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 →
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 →
The first year of the latter half of the 1960s was a halcyon time. Most financial markets were still hitting new highs and automotive sales were setting records. Nevertheless, signs were appearing hinting that the good times might be on the wane. Continue reading →
Fifty years ago: the first international European Car of the Year award
First presented in 1964, the European Car of the Year (COTY) prize was the premier attempt at an international automotive award for the best new car launched during the previous year. Nominees could be designed and manufactured anywhere in the world as long as they enjoyed at least limited distribution in Europe. The award is still in existence, the Peugeot 308 being the 2014 recipient.
Globalization in automotive markets was quite limited in the 1960s. Many European models were unavailable in America and little more than a handful of American cars were exported to Europe. Only a few select models of Japanese cars were exported and the models selected for sale in Europe were usually not the same models sold in the U.S. For these reasons, the COTY was the closest thing to a universal international automotive accolade. Continue reading →
Salon International de l’Auto, Geneva Switzerland, March 1963
1963 saw the Jet Age in full swing as the first Learjet took to the skies and a number of automobiles were launched that would become icons of the 1960s; one of which is still with us today. Continue reading →
World’s first Wankel-powered production car: the NSU Spider, 1964
Automobiles can trace their reciprocating-piston engines back to the early days of steam power. As internal combustion replaced steam as the preferred method of powering transport, the concept of using reciprocating pistons to convert energy into motion was carried over.
As the automobile matured, the efficiency and operating smoothness of the reciprocating piston engine gradually improved through the use of a multiplicity of smaller cylinders, shorter piston strokes, counterbalanced crankshafts and other refinements. By the dawn of the 1960s however; the automobile was seemingly falling behind aviation, which had switched to smooth continuous-combustion jet engines. A number of auto manufacturers experimented with gas turbine engines, but none entered mass production.
Pau Grand Prix, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France, 1962
Auto Universum continues its decade-long 50th Anniversary of the Sixties series with a look back at 1962.
If you missed seeing Maurice Trintignant claim the chequered flag at the Grand Prix de Pau on Easter Sunday fifty years ago, you still had the chance to witness plenty of exciting automobile introductions, architectural presentations, product unveilings and cultural events that took place throughout the year.
Lord Brett Sinclair’s Bahama Yellow Aston Martin DBS in The Persuaders!, 1971
Ancient wisdom once held that in the vintage car market, red, white and black were the best colours for resale. However, as Bob Dylan once declared; The times they are a-changin’.
Early Porsche 911 collectors for example often seek out and pay a premium for the colours that made those cars unique to their time period: Signal Orange, Viper Green, Aubergine, Tangerine; even the more esoteric shades of Olive and Golden Green. Continue reading →
The legendary and storied Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3 was a seminal automotive creation of the 1960’s; a comfortable, quiet, soft-riding, full-featured and meticulously crafted sedan that went like a Ferrari. Nothing quite like it had ever come along before.
The W108/109 S-Klasse Mercedes that served as the basis for the 6.3 was actually the first iteration of the S-Klasse as we know it today. Prior to its debut, The S models of the Ponton and Fintail era were simply mid-range models with longer front-ends, larger engines and superior trim.
Messerschmitt Me 109 fighter powered by a Mercedes-Benz V12 fed with Bosch fuel injection
World War II, and the events preceding, did much to seed the development of automotive fuel injection. The concept of injecting precise amounts of fuel into the engine, as opposed to relying on vacuum to draw in approximately the right amount always held promise. The potential of overcoming the carburettor drawbacks of sensitivity to g-forces and altitude changes increased the allure. The war sped things along.
By 1940, Italy was suffering from widespread fuel shortages due largely to the vast amounts of gasoline Mussolini sent to Spain in support of Generalísimo Francisco Franco’s Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. Shortages intensified when export of petroleum products to Italy was banned by the League of Nations.