Jettisoning the By-Products of Combustion, Then and Now

1966 Ford Mustang GT.

It’s hard not to notice how exhaust tips have evolved into fetish items over the past decade-and-a-half. Overly stylized and comically oversized, they have become carbuncles defacing the stern of the majority of mid and upper-range vehicles currently on offer.

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Pearls of Colour: General Motor’s Opalescent 1960s Fire Finishes

1966 Cadillac Eldorado in Cobalt Firemist

Metallic automotive paint finishes, around since the 1920s, became extremely popular in the U.S. during the 1960s. The then-new thermoplastic acrylic lacquers made an ideal showcase for metallic finishes as their low application viscosity allowed time for a majority of the aluminum flakes to align themselves relatively parallel to the surface before the paint began drying. This provided increased reflectivity compared to earlier efforts. The result was metallic paints with nearly the same visual appeal as todays, lacking only the extra sheen and depth of a clear top coat.

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The Bygone Luxury of Jet Age First-Class Automotive Travel

James Kraus

Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman.

The president of France was recently issued a rather banal stretched DS 7 Crossback Elysée. Lacking the charm and dignity of the its immediate predecessors, the SM and DS Presidentielles; the Elysée further challenges the dignity of its occupants by sporting utilitarian roof rails, as if members of the Groupe de sécurité de la présidence de la République might occasionally climb aboard step stools in order to secure the president’s luggage and/or shopping bags atop the roof.

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America’s It Brand of the 1960s

1965 Pontiac 2+2 Sports Coupe.
Illustration by Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufmann.

James Kraus

The heyday of Pontiac neatly coincides with the 1960-1967 period most celebrated here at Auto Universum. Their glory days began with the formation of a young new team of executives who were granted control of the division in the late fifties.

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Timeless vs Of Its Time, Part II

James Kraus

First generation Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray.

In the first chapter of Timeless vs Of Its Time, we examined two American luxury cars, the 1961 Cadillac and Continental. Now we look at two sporting cars from the 1960s, The Corvette Sting Ray and the Porsche 911. The Sting Ray went on sale in the autumn of 1962, while the new Porsche made its public debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show just one year later. Continue reading

A 1960s Classic: The Pontiac 8-Lug Wheel

James Kraus

1961 Pontiac Catalina with the original 8-Lug wheel; introduced mid-1960.

American cars of the 1960s were certainly not renowned for their braking prowess. Except for a handful of exceptions, disc brakes were not widely available until 1967 and the drum brakes provided were generally small in size and nowhere near up to the weight and power of the cars to which they were fitted. Continue reading

The Colourful World of Mid-Century Motive Power

James Kraus

1964 Buick Riviera with optional 425 (7.0 litre) twin-carb Super Wildcat Nailhead V8 in aqua with black air cleaner accented in red. “465” was the torque output in ft/lbs.

Recently, Corvette fans have been excited by the appearance of red-painted valve covers on the new C8 Sting Ray; the first dash of colour in the Corvette engine compartment since the red plastic beauty covers of the 2013 C6 Z06. Unfortunately, GM chose a rather Ferrari-esque red rather than the traditional red-orange used on Chevrolet V8s since 1955 including such renowned versions as the fuel-injected 327, the 409, 396 and 427. Continue reading

Image from the Past

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Capturing a moment of 1966 America. Snapshot of Brian Wilson alongside his Sunfire Yellow ’66 Sting Ray with a ’66 Mustang and ’66 Lincoln Continental in the background. Just a few months after this photo was taken Brian’s Good Vibrations would be released and begin rising to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the Beach Boys’ third number one hit and their first million-selling single.

 

No, It Doesn’t Have Positraction

James Kraus

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1964 Pontiac GTO Sports Coupe in Sunfire Red metallic. Equipped with optional triple dual-throat carburettors, four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox and Safe-T-Track.

Few things warm the hearts of Car Nutz like good punchy buzzwords. Favourites of American car fans include Muscle Car, Big Block, and today’s topic; Positraction. Continue reading

The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado: General Motors’ FWD Debutant

James Kraus

1966 Toronado by Oldsmobile.

The 1960s were the final years of glory at General Motors. They had the lion’s share of the U.S. car sales, as well as a good portion of the European market via their Opel and Vauxhall brands. In the U.S, they built America’s only cars with four-wheel disc brakes, fuel injection, turbocharging and independent rear suspension. Before the decade was out, they would add another arrow to their quiver, the first American postwar car with front-wheel drive. Continue reading

American Muscle? Step Up To 1960s American Glamour.

James Kraus

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Don Draper in his Starlight Silver 1965 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.

One of the few value segments of the vintage car market is what Auto Universum calls American Glamour. A lack of enthusiasm for refinement and elegance has kept prices subdued, a welcome state of affairs waiting to be exploited by those who with a taste for the good life.  Continue reading

1960-1964 Super Stock Drag Racing in Vintage Colour

James Kraus

1963 Plymouth Belvedere. Image: George Klass Collection

As colour film ages, a phenomena known as curve crossover frequently occurs as fidelity of the three colour dyes age at different rates. This often results in an evocatively ethereal colour palette. Such is the case with these photos from the heyday of Stock Car drag racing in the U.S.

In the 1950s when 1/4-mile drag racing was gaining legitimacy, there was little interest in racing the family sedan. No official records were kept, nor was elapsed time recorded; the winner was the car with the highest trap speed.  Continue reading

The 1960s New Look

James Kraus

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The New Look: 1960 Chevrolet Impala

In the early decades of motordom, front grills stood tall and proud, reflecting the proportions of early radiators. Headlamps, originally housed in separate housings, began being integrated into the cars design in the late 1930s. Nevertheless, grills and headlamps remained separate elements with the exception of Peugeot, which placed the headlamps near the centre of the car, behind the grill.  Continue reading