Coupe DeVille, with its open-top front seat and enclosed rear has given way to cars being only convertible (hard or soft top) or not convertible at all.

mercedes-benz-3204364_1920The regal “Estate Car,” gave way to the station wagon, which lost it’s spot to the much-maligned minivan, which lost it’s market to the citified version of an SUV.

What might surprise us the most when viewing old photos is the clothes drivers and passengers wore in different eras. Brass era drivers wore what might be thought of as “flying suits.” Vintage era drivers wore their Sunday best. Nowadays they just wear their usual clothes.

Cars as a category have become less special as they became integrated with our everyday life, even though we actually became more dependent on them.

What period of car development are we in now? Well since the 1980s all cars have just been described as modern. But you can divide modern cars up into 20th Century modern and early 21st modern if you so wished.

This doesn’t mean that a 20th Century modern car is fundamentally different from an early 21st Century car. Some things may have changed; the transmission, for instance, the number of speeds and so on. But we are no longer in the time of strong evolution as far the automobile is concerned.

Rideshare Driver Stops Road Rage W/ Bullet.

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It’s unfortunate when someone’s temper ends in death, but we can’t really blame the road as much as the temper. The story below makes it clear that we can’t let our rage out without paying a price. For tips on keeping out of this sort of situation, we’ve posted this article on avoiding road rage.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=5828834450001&w=466&h=263Watch the latest video at foxnews.com

Uber driver fatally shoots man in what sheriff calls a ‘classic stand-your-ground case’originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

In what one sheriff in Florida is calling a “classic stand-your-ground case,” a man arguing with his girlfriend over text messages was shot dead after he was captured on dash cam video threatening an Uber driver, who he thought was driving the woman home.

“This is a justifiable homicide all day long. You have a right to protect yourself. … This was the intent of the law,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference Wednesday detailing Tuesday’s fatal shooting of Jason Boek, 34, of Winter Haven, Florida.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, a woman named Jasmine Meazel had too much to drink at a bar in Dundee, and called an Uber car to take her home. When it arrived, another woman, named Jessica Mazzarella, helped Meazel out of the bar and put her into the car. The two woman did not know each other.

PHOTO: Jason Boek in an undated photo. (Polk County Sheriff's Office)
PHOTO: Jason Boek in an undated photo. (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

Uber driver Robert Westlake, 38, then set out to take Meazel to her destination.

Police said that in the meantime, Mazzarella, who stayed at the bar, was having an ongoing text conversation with Boek, an “on-again, off-again boyfriend” whom Judd described Wednesday as “explosive.”

(MORE: Florida ‘stand your ground’ shooter Michael Drejka charged with manslaughter)

Judd said that the two had a “rocky” relationship and that Boek thought Mazzarella had gotten into the Uber car. In text messages released by authorities, it appears that Boek and Mazzarella were at the bar together, and then he left.

Although Mazzarella thought he’d left, he tells her via texts that he’s been outside the bar the whole time, saw her get into the Uber and was now going to do the Uber driver harm.

“You know I’m watching every move right now,” Boek said in text messages. “I’ve been watching you the whole time. … I see y’all. … I’m going to f— both of y’all up.”

Boek located the Uber car on the road and started to tailgate Westlake, according to authorities. Boek rode alongside Westlake for a couple of seconds before finally pulling his truck in front of the Uber and hitting the brakes around 2:20 a.m. on Tuesday, police said.

PHOTO: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd speaks during a press conference, Aug. 29, 2018, in Winter Haven, Fla. (WFTS)
PHOTO: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd speaks during a press conference, Aug. 29, 2018, in Winter Haven, Fla. (WFTS)

In Westlake’s Uber dash cam video, Boek can be seen exiting the truck with something dark in his right hand. The dash cam video shows Boek pointing the object toward Westlake’s vehicle as Westlake asks: “I say somethin’?”

Boek responded, “You know I got a pistol? You want me to f—— shoot you?”

Westlake, who is a concealed weapon permit holder and previously worked as a security guard in Orlando, took out a gun and shot Boek once in the chest, according to police.

“Oh my God,” both Westlake and the passenger can be heard saying on the dash cam video after the shooting.

(MORE: Florida ‘stand your ground’ shooter had history of gun threats: Complaint)

In a 911 call, Westlake told the dispatcher that he fired one shot from his pistol and was now applying pressure to Boek’s wound.

“He ran me off road. Jumped out of his vehicle. I couldn’t get away. He came towards me shouting he’s got a pistol, reached for his waistband. I fired one shot from my pistol. He dropped his cell phone. I kicked it away. I didn’t realize it was a cell phone at first,” Westlake told the 911 operator.

Original Sources: https://www.yahoo.com/gma/uber-driver-fatally-shoots-man-sheriff-calls-classic-204508267–abc-news-topstories.html

 

Car Evolution: (Part 1) Clearing Up Clunker Terminology

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Car Era Overview:

Confused about the proper term for that cool old car you saw/bought/wish to own? Well don’t be embarrassed, it’s not straightforward. Some states have official designations since they’re doling out license plates. There’s a number a car clubs and organizations who’ve categorized and labeled cars for judging. At the end of the day, it’s still open to interpretation.

Still, it’s a good idea to get some sort of conformity of definition, so we at the Kicker Blog are happy to add our two cents. We’ll give some reasoning for our groupings in the post that follows, but our chief concern was the simplest, time-based distinctions we could find. (We used style and technological comparisons as a second factor and we acknowledge that there will be inevitable overlap.)

Let’s start with a quick recap of common terms and their real definitions:

auto-3154173_1920Antique – Somewhere between 30 and 50 years of age things begin to be considered antique. (BTW: Most of our writers fall into this category.) With vehicles, it starts between 30 and 45, because in the grand scheme of old things, cars haven’t been around that long. This classification is extremely age driven, though if a car is not in good condition it doesn’t qualify for special plates in most municipalities. If a car is heavily modified or updated it is no longer considered antique.

vehicle-2132360_1920Classic – this is the most abused term we’ll discuss. Consider the oxymoron—instant classic. We all know what it means, but come on. The opposite side of the spectrum is organizations like the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA), who have a list of cars they deem to be classic (most of which are older than 1948). If it’s not on their list it’s not classic as far as they’re concerned and in the world of classic cars that carries weight.

For now, just notice that the category of “classic cars” isn’t synonymous with “antique cars” but they overlap. As with the term antique, making a lot of changes or upgrades to a car erodes its status as a classic.

antique-1868726_1920Vintage – is a term that largely applies to items originally manufactured (roughly the time of WII) before 1948, so this also overlaps the term antique. However, when applied to cars not all vintage cars are considered antiques, and not all antique cars manufactured before 1930 are considered vintage. Sorry! At least you can make some updates to your vintage car without destroying the value.

Milestone – As you might guess, this is a handy term applied to cars that changed how designers and/or consumers thought about cars, so they’re important, and collectible, despite not fitting in with other cars of their exact era. (e.g. ’55 Chevy or early Mustangs).

ifa-1665443_1920Collector – This term applies to cars purely because they are desirable to collectors, not necessarily because they are old. Rarity can be a much bigger factor. Typically cars that were the bread-and-butter seller for their manufacturer will never be collectible. There’s just too many of them out there. Think limited edition like the 2006 Ford GT, which was designed in homage to earlier GT’s and allowed collectors to pick up a modern version of an unattainable classic.

Brass Cars – Not unlike the term Milestone earlier, this handy term can be applied to early “horseless carriages” that don’t qualify as “Vintage.”

Modern (“20th Century” or “21st Century”) – Starting about 1980 when car mass-production refined to a point that nearly all design uniqueness disappeared. Cars are designed to attract specific, well established market-place groups.

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Here’s OUR best classification of Car Eras:

Brass Era – 1919 to 1930

Pre 1919 cars, often hand-made, small number manufacturing runs (by modern standards), featuring prominent brass fittings and radiators, and remarkable lack of a formal braking system. Definitely a Luxury Item. Powered by Pioneer Gas, Steam, or Electricity. (Brass Car is a US term, within the British Empire cars made during between 1896 to 1915 would be known as Edwardian cars.) These cars were used by world leaders, dignitaries, and military generals as well as wealthy business magnets. (e.g. 1905 Jackson Model C, 1903 Stanley “Steamer” Rocket)

Vintage Era – 1930 to 1948

Can be further divided into Pre-War, War, and Post War in relation to WWII. Distinguished by separate headlamps, small radiators, and beaded wheels. (e.g. 1919 Ford Model T, 1921 Hudson Super Six phaeton.) This era car is built to be accessible to the masses, but the focus is pure transportation. It’s assumed that consumers desires are fairly uniform—luxury, mobility, and novelty.

Classic Era – 1948 to 1980

This era began a wide variety of features to focus on the interests of population groups. Some brands focused on luxury, while others on ease of repair and durability, and still others focusing on load capacity. The true sports car was born and soon evolved into many varieties from two-door coups to muscle cars.

What sets these cars apart from the era before is that manufacturers no longer assume what one car buyer wants will work for the next. What sets it apart from the next era of the automobile is a devotion to car design and style as an expression of its owner, as long as certain basic needs are met.

20th Century Modern – 1980 to 1999

As with other modern era items ‘function over form’ is the litmus test of design quality. This era is also set apart by massive improvements in safety features, which also increase the price tag of cars even as automation and cheaper components have reduced the manufacturing cost. Safety and fuel economy are now key features. Toward the end of this era, the dominance of uni-body construction and cab-forward design will cause nearly all cars to look like every other car of the same class (All sedans will look like a Ford Taurus/Toyota Camry, etc.)

21st Century Modern – 2000 to current

In reaction to the homogeneity of the early modern era, cars made in this era incorporate some classic car stylings. The cost of vehicles has continued to climb, and car ownership per capita has begun to fall. It’s likely that new forms of rideshare and transportation will continue the decline of cars. Cars continue to be owned by the general consumer and marketed to defined groups of people based upon needs, like family size or the fuel economy.

Sources Include:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/culture/commuting/is-my-car-vintage-classic—or-just-old/article11938943/

https://www.carsdirect.com/classic-cars/classic-car-classifications-antique-vintage-and-classic

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_frame

 

Keeping Your Car Ticking Over

 

auto-3582662_1920By Paul Wimsett (our U.K. contributor, so it’s best to read it with an accent)

If you have invested a great amount of your savings into a car it makes sense that you want to make sure it is constantly working, especially if you use it on your commute. Some states require a yearly emissions check. Car inspections are performed at garages marked with the “Official Inspection Station” sign.

Speaking of ticking, there are many noises that can indicate something is wrong with the car (clinking, ticking etc.) and it is a good idea to check them if they continue for a long time. It may just be a lack of oil but it is always worth looking into any problems. It is important to consider that the older a car is the more likely you are to have problems.

One of the best things you can do with most cars is run them, don’t leave them sulking in the garage. Having said that, driving a car for too many miles artificially ages the car reducing it’s value.

Ways to increase performance and reliability include:

One way of making your car work better is to make it lighter. Have an AUX unit instead of a stereo. The unit itself is lighter and so will be your wallet.

It might be a good idea to improve the exhaust. If the exhaust isn’t able to flow from your car as quickly as it’s produced fuel economy suffers.

Fix everything as soon as it goes wrong. The less you drive it broken the less chance of additional wear and tear.

Spark plugs and air filters tend to need replacing and this is two jobs most people don’t get around to doing.

Most people don’t think of using the best oil in their car but the best performance is all about using the best raw materials, many people don’t realize that you can change how well your car operates simply by changing to a better brand of oil.

If your car was made a while ago, you may benefit from polyurethane bushings. This is a relatively recent improved technology, which upgrades your suspension and stops you from having a jolty ride. Not only will you be more comfortable but there’s a little less wear on your car’s parts as well.

audi-rs6-2934125_1920There is a strange idea that cars left alone in the sun actually become harder and in order to test this a piece of aluminum alloy was left in the sun for 6-8 hours reaching temperatures of about 150°. The results seemed to show a marked difference, so if you want to prevent premature aging, you need to make sure it’s in the sun. Of course, most people prefer entering a car which is sitting in the shade.

It makes sense to ensure that your car is the best; it’s safer, more reliable, and better for resale. It is all about making sure your car is efficient, fast and strong. You can come across as an obsessive, but so what? If your car is important to you and you want to prevent breakdown you have to look at these things.

A Non-Obsessive Look At Automobilia.

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What we mean by automobilia? Well, anything that is collectible and involves motor vehicles really. That would include a tiny stamp that contains pictures of cars to a great big huge juggernaut. A car stamp album would no doubt include the stamps created by Tom Fritz, including the classic 1970’s Chevrolet and a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.

Collecting can seem quite a nerdy subject, so how do you brighten up your collection? One way might be if display car parts is to paint them bright colors, maybe multicolors or create camouflage shades. Make them unique to you in some way. Collections may be based on specific vehicles or vehicles which come from certain places. For instance, a Detroit collection may include items related to General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.

Temp ImageOne of the cheaper items to collect is antenna toppers, mainly made by the Aerialballs.com company. There are a few antenna toppers to be found on the Etsy website. Of course, Pinterest is the ideal social media to display your wears and look for ideas. When you are looking for new designs to create don’t just steal someone else’s idea, try and improve on it.

car-2691564_1920.jpgIt is a good idea to start small and move up to something big like hood ornaments, which is probably the most expensive piece of automobilia you can collect before starting on the whole car. While hood ornaments have transitioned to hood badges for safety reasons they were essential to early car branding and therefore inseparable from car culture in the minds of many enthusiasts. We discussed that in this post on Branding and Auto Badges. Hood ornaments have in interesting history we will cover in an upcoming post but it evolved into various art deco shapes such as the Spirit of Ecstasy, the Rolls Royce brand. Custom hood ornaments are still made, like in Texas its common practice to use a pair of horns (called longhorns) as a hood ornament.

As for mid-ranged automobilia one idea is personalized number plates. However, it’s not as simple as buying them off Ebay. This item gets associated with a particular VIN number and in some cases was probably issued to someone in a particular situation. Collector plates, depending on the laws of a particular state, don’t expire. Classic car plates can have a restriction on how far you can drive them on an actual road. ADA plates might become illegal when not owned by someone with a disability, though it’s doubtful you’ll get a ticket when it’s hanging on the wall of your garage. You may have to consult your attorney to make sure you own it.

There are so many different areas to collect it might seem overwhelming for the beginner.

Another factor is if you intend to resell items for a profit. Obtaining items from abroad, one example could be Michelin Man items from France (also called Bibendum), may result in heavy postage and maybe import tax to pay. A better way is to obtain items from someone who is just happening to go abroad, don’t let sundry costs eat up your profit or worse cost more than you can recover.

It is always a good idea to look into the amount of space you want to use for your collection – are you talking about a shelf, a whole room or even a whole house?

Secondly, you want to look into the amount you want to spend. A decent collection is bound to cost more, but it is always best to look for items at the cheapest places first, such as garage sales and non-specialist auctions. When you have the budget you can always branch out.

The Desert Drive

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Because only 30% of America is desert, it is unsurprising that most Americans do not have to drive through these types of conditions. If you find yourself in need of a trek through the wilderness, here are a few survival tips for the desert.

When Crossing the Dessert Via Highway:

It is vital that you bring both your cell phones and a charger. They now sell solar-powered chargers, like the 8000mAh, BESWILL 3 USB Ports and 21 LED light Portable Solar External Battery Power Bank Phone Charger for iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Android and other Smart Devices.

The most important thing you need is water, tons and tons of it, as it is your number one method of survival.

It is vital you check your cooling system and your battery before you start off.

You should never touch hot parts of the car. You should NEVER leave children or pets stuck in the car, they could die.

Tar can bleed in the heat. How does tar bleed? It’s due to the upward movement of asphalt in sunny conditions. The more hours of hot weather a surface has to deal with the worse the bleeding will occur. Roads become so slippery it cannot be traveled.

When Crossing the Desert Off-Road:

When it comes to traversing the desert you need a powerful car including…

4 wheel drive (4×4), which increases overall traction by applying power in more than one place

Carrying Capacity-Ability to support additional fuel tanks and spare tires, anything that commonly goes wrong.

Torque-It might be hard to understand what torque is all about. Its rotational force around a specific object (rotation around a specific axis). A car traveling through the desert needs a certain amount of torque in the wheels to negotiate obstacles.

Clearance-You also need to look into the size of the tires. If a car has large tires it is capable of clearing the bigger sized rocks.

As with any off-road vehicles they need to be large but easy to operate. Basically, if it’s built for speed it’s probably not built for crawling the desert. To be more precise any vehicle built for street use is impractical as a desert vehicle.

Wheelbase-It can help you negotiate an obstacle to have your tires spread further apart. So when one tire loses traction while others do not. However, sometimes people choose to forgo wheelbase, so let’s examine some of those exceptions below.

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Typical Off-Road Vehicles:

Many designs of off-road vehicles start on the idea of the pickup and extra features because it has a long wheelbase and carrying capacity. There are also exceptions…

One of the weirder types of vehicles built for the desert is the Baja Bug, Herbie Goes Trekking you might say. Unlike the usual type of VW Beetle the Baja Bug has a tubular cage fitted so when should it flip over you will be perfectly safe. There are also longer shock absorbers. (Most bugs can be divided into narrow eyes or wide eye varieties.) The narrow eyes have the headlamps on the front apron, much closer than on the usual bug. The first Baja was created in 1968, originating in California.

jeep-3266350_1920The car most people might associate with the desert is the Jeep. Many jeeps are still used on desert safaris. Jeep is a trademark vehicle but it’s also a style of vehicle made by many makers. It started by an American company called “Willys MB.” First used in 1941 it is still used for negotiating hot conditions. However, when WWII ended, a Willies Jeep was abandoned on an island in the Pacific which was reversed engineered by Toyota to create a line of jeeps. There are a number of different desert jeeps on the market, such as the Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk and Desert Jeep Wrangler.

The desert can be cruel to the unwary, but if you are prepared to take precautions, your exploration and activities may be exciting.

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