Category archives: Vehicle Profiles

Classic Profile: 1905 Locomobile Model E

A big umbrella serves as a sunshade for this 1905 Locomobile Model E | Courtesy of the author
A big umbrella serves as a sunshade for this 1905 Locomobile Model E | Courtesy of the author

In the early years of the 20th Century, few new cars included a top – or a windshield for that matter. Typically, a top would have been an extra cost and we can tell from the picture that this Locomobile was sold without a top. The give-away is the lack of “irons” – the metal brackets that attach the top to the car. Continue reading

Classic Profile: 1909 Pope-Hartford Model S

The apparently chauffeur-driven 1909 Pope-Harford | Courtesy of the author
The apparently chauffeur-driven 1909 Pope-Harford | Courtesy of the author

In the early days of motoring, automobiles were typically possessions of the wealthy. Professional drivers were often employed and many chauffeur organizations existed to advance the profession. This picture appears to show a chauffeur bringing up the family’s 1909 Pope-Hartford somewhere in New Jersey. Continue reading

Classic Profile: 1913 Mercer, a car to be admired

Early car collector Cameron Bradley (left) shows off his restored 1913 Mercer Raceabout | Courtesy of the author
Early car collector Cameron Bradley (left) shows off his restored 1913 Mercer Raceabout | Courtesy of the author

From the day the first Mercer raceabout was sold in 1910, these have been cars to be admired. The Mercer Automobile Company was founded by the Roebling and Kuser families in Mercer County, New Jersey – thus the company’s name. Both families were wealthy and prominent with extensive manufacturing experience, and they wanted to build a high-quality sporting car. Continue reading

Classic Profile: Mercedes 710 Type SS

The Mercedes 710 Type SS in Bayreuth, Germany,  in 1937 | courtesy of the author
The Mercedes 710 Type SS in Bayreuth, Germany, in 1937 | courtesy of the author

Sometimes a picture reveals more than what first appears. What drew me to this picture is the Mercedes 710 Type SS. Looking almost new, this car was still something special a decade after its manufacture and clearly seems well cared for. Continue reading

Classic Profile: 1916 Hudson Super-Six factory racer

The 1916 Hudson Super-Six factory special at Daytona | Courtesy of the author
The 1916 Hudson Super-Six factory special at Daytona | Courtesy of the author

Since its beginnings in 1909, Hudson had gone racing to prove the merits of its cars. In 1916 came the introduction of Hudson’s Super-Six and with it a significant increase in horsepower over the previous Model Six-40. The Super-Six had a number of innovations, chief among them the use of a counter-balanced crankshaft, which helped the engine achieve 76 horsepower. Continue reading

Classic Profile: The 1936 Vanderbilt Cup race revival

‘Smiling’ Ralph Mulford in the 1914 Stutz Bearcat for the 1936 “Old-Timers” exhibition | Courtesy of the author
‘Smiling’ Ralph Mulford in the 1914 Stutz Bearcat for the 1936 “Old-Timers” exhibition | Courtesy of the author

In 1936, George W. Vanderbilt III banded together with Boston Braves owner George Marshall, and Eddie Rickenbacker, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to revive a major event from the early days of motorsports, the Vanderbilt Cup. Continue reading

Classic Profile: The Mighty Cadillac V16

A 1931 Cadillac 452A V16 Fleetwood is shown off on the beach in the 1930s | Courtesy of the author
A 1931 Cadillac 452A V16 Fleetwood is shown off on the beach in this vintage photo | Courtesy of the author

In the enthusiasm of the late 1920’s, Cadillac developed its trend-setting 16-cylinder engine of 452 cubic inches – developing 175 horsepower.

While it is true that Packard introduced the landmark Twin-Six, its 12-cylinder engine, in the 1916 model year, it was the Cadillac V16 that set off the American “cylinder wars” at a time when car sales were plummeting due to the escalating economic depression. Continue reading

Classic Profile: Packard Model 30 Runabout

The original owner proudly displays his 1907 Packard Model 30 Runabout, chassis 3924  | Courtesy of the author
The original owner proudly displays his 1907 Packard Model 30 Runabout | Courtesy of the author

Packard is one of the most highly regarded brands from the classic era, with roots going back to the very beginning of the 20th Century. Although the automaker is revered today for bold luxury cars, it’s not often remembered for its early days when Packard built sporting cars. Continue reading

Classic Profile: The Kissel Speedster

Gene Husting with his 1920 Kissel 6-45 Speedster in a 1950s-era photo | Courtesy of Steve Evans
Gene Husting with his 1920 Kissel 6-45 Speedster in a 1950s-era photo | Courtesy of Steve Evans

The Kissel Motor Car Company may not be a well-recognized marque today, but it is owed a debt of gratitude from every red-blooded American car guy.

The reason is the company’s introduction in 1919 of its Speedster (later nicknamed the Gold Bug Speedster) which cemented in the American mindset the idea of the sports car. Continue reading

Vehicle Profile: Lamborghini Diablo VT

The 1st-gen Lamborghini “Diablo VT” was breathtaking to behold and is arguably one of the most beautiful, sexy and extremely-fast, exotic-supercars ever produced! This over-the-top, almost-as-fast-as-a-speeding-bullet, as aerodynamically perfect as anything earthbound could be, fire-breathing beast was designed by the infamous and proud Marcello Gandini, who had also designed the two predecessors in line to the “Diablo”, the Miura and the Countach.  The “Diablo” moniker was drawn from Spanish history and was the name of a famously ferocious, 19th century, fighting bull, which was owned and raised by the “Duke of Veragua”, who also happened to be the grandson and heir of Christopher Columbus! The edict was sent from the top brass at the time (around June of 1985) to design a vehicle that could reach a top speed of 315km/hr (approx. 196 mph, for us metrically challenged folk) and yet meet all the new (and ever increasing) emissions standards and safety regulations of the day. Rumor has it, that after the Chrysler Corporation had taken over ownership of Lamborghini in 1987, (which was right in the midst of designing the “Diablo”) they frowned at the angular design of the new model ( maybe to much like the Countach?) and had their designers in Detroit take a hand at smoothing-out the aggressive angles by massaging the bodywork into a more curvaceous look.

Zero to 60 mph took just over 4 seconds and handling was unbelievably well-controlled, even under the most lead-footed of handlers, due to the perfectly-balanced weight distribution of the rear-facing, mid-engine and “VT” all-wheel-drive system, which automatically/electronically (or manually, depending on how the driver had the controls set) switched traction to the front wheels in the instance the rear wheels broke loose. Even though the “Diablo” overall was larger, wider, stronger and thus heavier than the “Countach”, it was still the fastest production car in the world at the time of it’s debut in 1990. The body was uniquely designed as well, using steel, composite and aluminum panels and retained those tell-tale Lamborghini “scissor-style” doors which opened straight up and angled forward out of the way. The new Lamborghini “Diablo” was also outfitted with more creature comforts and refinements than ever before but remained an icon of all that is Italian in supercar motoring and still draws a crowd every time one is seen in public.