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The Invention of Jaywalking and the Rise of Car Culture

In the history of roads, pedestrians have long been the dominant user class. In the early 20th century, the use of automobiles was increasing, and with it, the conflicts between cars and people on foot. This conflict came to a head in 1923 in Cincinnati, when people were outraged about the number of children killed by autos, and a there was a petition that "would have required all vehicles in the city to be fitted with speed governors limiting them to 25 miles per hour." In response, the young automotive companies organized and started a move to give dominance to cars in the streets. The petition failed, and pedestrians had lost. This was a key moment, marked with the invention of jaywalking. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 26, 2014 - 125 comments

 

Repulsors Revived

Long on speed but short on style, Luke Skywalker's X-34 Land Speeder has been handsomely improved by subsequent generations — more in the Air Drive gallery by photographer Renaud Marion.
posted by cenoxo on Dec 1, 2013 - 20 comments

It's a van, it's a bus, it's a camper

Effective 12/31, it will no longer be manufactured. I was more surprised to learn that the VW Bus was still being manufactured in 2013.
posted by COD on Sep 25, 2013 - 66 comments

Indy 500 Pace Cars

Every Indianapolis 500 Pace Car and its driver, in reverse chronological order.
posted by Slap*Happy on May 25, 2013 - 42 comments

Two wheels good, three wheels better!

Moggie? Moggie? No, Moggie! The Morgan Motor Company, not to be confused with MG (Morris Garages), is a lesser-known British sports car manufacturer building Morgan cars in scenic Malvern Link, Worcestershire, since 1910. Perhaps most famous for selling cars with wooden frames to this very day, Morgan continues building their most traditional cars alongside their swoopiest new offerings. The founder, H. F. S. Morgan, started out building three-wheelers in what is known as the tadpole configuration, and their production continued until 1952, when Morgan moved entirely to four-wheelers. Until 2011. [more inside]
posted by Purposeful Grimace on May 9, 2013 - 47 comments

Dashboard Camera + Timelapse = Drivelapse

Drivelapse: dashboard-camera footage of stretches of roadway, sped up via timelapse, often with annotations. For example, you can zoom through Zion Canyon or zig-zag down the Swiss Alps. Travel 250 miles from Beverly Hills to Las Vegas in 28 minutes. Or, Norwalk OH to Williamsburg VA: 550 miles in 17.5 minutes, approximately 1885 mph. Take a tour of Minneapolis surface roads or winding New England state highways. Or, tilt at windmills along the coast of the Strait of Gibraltar.MOTORIST WARNING: ANNOYING SOUNDTRACKS NEXT 10 MILES — PREPARE TO MUTE SOUND.[more inside]
posted by not_on_display on Mar 20, 2013 - 17 comments

Car-toons, with the emphasis on 'Car'

Cartoon Brew's animation historian Amid Amidi posted an almost-definitive collection of Automobile-themed cartoons from the 1950s and 1960s. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Jan 17, 2013 - 6 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

32 steps to check your fluids

Today’s “luxury” car is just like today’s “luxury” watch. The value of the thing is the price, the presence, the heavy flame-surfaced tank-like offensiveness of an X6 imposing your prosperity on your neighbor’s fragile psyche like a heavy gold chain worn around one’s neck a thousand years ago.
posted by highway40 on Oct 1, 2012 - 146 comments

Fast Women

Speedqueens — Women in motorsport from 1898 to the present day. Fasten your seatbelts, gentlemen.
posted by cenoxo on Sep 2, 2012 - 15 comments

road trip to the American past

motor life blog is Charlie Beesly's fun collection of (mostly) found photos celebrating cars and their owners. Don't miss the winsome training wheels post and the early Kodacolor collection. We've seen some of Charlie's other themed found photos here previously.
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 8, 2012 - 5 comments

cccrrrrrraaaaaaaaasssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

Slow Motion Car Crash: Jonathan Schipper’s art installation uses hydraulics to crash a VW Golf into a wall at 7mm per hour over the course of a four weeks. [more inside]
posted by quin on Apr 6, 2012 - 34 comments

Fight and Flight. And Cars, too.

AIRBOYD.tv has three Youtube channels: The eponymous AIRBOYD features 2000+ videos for "aviation and aerospace enthusiasts. Then there's the Nuclear Vault: Vintage Military, War and News Videos, with 1200+ full-length documentaries, news reels and other assorted footage, including 200 episodes of "The Big Picture (Army Signal Corps)" and a variety of Atomic and Nuclear energy films. Last but not least is US Auto Industry, an archive of over 450 vintage automobile films, including commercials from Buick, Pontiac, Chevy and Ford. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 8, 2012 - 2 comments

Coachbuilt, an encyclopedia of American Coachbuilders

Coachbuilt is an encyclopedia of American coachbuilders, from Adam Black & Sons, makers of commercial coaches and co-designers of the iconic UPS P-600 package delivery truck, to the York-Hoover Body Company, who started out as a prolific supplier of wooden depot hack and station wagon bodies for the Ford Model T, later catering to the funeral home/furniture store marketplace by offering a combination motorized funeral coach/furniture delivery car using a stretched Model T chassis.
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 5, 2012 - 2 comments

Auto safety: Better Red than Dead

The Stop Sign Wasn’t Always Red. Yellow signs were used before there was a way produce a reflective material in red that would last. We have the Mississippi Valley Association of State Highway Departments to thank for the stop sign’s iconic shape. In 1923, the association developed an influential set of recommendations about street-sign shapes whose impact is still felt today. The recommendations were based on a simple, albeit not exactly intuitive, idea: the more sides a sign has, the higher the danger level it invokes. [more inside]
posted by Obscure Reference on Dec 13, 2011 - 109 comments

Europe on fifteen hundred yuan a day.

Evan Osnos joins a tour group from China as they traverse Europe. In the front row of the bus, Li stood facing the group with a microphone in hand, a posture he would retain for most of our waking hours in the days ahead. In the life of a Chinese tourist, guides play an especially prominent role—translator, raconteur, and field marshal—and Li projected a calm, seasoned air. He often referred to himself in the third person—Guide Li—and he prided himself on efficiency. “Everyone, our watches should be synchronized,” he said. “It is now 7:16 P.M.” He implored us to be five minutes early for every departure. “We flew all the way here,” he said. “Let’s make the most of it.” [more inside]
posted by WalterMitty on Jul 28, 2011 - 71 comments

The car that goes woosh

Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten somehow talked his way into reviewing a Chevy Volt (GM's new electric vehicle) for 7 hours over 4 days. That's about 6:30 more than most reviewers get to spend with the vehicle. What resulted is a auto review unlike any other you've read before.
Previously on Metafilter.
posted by COD on Jan 28, 2011 - 130 comments

The cutaway drawing and its artists

The cutaway drawing and its artists. Enjoy. [more inside]
posted by clorox on Dec 3, 2010 - 15 comments

I'm not familiar with that address. Would you please repeat the destination?

In 2007, City officials convened a group of stakeholders, including representatives of taxi drivers, owner and passengers, to create a set of goals for the next New York City taxi cab, a project called the Taxi of Tomorrow.
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 16, 2010 - 40 comments

Happy 115th, Mr Fuller!

When he was 32, his life seemed hopeless. He was bankrupt and without a job. He was grief stricken over the death of his first child and he had a wife and a newborn to support. Drinking heavily, he contemplated suicide. Instead, he decided decided that his life was not his to throw away: it belonged to the universe. Buckminster Fuller embarked on "an experiment to discover what the little, penniless, unknown individual might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity." If the architect, author, designer, inventor, and futurist Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller were still alive, he would be 115 years old today. Though he died in 1983, his legacy grows on through recordings of his ideas and the Buckminster Fuller Institute. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 12, 2010 - 32 comments

Toyota Safety Issues

Toyota executives are currently testifying before Congress about the safety issues that have led to the recall of millions of vehicles. They insist that "We are confident that no problems exist with the electronic throttle control system in our vehicles." Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) says "I would not consider... of value" their report in support of this claim.
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 23, 2010 - 142 comments

Dean's Garage

"Modes and Motors was a publication produced by General Motors Styling Section in 1938. It is reproduced here in its entirety because its message of what automobile and product design is supposed to represent is lost on today’s world. Modes and Motors is a snapshot into the way designers used to think about their profession."
So then Dean's Garage would be the fat album of classic automobile styling and design from which it came, documenting a long, beautifully chromed age of optimism.
posted by carsonb on Feb 21, 2010 - 7 comments

gravity

Saturn is no more. "Other industries could learn from the Saturn Corporation. Certainly GM is taking what they have learned from their Saturn investment and incorporating it into their existing plants and facilities where practical. It will not be an overnight experience. Like Saturn, it will take time, investment and a strong commitment to regain the role of world leader in the automobile industry."
posted by plexi on Sep 30, 2009 - 89 comments

FoMoCo's Early Years

On October 1, 1908, the first Ford Model T rolled out of the factory on Piquette Avenue in Detroit. Many people today wonder why Henry Ford started his nomenclature with the letter "T." Short answer: He didn't. [more inside]
posted by Turkey Glue on Jul 19, 2009 - 19 comments

My New Nano Won't Charge On My MacBook Pro.

Today marks the launch of the Tata Nano. Some see this car as the next Ipod. Some have grave environmental concerns. (previously)
posted by Xurando on Mar 23, 2009 - 63 comments

For all your infrastructure news needs

Infrastructurist. Although the blog is only a few days old, they've already debunked some of the myths of 24, interviewed Michael Dukakis, and grappled with Amtrak economics.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Feb 5, 2009 - 27 comments

UFO or Solar Car?

Marcelo da Luz has been attracting a lot of attention with his snazzy solar car. He's hoping to set a new world record by driving the car from Buffalo, NY, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories.
posted by mrgrimm on Sep 10, 2008 - 19 comments

Model T Body Modification

Ford Model T owners "transformed the cars into tractors, pickup trucks, paddy wagons, mobile lumber mills and power plants for milling grain." [more inside]
posted by Knappster on Jul 31, 2008 - 8 comments

The Great Automobile Race of 1908

On 30th July 1908, after 169 days of competition, the 4-cylinder, 60-horsepower Thomas Flyer, driven by George Schuster from America, crossed the finish line to win the Great 1908 New York-to-Paris Automobile Race. After driving to the West Coast, the vehicles were shipped to Vladivostok from where only three teams managed to continue with the race across Asia and Europe. [more inside]
posted by peacay on Jul 30, 2008 - 5 comments

chomp

A new sort of pop art has sprung up in New Orleans - cars emblazoned with brand names, usually snack foods.
posted by plexi on Jul 11, 2008 - 117 comments

R.I.P. Arizona Parking Solutions

R.I.P., Arizona Parking Solutions. Guy parks car without displaying his pass. APS boots car. Guy dollies car into his garage and invites APS to reclaim their boots. Or not; their choice: either way, they can't tow, he won't pay the fine, and he really doesn't need to be driving the car. This catch-22 upsets the owner. And eventually APS goes off the deep end, booting nearly everyone's car in the community. The media becomes involved. And we become witness to a business owner suiciding his own business.
posted by five fresh fish on Jun 18, 2008 - 129 comments

Does the Nucleon come in Cherenkov blue?

Car of the Future, NOVA's latest episode, is fully online and includes a slew of extras including CC-licensed content, a brief historical overview of "innovative" automobiles, Amory Lovins flogging his Hypercar concept, the Car Talk guys making nuisances of themselves, and much more. (It's no Design for Dreaming, but really, what could be?)
posted by cog_nate on Apr 24, 2008 - 21 comments

Speed, Style and Beauty: The Ralph Lauren Car Collection

Speed, Style and Beauty: The Ralph Lauren Car Collection photo gallery. More photos here (although some are duplicates). Details of the automobiles at Motor Trend. The cars were the subject of a Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibition in 2005, and an excellent Discovery Channel documentary last October. If you missed the broadcast, you can buy the book. (There's no DVD that I can find, but watch for a repeat broadcast. Or maybe you can catch it some other way.)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner on Mar 29, 2008 - 13 comments

Lee press-on car

The Tata Nano (pic) is a car that costs less new than the amount I've spent on gas during single car trips, recently announced to the auto market in India. The Chery QQ ^, successful , widely exported, and recognized as the Hostage Taker's Vehicle of Choice by China Car Times, is the runner-up for the world's cheapest car but is still approximately twice as expensive. Yes indeed, the price of gas is not going to come back down. So much for my coast-to-coast road trips. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Feb 3, 2008 - 42 comments

Action painting

How to Paint a Picture With a Car (Bandwidth-saving Youtube version) [more inside]
posted by ardgedee on Jan 3, 2008 - 38 comments

Adding up US subsidies for auto travel with and without the costs of war

In the U.S., motorists do not pay their way. The US government spends more on highways and other auto-related expenses than it receives from auto-related taxes, unlike almost every country in Europe. In a recent report [pdf], Mark Delucchi calculates automobile-related costs and revenues in three different ways and concludes the subsidy is around 20-70 cents per gallon or $24-105 billion in 2002. But what are automobile-related costs, you ask? [more inside]
posted by salvia on Oct 2, 2007 - 99 comments

Because buying new is for suckers.

BeaterReview was formed to help the depreciation-averse enthusiast and automotive bottom-feeder alike find gold in them thar' mountains of rust.
posted by punkfloyd on Sep 11, 2007 - 49 comments

Yasujiro Ozu on trains & automobiles

Yasujiro Ozu on trains & automobiles
posted by hama7 on Aug 31, 2007 - 7 comments

$50 Paint Job

$50 Paint Job I figured since the Corvair is not in line to be professionally painted, I'd give it a try.
posted by Ufez Jones on Jun 12, 2007 - 70 comments

Now those are some bodacious Tatas.

For years, MDI has been developing a car that runs on compressed air. Last month, they signed an agreement with Tata Motors to produce the MiniCat - a zero-emissions vehicle that will travel up to 180 miles on $3 worth of fuel. See it in action here. (youtube)
posted by Afroblanco on Mar 19, 2007 - 45 comments

Going with the flow...

Luigi Colani, Biomorphic Designer — This prolific master of plastic has been creating organically streamlined planes, trains, automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, ships, cities, homes, computers, cameras, televisions, furniture, pianos, ceramics, shoes, eyewearPDF, pens, airbrushes, and other wonderful stuff (including the kitchen sink) for some 60 years. Wherever you need to go, you can reach your final destination in Colani style. More designs here, here, here, and here. [Brits and touristas take note: London's Design Museum will host a Colani exhibition, Translating Nature, from March 3 to June 17, 2007. Bibliophiles can check out the book Colani: The Art of Shaping the Future.]
posted by cenoxo on Feb 18, 2007 - 14 comments

Cars Under Covers

Broken Embargoes. Given the long amount of preparation required to print an automotive "buff book" (US examples include Car&Driver, Road&Track, Automobile, and MotorTrend), automobile manufacturers customarily provide them with access to concepts and new production vehicles months prior to the "official" public unveiling, requiring them to abide by an embargo on the images and data until a certain date has passed, usually to accomodate a carshow or other media event. In these cases, it was to coincide with the North American International Autoshow (NAIAS, aka Detroit Autoshow, 1/13-1/21), with the embargo lifted with either 1/7/2007 online publication or February print issues, which the buff books dropped the last week of a December. As soons as that happened, web outlets like blogs and various forums released their embargoed materials for each model. As a result, many manufacturers have had their marketing plans torn assunder (list and more background inside)...
posted by rzklkng on Jan 4, 2007 - 12 comments

Next up: BME for BMWs?

If you've run out of places to pierce yourself, you can now pierce your car.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Oct 1, 2006 - 25 comments

Microcar Photos

Microcars are cool. (Earlier microcar post )
posted by mr_crash_davis on Sep 7, 2006 - 39 comments

These kids and their crazy cars

Donk, box, or bubble?
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 18, 2006 - 13 comments

Speed kills saves

Safe at Any Speed With higher speed limits, our highways have been getting safer.
posted by caddis on Jul 21, 2006 - 79 comments

China follows a familiar road

The Great Chinese Road Trip !
Beijing to Three Gorges Dam to Shennongjia to Nanyang etc.
posted by Tlogmer on Jul 2, 2006 - 8 comments

Early Adventures with the Automobile

"We can run our car over any road that a man can take a team of horses and a wagon, providing we can get traction."
In 1903, to settle a $50 bet, Horatio Nelson Jackson became the first person to drive (and push) a car (a used Winton touring car, which had no roof or windshield) across the United States, accompanied by mechanic Sewall Crocker and Bud the bulldog. There were no gas stations, and there was less than 150 miles of paved road in the country. They blew a tire 15 miles into the trip and replaced it with their only spare.

Jackson's trip inspired others. In 1909, Alice Ramsey, accompanied by three female passengers, became the first woman to drive (and pull, and push) a car across the country. In 1915, Anita King, "The Paramount Girl," became the first woman to drive across the country solo. "Her only companions will be a rifle and a six shooter." And in 2003, Peter Kesling repeated Jackson's trip, in a 1903 Winton.
posted by kirkaracha on Sep 27, 2005 - 18 comments

Industrial Design

Patent Room is a collection of early 20th Century industrial design culled from the archives of the U.S. Patent Office, featuring architecture, automobiles, toys, and trains.
posted by crunchland on Aug 3, 2005 - 11 comments

Roll your own parking space

Portable parking spaces are the mind-bending Atomic-age outcome of centuries of humankind's best technology: they enable a bike to occupy the same perimeter as a car. They're arts and crafts, they're couture, they're vehicles of dissent [Flash, contains photos, project info, instructions on building your own PPS]. See the movie [11MB QuickTime]. A different take on the concept.
posted by Mo Nickels on Aug 1, 2005 - 52 comments

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