It is fitting that the quintessential military vehicle of today, the HMMWV (or Humvee), and the quintessential military vehicle of all eras, the Jeep, should arise from the same origin. Hummer H1Further, those roots are planted intensely in the soil of solidly Midwest Indiana, where they can be traced back to 1903, when Standard Wheel Company, a Terre Haute bicycle manufacturer, decided to enter the infant automobile industry with the introduction of the Overland Runabout, its first motor vehicle.

Competing for military respect

While Overland is a well-known name to antique auto buffs, a household name became associated with the enterprise when John North Willys purchased it in 1908, the same year the Chicago Cubs Read more . . .

If there was ever a car that epitomized the greed-is-good extras of the Eighties, it was the Ferrari Testarossa. To purists, even its name symbolizes a sell-out. Ferrari TestarossaThe original 250 Testa Rossa road racer was not only shockingly beautiful, it functioned beautifully on the racetrack as well, winning three World Sports Car Championships between 1958 and 1961.

Proposed for good looks

In contrast, the Testarossa of the Eighties had no racing pedigree whatsoever.  Impure and not-so-simple, it was a car designed and built to cash in on an image. And since cashing in was what the Eighties were all about, it was the best vehicle for its time. The saving grace was, it was also a damn good car.

From the beginning,  the Testarossa was envisioned to Read more . . .

Enzo Ferrari was expert at using the cachet gained by his racing machines to sell cars meant for the street. Duesenberg J/SJBut long before Signore Ferrari started his racing career, two brothers from Lippe, Germany, were doing the same thing.

It all began with bicycles

Frederic Duesenberg was born in Lippe in 1878, and his brother August arrived the year after. It wasn’t long before their family embarked on the journey of their lives — emigrating to America. Soon they settled in the Midwest, and that’s where Augie and Fred  got into racing.  Though, not motor racing,  bicycle racing. The two brothers weren’t just good at riding bicycles either; they also assembled them, and Duesenberg-built bicycles became sought-after on the famous American bike racing circuit.

Fred confirmed the quality of their machines in 1898 by establishing a world record for Read more . . .

Without doubt there is a huge gap between a luxury car and an economy car, but a far bigger gap exists between an economy car and no car at all. Citroen 2CVAnd that is precisely the gap Pierre Boulanger wanted to bridge with the improvement of the Citroen 2CV, the fabled and much-maligned Deaux Chevaux.

Andre Citroen succeeded in bringing mass production to the French auto business. With his A Model and then the 5CV Trefle, the visionary leader opened the probability of owning an automobile to many who could have never considered it before his arrival. But then, the Great Depression knocked the wind from his company’s sales, and not even the well known Traction Avant could put its house back in order. Soon before he passed away in 1935, he was forced to sell the control of his company to Michelin, and at his death he was very unsure about its survival. Read more . . .

There was a time when the Jaguar name didn’t mean aging lawyers and blue-haired matrons. Jaguar D-TypeThere was a time when Jaguars were driven by courageous young men who took them to the very edge of their very high limits. And there was a time when Jaguar was a force to be imagined in the most grueling road racing of all, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Britain came out slowly from the wreckage of World War II, but by 1948 Jaguar’s William Lyons was chomping at the bit to kick his company up into a higher gear. His daring stroke for the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show was a show car that would become the XK120 sports car.

The swoopy two-seat roadster whose shape, fable has it, Read more . . .