In the summer of 1888 Bertha Benz, accompanied by her two teenage sons, was the first person to drive an automobile any significant distance. As a publicity stunt she drove her husband's experimental, three wheeled, benzene fueled, internal combustion powered, Benz Patent Motor Car Model III to visit her parents. The all day road trip took them 106 kilometres from the workshop in Mannheim to her families home in Pforzheim. And then a few days later back again by a different route so as to expose the automobile to as many people as possible. Along the way she filled up at apothecaries; the first of which bills itself as the world's first filling station and is still doing business today as a pharmacy.
The Evolution of the Petrol/Gas/Filling/Service Station Gas stations might be boring or even ugly places, but for the most part, you can’t avoid stopping by one on a long trip. However, they have been so many more beyond the basic design of columns, roof and shop over their history. The following 60+1 filling stations encompass almost a century of architectural progression, showcasing some of the best Art Deco, Bauhaus, futurist, brutalist, minimalist, modernist, Googie building designs of the motorist history. Enjoy the ride!
33 COSMIC CAR NAMES / Car names -- past & present -- that reference or evoke the Universe.
A list by Neil deGrasse Tyson
A list by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Weird, or future, or both! There's the "car-like thing," the "three-seater with a swiveling cabin," the boat that's not a boat, the one with eight wheels, an "extreme super pickup truck" with scissor doors, a sidestep into the Toyato RV-2, and the one with the cute little head on the dash. [more inside]
You wonder how your car works, you say? Let the wisdom of the ancients guide you. Start with springs and shock absorbers (1938). [more inside]
You may not agree with this list of memorable cars of Hollywood, but it sure is fun scrolling through it.
Why Crossovers Conquered the American Highway
Last year, roughly speaking, two crossovers were purchased for every three cars. It's tough to compare apples to apples, but in April, IHS Automotive analyst Tom Libby noted that small crossovers were the single best selling segment of any type of vehicle, including midsize sedans, which are the staple crop of the automotive industry.
"If the trend we have witnessed in the first two months of 2014 continues for the remainder of 2014," Libby wrote, "it would mark the first time in recent memory—if not ever—that a car segment did not lead the industry."
"Less a race than a celebration of motorsports heritage," the Mille Miglia classic car rally takes place every May. Its thousand-mile course wends from Brescia through Verona and Padua to Rome and then back north to Brescia by way of Bologna. (PDF) First staged in 1927 with 77 entrants, the now-annual event draws driving enthusiasts from around the world. [more inside]
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]
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.
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]
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]
Cartoon Brew's animation historian Amid Amidi posted an almost-definitive collection of Automobile-themed cartoons from the 1950s and 1960s. [more inside]
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]
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.
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.
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]
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]
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.
Previously on Metafilter.
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.
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.
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."
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]
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.
Ford Model T owners "transformed the cars into tractors, pickup trucks, paddy wagons, mobile lumber mills and power plants for milling grain." [more inside]
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?)
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.)
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]
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]
$50 Paint Job I figured since the Corvair is not in line to be professionally painted, I'd give it a try.
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)
If you've run out of places to pierce yourself, you can now pierce your car.
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.
Spray-on Mud - So you own a big 4x4, and you feel a bit stupid that you only use it to take the children to school. You want people to think you're a bit country - that you need 6 tonnes of car to get you from A to B because you like to take it off-road every so often. You need Spray-on Mud apparently.
After an American car company recreates its legendary 1960's Ferrari-beating race car, the first $150,000 2005 production car sells at a charity event for $400,000 over sticker price, (to a Microsoft-enriched individual, of course) and many months later, dealers are still asking up to $200,000 over sticker, or at least $150,000 over sticker. The "experts" at Edmunds say the car is selling for about $100,000 over sticker (seeing their "True Market Value" requires a few clicks from this page), and the widespread belief is that these admittedly amazing cars are virtually impossible to find and all selling for at least $100,000 over sticker. But using publicly available data, including completed eBay auctions and public documents, this non-commercial site shows the truth to be very different than the hype.
In an effort to undermine California's vehicle global warming law, the auto industry has been running an ad claiming today's vehicles are virtually emission free. The Union of Concerned Scientists says "poppycock on that!" and is seeking a FTC false-advertising investigation. Fortunately, no matter who's bullshooting, you can help wipe away the problem.
These images caused a great debate among my antipodean circle in London whether they are real or have been photoshopped. As far as we can gather it does exist. But it is surreal - and only in the UK surely would something like this be real.
Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles. An homage to Cuba's astonishing wealth of antique cars, revealing the time-worn splendor of classic American automobiles spanning eight decades.
"The car has...a headrest with a valley down the center for women who wear their hair in ponytails." At Volvo, an all-female project team is designing a concept car for women -- which makes for some interesting features (like a car without a hood) as well as some curious tales from a (temporarily) female-dominated workplace. More inside...
Golden Spirit. Née "The Homer?" Finnish cheerleading squad not included. Hat tip to the NY Times automotive section.
Welcome to the International archive of pants cars. Why would anyone do this to a jag?
Do Cars force us to give up the outdoors? In jail, prisoners are stuck indoors and aren't allowed to go outside except for an hour at most. But are the car-driving residents of the average American suburb consigned to the same fate? "You go from the box garage in the house to the box car, driving down the street, not touching anything or being part of your environment" says Jessica Denevan. [More Inside]
A bad seafood salad would have crippled the global auto industry. "Doesn't that new Nissan Maxima look like a larger-scale Saturn Ion? Could the Kia Sorento be a Lexus RX 300 in disguise? Doesn't the face of the Nissan Z look like that of the Toyota Celica (and its taillamps like those of the Lexus SC 430)? Is that the new Bentley — or the new Hyundai?" The sudden similarities in automobile design.
10 Great Gay Cars For 2003. I'm into leather...interior.
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