Mercury has always existed in a Never-Never Land inside Ford Motor Company. The brand was established in 1939 to fill the huge gap that existed between the luxury Lincoln and the popular-priced Ford, but for some reason, in the 60-plus years, the product has been in existence, Ford execs have been unable to give it a strong identity. Certainly, the mid-priced brands from General Motors — Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Buick — and Chrysler’s Dodge division have always had better-defined personas than Mercury, and that has always been to Mercury’s disadvantage. It seems that over the course of its history, Mercury has wavered from being just a tarted-up Ford to a near-Lincoln, which has made it improbable for the buying public to pin down. Of course, in the clutter of the American car market, if a brand has a puzzled image, it really has no image at all. Read more . . .
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. Further, 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. The 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. But 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 . . .