Some cars have to age like fine wine to be appreciated. Others offer virtues so obvious that they deserve top ranking from the moment they are introduced. So it is with the Ferrari 360 Spider, which happens to be the marque’s twentieth road-going convertible and a car about which Ferrari says, “without question, it is the best Spider Maranello has ever produced in terms of looks, engineering, and performance.”
Satisfaction of modern perfection
While some of that might be recent marketing hype — after all the 360 Spider is still available for purchase at your local Ferrari dealer — you can perhaps pardon them for the hyperbole. We still think the Ferrari Daytona Spider is a prettier car with classic sports car proportions, but there is no doubt the 360 Spider is strikingly attractive in the modern mold. Further, because Ferrari is presently on an incredible roll in the world of Formula One racing, it is the most technologically advanced convertible of all time. Read more . . .
Like Henry Ford, Ferruccio Lamborghini was an expert mechanic. And like Henry Ford, Lamborghini left a career of prominence to take a chance on an entirely new venture when he was well past 40 years old. In the end, like Henry Ford, Lamborghini was far more interested in producing cars for the street than for the race track.
However, at that point, the parallels between the two automotive legends begin to fold, because the cars Lamborghini brought to market under the sign of the bull were about as distinct from a Model T Ford as an F-16 is from a Piper Cub. Sure, they both fly but… Read more . . .
The story of the Cadillac V-16 is the saga of not one but two colossal engines. The irony of the story is that these two luxury car powerplants, among the most remarkable the world has ever produced, were spawned during the world’s most far-reaching and destructive economic collapse.
Of course, during the heady days of the Twenties, when speculators in the stock market gave no thought to “how high is up,” the concept of a 16-cylinder engine for the ultimate in luxury machines seemed quite rational. The millionaires of the bathtub gin decade seemed more than willing to exhibit their wealth, and there were lots of car companies, in the United States and abroad, that were perfectly willing to help them in the endeavor.
So it seemed just another step in the advancement of the luxury car to assemble a 16-cylinder engine. After all, if eight cylinders were good, then 16 cylinders must be twice as good. It was as effortless as adding eight plus eight.
Mammoth multi-cylinder engines were nothing new in the aircraft business. Spurred on by the momentum of the Great War, Ettore Bugatti designed a 16-cylinder engine for aircraft use in 1917. Before the war’s end, Read more . . .
Imagine inventing not just a product, but an industry, and then imagine the disappointment of failing to harvest the benefits of your enormous achievement. So, it was with the Duryea brothers, J. Frank and Charles E. The two brothers were, arguably at least, the first Americans to build a successful automobile, and there is less argument that they were the first to incorporate an American industry for the expressed goal of building automobiles for sale to the public. Further, Frank drove a car they planned and built to victory in the first automobile race ever held in America. Yet, when all is said and done, the two brothers are but an vague footnote in the history of the auto industry they created.
Head by ambition
Though, if the Duryeas are a footnote, it is certainly a widely colorful, varied, and, ultimately tragic footnote. The brothers Read more . . .
Hypothetically, the sequel is never as good as the original; and that is definitely true of the Continental Mark II. The original Lincoln Continental, produced as a one-off by Bob Gregorie and his design staff for the personal use of Edsel Ford, was, with little argument, the best American auto design of the 1940’s. Mildly production-ized and sold as a series into the late Forties, it was a masterpiece. Ford Motor Company attempted to re-create the same magic some 15 years later with the Mark II, but to re-create magic is a tougher task than the first time.Though the Mark II lacked the essential rightness of the original’s proportions, still, it was a car to be reckoned with. By sheer presence, sheer mass, sheer price, it was a vehicle that epitomized 1950’s America.
Simply like Lincoln, but not quite
If you are known by the company you keep, then the Mark II warrants high marks. A wide swath of the rich and famous in the 1950’s owned one, including Elvis Presley, Dwight Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, Frank Sinatra, Louie Prima, Spike Jones, Henry J. Kaiser, Howard Johnson and the Shah of Iran. Read more . . .