The People’s Car. Then and now.

James Kraus

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Wolfsburg Crest, 1962 Volkswagen

On Sunday, the Auto Universum Board of Governors attended the Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance in Beverly Hills. This exclusive event cost US$ 120 for admission and boasted a spendid field including a Ferrari 250 SWB, a pair of 300 SLs, a Porsche 356 America Roadster, Alfa 6C 2500, Bugatti Type 57, 1930 V16 Cadillac and many other pedigreed swells.   Continue reading

Six Strings and Four Wheels

James Kraus

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The Rivieras surround a Claret Red 1964 Buick Riviera

A new sound hit the airwaves in early 1960s America: Hot Rod music. An offshoot of the Surf sound, the new genre was indeed often similar to surf music, but the lyrics involved automotive themes, often centered around drag race culture. The first big hot rod hit was 409 by The Beach Boys, a paean to Chevrolet’s recently-introduced 409 cubic inch (6.7 litre) Turbo-Fire V8.   Continue reading

1960s: The Ascent Of Black

James Kraus

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1965 Chevrolet Impala with black Super Sport rear deco trim

The latter half of the 1950s was a jubilant, optimistic era when life was comfortable and the future looked bright. In Britain, post-war food rationing was gone, France was enjoying the height of Les Trente Glorieuses and Germany was celebrating its Wirtschaftswunder. In the U.S., Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Abstract Expressionism, Modernist architecture and Cool Jazz catapulted New York to the global epicentre of the intersecting worlds of art and commerce.   Continue reading

The 1960s: Halcyon Days For Hommes d’un Certain Âge

James Kraus

JK - 1 (46)

1965 Mercury Monterey with a trio of distinguished gentlemen and their consorts

According to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, 51% of consumer spending is now done by people over 50, yet this group is the target for a mere 10% of marketing activity; this according to Bob Hoffman of the always entertaining Ad Contrarian blog. Bob further points out that millennials, who buy barely 12% of new cars, are featured in about 99.9% of new car advertising, even though consumers over 50 are the ones that have all the money.   Continue reading

The Cars of James Bond: Mercedes-Benz 600

James Kraus

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Mercedes-Benz 600 carries Blofeld and Bundt on lethal mission

The Mercedes-Benz 600 represented the pinnacle in automotive luxury and engineering extravagance in its day and was accordingly featured in no less than three James Bond extravaganzas. Its first appearance came in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, driven by Bond’s nemesis, SPECTRE Number 1: Ernst Stavro Blofeld.   Continue reading