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 . . .
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. And 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 . . .
Some celebrated cars are born of vision; others are created by necessity. Of these, the 1949 Ford belongs in that second class. As a major component of “The Arsenal of Democracy,” Ford Motor Company was a gigantic contributor to the war effort, building not just trucks and Jeep and other vehicles but also airplane components. However, like some veterans, Ford survived and thrived in the war only to have its very existence threatened by the peace.
Innovation is good, even better
When World War II came to a close in 1945, four years of war had created four years of pent-up consumer need for automobiles, so the immediate post-war market swallowed up just about any new vehicle that could be manufactured. But Henry Ford II, who sat atop the Ford Motor Company, was savvy enough to recognize that when the initial boom died down, the consumer would seek out modern comfort and convenience, and that was something Ford Motor Company, in the immediate post-war days, was simply not ready to provide. Read more . . .
A torrent of water passed under the bridge between the launch of the Jaguar XK 120 show car at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1946 and the Geneva Auto Show in 1961. For one thing, equipped with the potent XK six-cylinder engine, Jaguar had gone sports car racing in a most successful way. With the aerodynamic D-Type, the marque had prevailed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s most prestigious road race, three years in a row. Jaguar had transitioned from offering the public a reliable sports car for the street based on sedan mechanicals to building very specialized sports racing machinery, and then, finding the cost of world-class competition rising ever-higher, it had pulled back from its racing commitments to concentrate again of cars the market could buy. Read more . . .
If William Durant hadn’t got involved in a heated discussion with Walter P. Chrysler, there might never have been a Chrysler Corporation. Thus, there would not have been the Chrysler C-300 and this space would have been filled with the fable of the Chevrolet Corvair or the Nash Metropolitan. But in 1920, soon after Billy Durant regained control of General Motors, Durant and Chrysler a got into a knockdown, drag-out argument that ended with Chrysler slamming the door and walking away from GM forever. Read more . . .