Automotive History

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.

Strange automotive history — From the 3-wheeled Tiger to the Interceptor


The three-wheeled Tiger Roadster

By Robert D. Cunningham
Courtesy of The Old Motor

(July 23, 2021) When Mrs. Joel Thorne ran off with a sailor in 1921, she left her 7-year-old son, Joel Wolfe Thorne Jr, in the hands of his father, the influential owner of Chase Manhattan Bank. Three years later, the banker was struck and killed by an automobile, and young Joel became the beneficiary of a trust fund worth an estimated $38 million (roughly $600 million in today’s money). With no need to work, the young man simply played, and he played to win.

Seven Volkswagen Beetle successors that never were

(July 17, 2021) The Volkswagen Beetle is an icon. Over the years, it has symbolized many different things to many different people, from a classic example of German ingenuity to the calling card for a counterculture movement to a reminder that the simplest of things can sometimes be the best. Above all, it set the standard by which all other small, economy cars are judged.

Mythbusting — The truth about the GM EV1

By Gary Witzenburg
Hagerty

(July 4, 2021) About halfway down the long hill leading to the General Motors Proving Ground test tracks in Milford, Michigan, it hit me that the electric concept car I was driving rolled on a cobbled-up show-car suspension and was armed with barely functional brakes. Uh-oh! It would be a supremely stupid, costly, career-ending blunder to crash this incredibly significant hand-built prototype EV by plowing off the fast 90-degree corner that awaited down the hill. Though the concept was called the Impact, I had no intention of putting that name to the test.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Automotive History