New Crop of “Luxury” SUVs Miss the Mark

James Kraus

JK - 1 (20)

Bentley Bentayga

The staff ensconced here atop Auto Universum Tower has no love for SUVs; they are clunky, ill-proportioned and have to be climbed into. Once ensconced, one’s melon is tossed left and right, forward and back like a bobblehead doll due to the vertiginous seating position. When parked, they block pedestrian sightlines, turning sidewalks into tunnels. Nevertheless, when we gaze down upon the busy streets far below, they seem quite common now, and have recently been cause for mirth here at the office.  Continue reading

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Was Someone at GM Design a Mannix enthusiast?

James Kraus

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Mannix opening title sequence

Oldsmobile’s Toronado debuted in autumn of 1966 as America’s first post-war front wheel drive automobile. Just a year later CBS Television introduced a new prime-time detective series; Mannix, featuring Mike Connors as Joe Mannix, an operative of the sophisticated Intertect Detective Agency in Los Angeles.  Continue reading

The Swinging Sixties: A Rainbow of Wheels and Technicolor Tyres

James Kraus

JK - 1 (22)

1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 with Marina Blue metallic body-colour wheels and F70-14 special nylon Red Stripe Firestone Super Sports Wide Oval tyres

The majority of today’s cars today come equipped with black tyres surrounding wheels (or wheel covers) of silver, grey or black. This was not always the case; brightly coloured wheels were a common automotive styling fillip beginning with the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen.   Continue reading

The Cars of James Bond: Ford Country Squire

James Kraus

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Oddjob drives 007 to Goldfinger’s Kentucky stud farm

In Goldfinger we see James Bond held captive and transported by Auric Goldfinger’s cohorts via a 1964 Ford Country Squire station wagon.

Prior to the introduction of the Country Squire in 1950, American estate models were sold as generic Station Wagons or Estate Wagons. The Country Squire was the first ever U.S. station wagon to merit its own name.   Continue reading

2016 Auto Universum Comète d’Or du Cinéma: Divorce American Style

James Kraus

JK - 1 (30)

The Comète d’Or du Cinéma in the rosewood-paneled lobby at the Auto Universum Global Headquarters Tower.

A veritable who’s who was out in force at Le Café de Paris in Monte Carlo last weekend to welcome the announcement of the recipient of the 2016 Auto Universum Comète d’Or du Cinéma.   Continue reading

1960s Fastback Fashion

James Kraus

JK - 1 (7)

1965 Plymouth Barracuda

Coincident with the rise of the Fab Four in the 1960s was the popularity of the fab fastback.

While a sleek sloping roofline was integral to the design of many overtly sporting machines including the Jaguar E-Type, Corvette Sting Ray, Porsches, countless Ferraris and others, there were few to be found on more spacious transport since the demise of the Bentley Continental S1 in 1959.   Continue reading

Return of the Boomerang

James Kraus

JK - 1 (6)

1958 Edsel Roundup

History has remembered the 1958 Edsel lineup chiefly for its novel styling. While most recall the vertical Alfa Romeo-esque front grill and maybe the eyebrow-shaped rear tail lamps, an all-but-forgotten Edsel styling flourish was the inward-facing boomerang tail lamp design found on the Bermuda, Villager and Roundup station wagons.   Continue reading