Posts by Justin Hyde
- jhyde1 at Motoramic7 hrs ago
It was seven years after World War II before Mercedes-Benz returned to motorsports, but when it did, it brought forth one of the world's most iconic sports cars. Using a then-revolutionary tube frame to reduce weight, the 300SL (the SL stood for "sport light") revealed to the press on this date in 1952 had several innovations, including advanced aerodynamics, aluminum bodywork and the first use of direct fuel injection. Because the frame needed the space where doors usually went, Mercedes engineers moved the hinges to the roof, creating what Americans call the "gullwing" and French call "papillon," or butterfly.
While it lacked the power of competitors, the 300 SL was immediately successful, sweeping the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana Mexico. At the urging of its U.S. importer, Mercedes built a customer version of the 300SL in 1954, etching the gullwing into history. In 2012, an all-aluminum 300SL sold for $4.62 million. Here's what the 300dSL sounded like in full wail during its first glorious year:
- Motoramic1 day ago
Oh sure, the Tesla Model S may be the "best car sold in America" per Consumer Reports, and it may be a Wall Street darling and perhaps the only electric vehicles for which demand exceeds supply. But that didn't stop regulators in New Jersey from ordering Tesla to shut down its stores by April 1 because the company doesn't use dealers like every other automaker.
In a hastily called meeting packed with Tesla supporters, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission approved several rule changes that essentially shut down Tesla's two factory-direct stores in the state — not only barring automakers from selling without dealers, but also the mall showrooms that Tesla had used in place of a traditional stand-alone dealership.
- jhyde1 at Motoramic1 day ago
Paul Jaworski was a pioneer of crime. In the early '20s, the Cleveland-raised gangster and his Detroit crew known as the Flathead Gang made a number of daring robberies — none more so than the first heist of an armored car. On this date in 1927, Jaworski and associates planted explosives beneath a road near Bethel Park, Penn. When an armored car carrying cash for a coal company rolled past, the gang triggered the explosives — enough to send the armored truck hurtling through the air and onto its top, and creating a crater large enough to swallow the patrol car close behind. Jaworksi's crew made off with $104,000 from the heist, which surprisingly killed no one — but the gang was soon apprehended, including Jaworski, who was executed in Pennsylvania in 1929 for other murders. After the Flathead Gang heist, armored truck builders soon switched from using wood floors in their vehicles to metal.
- Motoramic2 days ago
The name Audi dates to the birth of the German auto industry; history says it was the son of company founder August Horch who in 1910 came up with translating " horch " — German for "hark!" — into its Latin form, " audi ." After the creation of Auto Union from Audi and three other early German automakers, the name disappeared from use before World War II. It was only in the mid-1960s that Volkswagen, needing a name for some of the models it was selling from the troubled Auto Union it now owned, reached back for Audi. By 1968, Auto Union engineers had developed the company's first modern Audi, the 100, and on this date in 1968 Auto Union merged with NSU, and the new company took the Audi name as well, launching as a separate brand from Volkswagen. Last year, Audi sold 1.58 million vehicles worldwide, and has targeted surpassing BMW as the world's largest seller of luxury vehicles by the end of the decade. Here's what the most advanced Audi today — the R18 e- tron Quattro that won Le Mans last year — sounds like from behind the wheel:
- Motoramic5 days ago
Jimmy Fallon's first weeks as the new host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" has been warmly received. So when Fallon opened his show Wednesday night with a comment about wanting to buy a truck, Detroit's truck marketers fell over themselves like teen-agers hearing Kate Upton wants an invitation to prom.
The first night, Fallon admitted he knew nothing about trucks and wasn't looking for "payola," just that he was thinking of buying a pickup that he could haul his child in. (His appeal for advice to The Roots revealed only a Mini Cooper owner.) That was enough for Detroit to tag Fallon in his medium of choice, Twitter.
Ford struck first, pitching the 2015 F-150 King Ranch, a truck that won't even be built for several months. Chevy also tried its hand:
- jhyde1 at Motoramic5 days ago
It wasn't just Walter Röhrl's two titles in the World Rally Championship in 1980 and 1982 that made him one of the most respected race drivers in the world. It was the way he won, and the machines themselves; no other racer so successfully tamed the monsters of the mid-80s rally world like the 550-hp Audi Sport Quattro E2. Röhrl retired from rallying in 1987, but his skills remain in demand, and every modern Porsche model has been tested around the Nürburgring with Röhrl at the wheel. Nothing better sums up Röhrl's skills than this famous video of his fleet footwork from 1985:
- Motoramic6 days ago
The original Dodge Viper revealed in 1992 was a beast of a machine — an attempt by then-Chrysler exec Bob Lutz to revive the spirit of the Shelby Cobra and give Chrysler a world-class sports car. Powered by a massive V-10 with 400 hp, the early Viper's brute force overwhelmed many drivers.
Today, the power that made the Viper a legend appears to be at the heart of an order from Chrysler to dozens of trade schools, demanding the immediate destruction of some 93 early Vipers, including a preproduction model that could likely fetch a couple hundred thousand dollars at auction.
- jhyde1 at Motoramic6 days ago
Charles Brady King was a mechanical engineer and tinkerer who, like many younger men of the 1890s, was fascinated by engines and the potential of personal transportation. In his shop in Detroit, King and associates would spend hours going over diagrams in magazines and building their own versions. Thanks to income from his inventions, King had bought a one-cylinder gasoline engine and a carriage; on this date in 1896, after tying the engine to an accelerator pedal and muffler, King drove down St. Antoine to Woodward Avenue at five miles an hour — the first appearance of an automobile in the Motor City.
As the Detroit Free Press reported:
The first horseless carriage seen in this city was out on the streets last night. It is the invention of Charles B. King, a Detroiter, and its progress up down Woodward Avenue about 11 o’clock caused a deal of comment, people crowding around it so that its progress was impeded. The apparatus seemed to work all right, and went at the rate of five or six miles an hour at an even rate of speed
- Motoramic8 days ago
Ever since the original Jeep got its discharge papers from the U.S. Army, the various owners of the Jeep brand have been trying to find new shapes and uses for the Jeep name beyond military life Before World War II ended, a designer for Jeep builder Willys-Overland came up with a sketch of a two-seat roadster that became the Jeepster.
Through the decades, other experiments have followed — Comanche, Commando, later Commander and Liberty. And today, Jeep's owner Fiat-Chrysler revealed it's first original attempt at a new Jeep, one built with U.S. engineering and Italian assembly for world consumption. Meet the 2015 Jeep Renegade.
Sized for the small SUV market — checking in a wee bit larger than the Nissan Juke — the Renegade uses an all-new chassis design meant to accommodate vehicles with four wheel drive. In the past, chassis like these have been the downfall of Jeep spinoffs, offering a compromised off-road performance while still carrying the weight and efficiency penalty that every trail-riding truck must.