Automotive History

How Steve McQueen really created Bullitt's famous car chase

By Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Hagerty Media
Photos courtesy of Warner Brothers

(December 12, 2022) There will be many people who have watched 10 minutes and 53 seconds of Steve McQueen’s Bullitt without knowing anything about the plot. You don’t need to, because the car chase is probably the best (only?) reason to watch the entire movie.

Lost to fire, Ford’s Rotunda destroyed 60 years ago

By Jeff Peek
Hagerty

(November 12, 2022) Ford called it the “Show Place of the Automotive Industry,” and even a title that brazen may have understated the widespread appeal of the Rotunda. By the early 1960s, Ford’s futuristic Rotunda was not only the most popular automotive-related tourist destination in the United States, it was the fifth-most visited attraction overall, seen by more people than the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, and Yellowstone National Park.

Century-old Ford plant in Florida to be torn down

(October 21, 2022) A car plant that Henry Ford opened in Jacksonville, Fla., nearly a century ago is slated to be demolished over the objections of local historical preservationists. The Jacksonville City Council last week unanimously approved the property owner's request to tear down the building to allow for new waterfront development, the Florida Times-Union reported. The owner said experts who assessed the building said it was too damaged to repair.

11 concept cars from the decade of the '60s

Richard Heseltine
Hagerty   

(June 5, 2022) Concept cars tend to live ephemeral lives. They appear at an event or two, create headlines if they’re lucky, and then disappear into the ether once they’re no longer of use. Some, however, attain legendary status. The 1960s in particular witnessed the emergence of the show-stopper as we know it, car manufacturers seeing the value of creating a one-off purely to foretell what’s coming down the road and broadcast styling trends and create a little excitement ahead of launching a new model.

Lincoln celebrates a century of elegance and innovation


Henry and Clara Ford after purcahse of Lincoln Motor Company in 1922

(February 4, 2022) DEARBORN, Mich. — On Feb. 4, 1922, Henry Ford, with encouragement from his wife Clara and his son Edsel Ford, purchased The Lincoln Motor Company from distinguished inventor and automotive engineer Henry Leland for $8 million. The transaction set in motion the creation of an iconic American luxury brand.

'Back to the Future' DeLorean back in the spotlight in documentary

By Jeff Peek
Hagerty

(January 3, 2022) If there was any doubt about the iconic status of the Back to the Future DeLorean, it is quickly dispelled in a new documentary released by the Hagerty Drivers Foundation. In the first three minutes of "88mph: The Story of the DeLorean Time Machine," no fewer than 13 enthusiasts — including movie stars Michael J. Fox and Lea Thompson — appear on screen to tout the staying power of the fictitious time machine that first appeared in the original 1985 film. And many more weigh in during the next hour and a half.

Toyota celebrates 25 years of the RAV4 in North America


1996 Toyota RAV4

(November 13, 2021) PLANO, Texas — It’s been a quarter-century since Toyota introduced the groundbreaking model that went on to define a whole new type of passenger vehicle category. With ride, handling and comfort characteristics more akin to sedans than SUVs, the first RAV4 essentially created the template for what became the “crossover SUV” or just “crossover.” This unique vehicle left some mighty big footsteps to follow.

Groundbreaking 1930s Stout Scarab was 'the first minivan'


Flickr/Wade Brooks

By Jeff Peek
Hagerty Automotive History   

(September 29, 2021) “The world’s first minivan.” Few automotive honors are less sexy than that dubious title. Unless, of course, you look like the 1930s Stout Scarab. The Art Deco, aerodynamic, head-turning multi-passenger vehicle created a stir eight decades ago. Its powers have not waned. Designed and built by engineer William B. Stout, the Scarab’s shape not only resembled the beetle for which it was named, but it also aptly represented what Egyptians believe about the winged insect — that it symbolizes rebirth and renewal. Appropriately enough, Bill Stout did a whole lot of rebirthing and renewing in his day, both before and after the Scarab.

Crosley Hotshot — Serious contender too few took seriously


1950 Crosley Hotshot

By Robert D. Cunningham
The Old Motor

(August 22, 2021) Powel Crosley, Jr. introduced his two-cylinder roller skate of a car in 1939, followed by slightly larger postwar offerings in 1946. All body styles were strictly practical until he unveiled his exciting new Hotshot on July 13, 1949. “America’s first true postwar sports car” was a bare-bones street racer. Being equipped with few frills allowed dealers to deliver the roadster for as little as $316 down and $7.64 per week, and at only $849, the Hotshot was the least expensive production car in America that year.

The Fridolin — A Volkswagen-engineered mail truck

(August 5, 2021) Every Volkswagen car has a story, but not all have a historic significance quite like the Volkswagen Fridolin. Originally known as the Type 147 Kleinlieferwagen, the oddly tall wagon has become a rare collector car but was once a common sight on German and Swiss roads — as a sign that the mail was on its way.

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