Wednesday, August 30, 2017

An Early Automotive Dealership -- Dayton Motors, 810 North Avenue, Dayton, Montgomery County, OH

  • I am embarrassed to know so little about Dayton's early automotive history. These photos are from the Library of Congress.  Can anyone tell me what brands of cars were sold at this location and when?
  • From LC Caption:
  • Significance: This building is significant for its contribution to the commercial development of the Steele's Hill-Grafton Hill Historic District; a district which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The district is composed mainly of late nineteenth and early twentieth century residential buildings expressed with a mix of architectural styles. For a description of the Steele's Hill-Grafton Hill Historic District, refer to HABS No. OH-2467.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Huey Long, his 1936 Chrysler Imperial Airflow, and Getting Louisiana Out of the Mud

Library of Congress

During the late 1920s, Louisiana was one state whose drivers finally climbed out of the mud (or “gumbo”). Its history illustrates not only the fact that the automobile preceded road development but also that politics proved critical to the story. 

Like the rest of the nation, Louisiana witnessed an upsurge in car ownership beginning in the early 1920s. For example, in 1922, there were 122,000 motor vehicles registered in the state, but by 1924 that figure had risen to 178,000. In 1920, a state highway commission had been established, but it was poorly funded and staffed, and the state’s elite patrician leadership was conservative in raising the monies necessary to build a comprehensive state road system. Given the climatic and geographical difficulties associated with the state – for example, there were more than 5,000 streams and rivers in Louisiana – its citizens were limited in where they could take the new cars they had purchased. In Orleans Parish alone there were 43,000 vehicles, and yet there was no road to the east that connected New Orleans with the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The situation changed dramatically, however, with the coming of Huey Long to the Governor’s mansion in 1928. The “Kingfish’s” clever political maneuvering resulted in first raising the necessary state funds to build good roads, and then the will to build them throughout the state. Long hired some of the best highway engineers in the country, raised the gasoline tax and floated state bonds, and put more than 8,000 men to work in the process. In a 1929 Louisiana Highway Commission report, it was asserted that “Power Creates Wealth,” and that “Good Roads Throughout Louisiana Provide for a Wider Distribution of Power.”  Furthermore,

The automobile has revolutionized transportation methods and eliminated distance. Combined with improved highways, the automobile has made friends and neighbors of us all, removed imaginary barriers and provided a sound foundation on which to build for happiness, prosperity, and permanent development.

During the Long administration, thousands of miles of improved roadways were constructed, but three projects stand out. First, east of New Orleans, the Chef Menteur Highway connecting New Orleans to Mississippi was completed. Secondly, the Airline Highway connecting New Orleans to Baton Rouge shortened the driving distance between the state’s major urban center of New Orleans and its capital of Baton Rouge. Thirdly, a landmark achievement was the erection of a bridge across the Mississippi River at Jefferson, west of New Orleans. The Huey Long Bridge, with four lanes for motor vehicle traffic and railroad tracks in the middle, remains an adventure to cross today. Yet at its dedication in late 1935, the bridge provided a critical connecting point for the Jefferson Highway, Old Spanish Trail, Louisiana Purchase Highway, Colonial Highway, Mississippi Scenic Highway, and the Pershing Highway.

Photographic copy of circa 1935, black and white, 10” x 14” photograph. Loose in Huey P. Long folder in oversized box located at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Archives Center, Work and Industry Division, Washington, D.C. Photographer, Lionel T. Berryhill, Apple Valley, California. CIRCA 1935 PHOTOGRAPH OF BRIDGE TAKEN FROM WEST BANK LOOKING NORTH AT PIER “A” NEAR LEVEE. - Huey P. Long Bridge, Spanning Mississippi River approximately midway between nine & twelve mile points upstream from & west of New Orleans, Jefferson, Jefferson Parish, LA

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Beware of Buying a Flood Car

A great deal, perhaps. A good long term purchase, absolutely not!  A car that has been exposed to high water has too many potential problems. Even if everything is working properly, it is only a matter of time before gremlins will start to appear.  Remember, your car contains a complex computer network, with many electrical connections the are subject to corrosion.  Even if mildew has been dealt with, carpets removed, seats cleaned, etc., those remedies are not enough.  I would only think of purchasing one of these cars for parts, and then at a ridiculously low price and with the notion that I will go through the parts one by one with lubricants and cleaning agents.

One way to detect a flood car is to remove the interior door panel and look for a water line. then run from the vehicle, no matter what the price!

Inspect the carpets to see if they show signs of having been waterlogged, such as smelling musty or having caked-on mud. Likewise, brand-new carpets in an older vehicle may be another red flag.

Check the seat-mounting screws to see if there is any evidence that they have been removed. To dry the carpets effectively, the seats must be removed and possibly even replaced.

Inspect the lights. Headlights and taillights are expensive to replace, and a visible water line may still show on the lens or the reflector

Inspect the difficult-to-clean places, such as gaps between panels in the trunk and under the hood. Waterborne mud and debris may still appear in these places.

Look for mud or debris on the bottom edges of brackets or panels, where it wouldn’t settle naturally.

Search around the engine compartment. Water lines and debris can appear in hard-to-clean places, such as behind the engine.

Look at the heads of any unpainted, exposed screws under the dashboard. Unpainted metal in flood cars will show signs of rust.

Check if the rubber drain plugs under the car and on the bottom of doors look as if they have been removed recently. It may have been done to drain floodwater.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Ed's Wild Ride Through West Virginia: It's a Jungle Out there!

Tragic accidents must come in threes..............yesterday morning I spent nearly two hours in a ten mile back up on the West Virginia turnpike.  A horrific accident where a semi-truck driver was killed and the turnpike was shut down.  I have been in long traffic jams before, obviously, but this one was horrible given the curves and hills of the West Virginia Turnpike.

But then, later that afternoon I got into another back-up on a secondary road from Princeton, West Virginia that leads to my undergraduate college town of Athens.  Again, another tragic accident where there was a fatality and where motorists were stranded on a road backed-up for five miles.  Nearly an hour and half, stop and go.............mostly stop.

Then coming home there is a 25 mile section of US-35 out of Charleston, West Virginia until one gets nearly to Point Pleasant, West Virginia (on the Ohio river) where I was involved in another over seven mile back-up that took one hour and fifteen minutes to navigate.   When I arrived and passed by the "scene of the accident" there was a semi totally wreaked and overturned on the highway.  Someone said: "the driver died at the scene."  Horrific.  The entire truck was burned to a crisp.

Three for three in two days!  Oh, my...........its a jungle out on the highways.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Driver's and front-passenger airbag in the Mercedes-Benz SL sports car, model series R 129.

Vehicle safety at Mercedes-Benz is an issue that is relevant not only to the driver of a vehicle, but also to their passengers. And it was for this very reason that the Stuttgart-based brand launched the front-passenger airbag, back in September 1987. It was a further important innovation in passive safety, following the driver's airbag that had first been presented in March 1981. From February 1988 the front-passenger airbag became available in the S-Class and, from the autumn of that same year, in the 124 series, a precursor of today's E-Class. As early as 1994, it then became a standard feature in numerous Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Stuttgart. The glove compartment is the home of the new dimension of safety for the front passenger: in the place of this small stowage compartment, the engineers from Mercedes-Benz were able to accommodate an airbag – one of the new features presented by the brand at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main from 10 to 20 September 1987. This innovation represented an important building block to complement the established scope of restraint systems at Mercedes-Benz, the driver's airbag and the belt tensioner. With the additional airbag for the passenger, the Stuttgart brand provided a form of occupant protection that at the time was not offered by any other manufacturer worldwide.
The front-passenger airbag initially made its debut in the S-Class Saloons and Coupés of the 126 model series. They were available to order from model year 1988 with the new equipment option, which was only available in conjunction with the driver's airbag, at a price of DM 4617 in Germany. The driver's airbag could be ordered on its own at DM 2348.40.
And so this generation of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, built from 1979 until 1992, finally became the trailblazer for the airbag. The driver's airbag itself was also first offered for the 126 model series. This pioneering passive safety solution was presented by Mercedes-Benz from 5 to 15 March 1981 at the International Motor Show in Geneva. The Stuttgart brand thus became the first manufacturer in the world to introduce the airbag system, registered for patent back in 1971, in series vehicle production. The driver's airbag was combined with a belt tensioner for the passenger. The driver's airbag featured in the price list from July 1981, when it was offered for the model series 126 at a price of DM 1525.50. By January 1982 the system was already available for all Mercedes-Benz passenger car models, at a price of DM 1570.70. And then finally, with effect from October 1992, the driver's airbag and the anti-lock braking system ABS formed part of the standard equipment for passenger cars sporting the three-pointed star.
The front-passenger airbag presented 30 years ago at the IAA also became available from September 1988 in the model series 124 - which subsequently became the E-Class. It soon proved its worth in terms of passive safety as an effective protective device and, in August of 1994, became part of the standard specification of many Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, along with head restraints in the rear. From the very beginning the manufacturer emphasised that the front-passenger airbag was there to supplement the protective effect of the three-point seat belt, but was in no way to be seen as a substitute for it. At that point wearing seat belts had been compulsory since 1976, with fines imposed for any failure to comply from 1984 on.
The combination of these two protective systems led to significant improvements in passive safety, as experiments with test dummies showed: the combined system of seat belt with belt tensioner and front-passenger airbag could reduce the risk of injury to the chest and head area by about a third compared with the performance of the seat belt with belt tensioner alone. The tests evaluated in particular the impact of the accident on soft tissue (Viscous Tolerance Criterion, VTC) and head (Head Injury Criterion, HIC).
Five kilos of safety
Compared with the three-kilo weight of the driver's airbag, accommodated within the steering wheel, the front-passenger airbag unit in the S-Class models in the model series 126, installed in the place of the glove compartment, weighed five kilos. This was largely due to the fact that, because of the greater distance between the airbag and the passenger in the seat, the volume of the life-saving air cushion had to be almost trebled: the volume in the S-Class was 170 litres compared with 60 litres on the driver's side.
In essence, however, the technology behind the innovation that was presented in 1987 was the same as that for the tried and tested driver's airbag: If the crash sensor mounted above the transmission detects a serious accident, it triggers the two gas generators in the airbag. A solid propellant in pellet form ignites to generate a gaseous mixture that inflates the airbag immediately. The shape of the airbag is such that it protects the front passenger from impact with both the instrument panel and the A-pillar.
The triggering device is able to detect collisions and identify their severity according to two pre-set thresholds. If the first threshold is exceeded, the device begins by triggering the belt tensioner. Should the higher threshold be reached, the front-passenger airbag is activated. The two gas generators ignite 15 milliseconds apart, ensuring that the airbag cushion, which is made out of a rubber-lined polyamide fabric, inflates steadily at a controlled rate of pressure. The on-board electronics also check whether the passenger seat is occupied or not, so that if the sensors in the seat and the seat-belt buckles report that the seat is empty, the front-passenger airbag is not triggered in the event of an accident.
Ongoing research in the interests of safety
The front-passenger airbag is an important building block in the ongoing process of safety development at Mercedes-Benz. The first tests of comparable restraint systems for the front-seat passenger were initiated by the Stuttgart-based brand almost two decades before such systems were introduced in series production. As far back as 1971, for example, Hans Scherenberg, Member of the Board of Management of the then Daimler-Benz AG and Head of Overall Development and Research, reported on the tests being undertaken at the time in the development department: "In the case of the front-seat passenger, who was protected by a lap belt and an inflatable cushion, the requirements specifications were met in full." Serving as a reference here were the US-American Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, the first provisions of which came into effect on 1 March 1967 for the 1968 model year. At the IAA in Frankfurt am Main in 1975, Mercedes-Benz then presented the current status of its airbag research activities: an "air cushion for the driver and front-seat passenger as a possible supplementary system to the seat belt".
The airbag gains acceptance
Airbags for drivers and front passengers soon gained industry-wide acceptance as life-saving technology. Since the airbag modules became ever smaller on account of the continuous work by the engineers, it was also possible to place them elsewhere in the vehicle, for example in order to achieve comprehensive protection in the case of a side-on collision: In 1993, Mercedes-Benz presented a side airbag as a prototype. In 1995 the sidebag initially came on to the market as an optional extra in the E-Class. Further innovations included the windowbag (1998), the head/thorax sidebag (2001), the kneebag (2009), the thorax/pelvis sidebag, the beltbag and the cushionbag (2013) as well as adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger with two-staged time-delayed deployment, depending on the detected severity of the impact and the selected seating position. In this way, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars protects its drivers and passengers with a sophisticated system of up to twelve airbags.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Global Automobile Industry and the Decline of American Economic Power

Automotive news today focused on the possible purchase of Fiat -- Chrysler  (FCA Group) by Great Wall Motors, Ford working on a deal with a Chinese company to make all-electric vehicles in China rather than Mexico, and US states vigorously competing for a Toyota-Mazda plant that promised the hiring of 4,000 workers. Chinese interests have already gained control of Volvo, and to their credit have been excellent stewards of that venerated brand. Several years ago Tata from India took possession of British Jaguar, and have also done an excellent job in protecting jaguar's reputation. The center of the automotive world is clearly moving to south and east Asia, because that is where the market is growing and will continue to do so for the immediate future. It is also moving to autonomous self driving vehicles as fast as the technology and law can take us, since now it is recognized that home delivery of goods can be facility by self driving cars.

Is recent automotive history a critical lens from which too view the decline of the West? Of course, Oswald Spangler wrote on this topic of Western decline in the 1920s, in the wake of the cataclysm of World War I.  Since the late 1960s the USA has experienced a gradual economic decline with reference to the rest of the world, and its auto industry no longer dominates this important manufacturing sector. With China now possibly acquiring FCA -- primarily because of SUV production -- is the decline becoming irreversible. Perhaps so! What does this mean for the long-term economic prospects of the U.S.?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Symbol of the German post-WWII Economic Miracle and Democracy: the Mercedes-Benz Star Comes Down in Bonn

The Mercedes star on the "Bonn-Center“ of the former German capital was not only a trademark, but also a distinctive symbol of the Federal Republic of Germany. It was installed on the high-rise building in the late 1960s and rotated – brightly illuminated at night – for more than 45 years. On 24 February 2017, it was removed and stored initially due to the pending demolition of the building. The star was now presented to the Mercedes-Benz brand club vdh e. V., which will make it the centrepiece of its planned museum in Ornbau, Germany. Photo from April 1994. Photo source: City Archive and City History Library Bonn/Friedhelm Schulz.

The Mercedes star on the "Bonn-Center“ of the former German capital was not only a trademark, but also a distinctive symbol of the Federal Republic of Germany. It was installed on the high-rise building in the late 1960s and rotated – brightly illuminated at night – for more than 45 years. On 24 February 2017, it was removed and stored initially due to the pending demolition of the building. Today, Mercedes-Benz presents the famous signet to the officially recognized Mercedes-Benz brand club vdh – e. V., which will make the Mercedes star the centrepiece of its planned museum at the location in Ornbau, Germany. The opening of the exhibition in honour of the Mercedes-Benz brand and its vehicles in a specially built building is planned for 2019.
Stuttgart. For almost 50 years, the Mercedes star of the former "Bonn-Center" shone above the erstwhile German capital. It was a particularly present symbol for the seat of government of the Federal Republic – not just in Bonn itself, but through photos and television images in the whole world.
This important cultural asset will get a new future home in the planned museum of vdh e. V. With this project, Mercedes-Benz underscores the engagement in the active cultivation of the brand history twofold: On one hand, it benefits the work of a dedicated brand club. On the other, the Bonn Mercedes star is also significant from the perspective of the brand history. This star is a white star as was used in earlier days. Today, the trademarks have a silver-metallic shine, just like the Mercedes stars used as bonnet ornaments have always done.
"The fact that this Mercedes star will be exhibited in a museum dedicated to our brand is of great significance to us“, says Christian Boucke, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. "It is part of our brand history and at the same time an important contemporary witness of the "Bonn Federal Republic’. In future, everybody will be able to visit it for the first time and admire it almost at eye level".
The Mercedes star has a diameter of eight metres and is thus about as tall as a two-storey house. On the "Bonn-Center", it completed one full turn in two minutes. Powerful lighting ensured the star radiated brightly at night from the roof of the former high-rise building.
"We are delighted that we are presented with this historical Mercedes star and that we will be able to exhibit it in our new museum as the centrepiece", says Horst Stümpfig, First Chairman of vdh –  e. V. "It will be a key exhibit of the exhibition concept that features a host of vehicles. It will contribute to creating an impressive and unique setting“ .
With some 7000 members, vdh e. V. is one of the largest officially recognised brand clubs in Germany and is dedicated to the cultivation of the cultural assets that classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles represent. The planned club museum in Ornbau, Middle Franconia, a little under 20 kilometres south of Ansbach, will play a key role in the work of the club in future. The opening is planned for 2019.
The famous trademark will also celebrate an anniversary in 2019: On 24 June 1909, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) applied for a design patent on the three-pointed star. It is used as a bonnet ornament since 1910 – and continues to be one of the world's most famous trademarks to this day. During the merger between DMG and Benz & Cie. in 1926 to form then Daimler-Benz AG, the product signets of the two companies were merged as well: Since then, the three-pointed star on the badge of every Mercedes-Benz is surrounded by the laurel wreath – on passenger and commercial vehicles.
Worldwide, there are 80 brand clubs officially recognised by Mercedes-Benz, with around 100,000 members in all. Mercedes-Benz Classic honours and supports their work through the professional Club Management and provides services such as establishing important contacts for workshops, parts supply, vehicle trade and the archives of Mercedes-Benz Classic.
The Mercedes star on the roof was the shining symbol on the "Bonn-Center“ visible for miles around. The high-rise building was built from 1968 to 1969 based on a design by Berlin architect Friedrich Wilhelm Gerasch as the first large commercial centre in the former parliament and government district. With 18 storeys and a total height of 60 metres, it was one of the tallest buildings in Bonn. In addition to public businesses and a hotel, the reinforced concrete construction housed numerous office floors, whose tenants included members and staff of the nearby German Federal Parliament and other governmental institutions, embassies, and associations. This made the "Bonn-Center" an important institution in the former government and business life in Bonn. To make room for a new construction project, after being gutted it was demolished with explosives and collapsed as planned on 19 March 2017.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bill Grauer and Riverside Records: Capturing the Sounds from Sports and Race Cars

It began with RLP 5001 -- "Sounds of Sebring:  The 1956 Florida International Twelve-Hour Grand Prix of Endurance."

"At Sebring, everybody has problems and for the most part all this worry and fuss is just for the fun of it. And because it's for the fun of it, Sebring is a terribly wonderfully exciting spectacle."

The most unusual sound recording's A side began with interviews of drivers, a prelude to  the listener experiencing "sounds at rest:" a 3 liter Maserati; 3.5; 3.5 liter Ferrari; a Lotus; and finally a Porsche Spyder. Driver interviews connects us to ghosts from the past:

Stirling Moss
Jean Behra and Carlos Medniteguy
Pochirio Rubirosa
Peter Collins
Bill Spear
 Juan Manuel Fangio
John Gordon Bennett
Reg Parnell
Marquis de Portago
Luigi Musso

The flip side included hour by hour reports of the 12 hour race. Who do you think would care about all of this? But this was not a one-off exercise, for over the next seven years many other vinyl discs of   racing sounds and exotic cars would follow, and amuse a generation  or two of sports car enthusiasts. A label with a reputation for jazz recording left a legacy for the automotive historian to mine and explicate.

From the dust jacket of Riverside Records RLP 5002 [1957?]

"The theme here, then is engine noise: exhaust, valve, camshaft.  The variation on the theme are endless. As long as men design and build engines, there'll be enthusiasts trying to make them perform better. When they blow up, they'll simply build engines that won't blow up. The automobile is unique in the history of civilization. It has provided man with effortless transportation -- freed him, as it were, from the bounds of his physical limitations. And to the men who own own and run these cars, it is given, more than to most men, to create as well as to savor the magic bouquet of speed."

I have often wondered how  working-class kid from Kenmore, New York became obsessed with sports cars as a teenager.  I finally realized that obsession at age 18 with the purchase of a 1959 MGA in 1966. Now, at age 69, I look back at that time in my life and am trying to understand my thinking at a time in life when I did little deliberate thinking.

It may have been that my fascination with sports cars -- ironic since my family never even considered foreign cars -- can be traced to a record that I owned as a child. Between the ages of 12 and 14 I went with my friend Steve Kelley and family to Toronto, where at the Eaton's Department store I acquired a copy of Riverside Records "Vintage Sports Cars in Stereo." On one side the record featured the sounds of a number of vintage cars I had never heard of before: a Frazer-Nash; Type 51 Bugatti; E.R.A.; P3 Alfa Romero; Alta; V16 Maserati. On the other side a vintage race was narrated by the famous David Scott-Moncrieff. I can't tell you how many times I listened to that record, but it was important enough to take it to Davidson College with me and to give this prized possession to my roommate, Paul Garrigus.

Most recently, due to a contact from David Williams, editor of the Ferrari Club magazine, "The Prancing Horse"  I ended up buying a copy of "Vintage Sports Cars in Stereo" on Ebay, and will give you my thoughts on listening  it as soon as it arrives from Great Britain.

My initial response listening to the first side of the record:

At first, I felt almost silly listening to David Scott-Moncrieff trying to narrate stories of  several of the various race cars above the din of raging engine sounds.  But by the end of my first listen to the sounds I was first enthralled with some 50 years ago, I began to understand how a blind person might experience auto racing and race cars. I was also stunned by the phenomenal sound  reproduction contained on this record: background whistles, the  faintest of gear sounds, combustion signatures -- all can be heard.  I need to listen and meditate more on this record, but I must say the experience is little different than going to cars and coffee and hearing some wise guy crank up his motor.  Except in this car we are dealing with cars of distinction and historical significance far beyond that of a recent Corvette.

The Riverside Records story is worth telling.  Well-known for its remarkable 1950s and early 1960s Jazz labels, Riverside was the result of the efforts of Bill Grauer and business partner Orrin Keepnews.

Grauer was a 1943 graduate of Columbia University (1944 MA) , and was  known as a jazz aficionado. An aggressive businessman, Grauer was driven to transform Riverside Records into a major label. By the early 1960s his accounting practices were suspect, but the issue was never resolved because of his premature death in 1963 as the result of a heart attack.
For whatever quirky reason, Grauer led an effort to capture car and aviation engine sounds, producing by 1961 some 24+ albums on race and sports cars along with fighter jet engine sounds and WWI aircraft. He brought to enthusiasts 8 LP's featuring Sebring endurance races and the sounds from Bonneville Salt Flats. Other sounds included hot rods, drag racers and vintage sports cars.

The technology used to capture these sounds improved over time.  Early on, mention was made of a mobile recording unit using a specially modified Magnacorder equipment and a Stevens "True-Sonic" microphone.

More on this and other related topics in the very near future.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bonneville Salt Flats Restoration Efforts

10-Year Salt Delivery Program
Proposed for Bonneville Salt Flats 

Coalition Unites to Restore Historic Racing Site

Wendover, Utah (August 9, 2017) – Three separate organizations representing racers and industry are in discussions with Intrepid Potash-Wendover, Inc., a potash mine operator, on ways to increase the amount of salt brine being pumped onto the Bonneville Salt Flats.  As Speed Week celebrates its 68th anniversary, the racing community is exploring ways to help restore the historic site to its former glory.

According to the groups, the goal is to create a 10-year pilot program to pump at least 1.2 million tons of salt a year, more than double the current amount being pumped. The program should help better understand Bonneville’s complex geology while simultaneously improving the racing surface.  The expanded laydown will build upon a 1997-2002 program which averaged 1.2 million tons yearly and increased the salt surface and underground aquifer that supports it.  The focus will be on sustaining that volume over a longer time frame and carefully measuring the results.

“Bonneville’s premier racing venue is actually the densely-packed salt remnants of an ancient lake bed formed over thousands of years,” said Doug Evans, Chairman of the Save the Salt Coalition. “The salt crust has been shrinking and thinning for decades due to both human and environmental factors. We welcome this team effort approach to helping return Bonneville to its former glory.” 

The racers are represented by three organizations.  The “Save the Salt Foundation” is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to restore the Bonneville Salt Flats.  The “Save the Salt Coalition” is an umbrella group comprised of automotive and motorsports companies and organizations with a vested interest in this national treasure.  The “Utah Alliance” is a volunteer Utah-based advocacy group using its expertise and contacts at the local level.  All three organizations are collaborating to keep Bonneville available for future generations.

Details about the 10-year pilot program are being refined and will be released in the coming months.  The parties are working with the U.S. Congress to develop appropriations legislation necessary to implement the plan.  The racing venue is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and identified as the Bonneville Salt Flats Special Recreation Management Area.

for more information, visit

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

An interesting old (1949?) Packard Limo

A 1949? Packard custom limo as seen in the Napa Valley.   Thanks to Randy Hughes!

Life is good in California.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

2nd Edition of The Automobile and American Life will be Available in Winter, 2018

This 2nd edition has plenty of new material scattered over many of the chapters. There is a new chapter 10 on the critical decade of the 1970s!!

Dr. Magoo Behind the Wheel of a 1904 Vehicle at the Swigart Museum

Here I am in a photo taken by Ed last week at the wheel of a 1904 car  I cannot identify at the Swigart Museum.  Boy, I need to improve my photogenic appearance!