Before GM Stood for Government Motors

One picture is worth a thousand words, so here are twenty-one thousand words. These are photos of billboards posted by General Motors in the Detroit area at a time in history when America was exceptional, proud, and still the best country in the world. It was at a time when blacks, hispanics, muslims, and gays thought so too. None of them needed demonstrations, hash tags, and civil disobedience to show they belonged. People had purpose in life because they worked. The war on poverty was not yet established, food stamps were not invented, and if you claimed unemployment insurance it was because you were unemployable for some drastic reason. Medicare was still a figment of some democrats imagination, and health care is what you did everyday to eat right, sleep right, and keep physically active right. There was no need for a war on drugs either.

This was a time when owning a car was still special. Your car was an expression of your self, and gave you another degree of freedom.

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Car Stuff

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My buddy Bob with whom I stood on street corners sixty years ago watching all the girls go by sent me this fascinating list of automobile trivia. Thank you Bob.

Trivia about cars.
 
Q:  What was the first official White House car?
A: A 1909 White Steamer, ordered by President Taft.
 
Q: Who opened the first drive-in gas station?
A: Gulf opened up the first station in Pittsburgh in 1913.
 
Q:  What city was the first to use parking meters?
A: Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935.
 
Q: Where was the first  drive-in restaurant?
A: Royce Hailey’s Pig Stand opened in Dallas in 1921.
 
Q: True  or False? The 1953 Corvette came in white, red and  black.
A: False.  The 1953 ‘Vettes were available in one color, Polo White.
 
Q: What was Ford’s answer to the Chevy Corvette, and other legal street racers of the 1960’s?
A: Carroll Shelby’s Mustang GT350.
 
Q: What was the first car fitted with an alternator rather than a direct current generator?
A: The 1960 Plymouth Valiant
 
Q: What was the first car fitted with a replaceable cartridge oil filter?
A: The 1924 Chrysler.
 
Q: What was the first car to be offered with a “perpetual guarantee”?
A: The 1904 Acme, from Reading, PA. Perpetuity was disturbing in this case, as Acme closed down in 1911.
 
Q: What  American luxury automaker began by making cages for birds and squirrels?
A: The George N. Pierce Co. of Buffalo, who made the Pierce Arrow, also made iceboxes.
 
Q: What car first referred to itself as a convertible?
A: The 1904 Thomas Flyer, which had a removable hard top.
 
Q: What car was the first to have its radio antenna embedded in the windshield?
A: The 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix.
 
Q: What car used the first successful series-production hydraulic valve lifters?
A: The 1930 Cadillac 452, the first production V16
 
Q: Where was the World’s first three-color traffic lights installed?
A: Detroit, Michigan in 1919.  Two years later they experimented with synchronized lights.
 
Q: What type of car had the distinction of being GM’s 100 millionth car built in the U.S.?
A: March 16, 1966 saw an Olds Tornado roll out of Lansing, Michigan with that  honor.
 
Q: Where was the first  drive-in movie theater opened, and when?
A: Camden, NJ in 1933
 
Q: What autos were the first to use a standardized production key-start system?
A: The 1949 Chryslers
 
Q: What did the Olds designation 4-4-2 stand for?
A: 4 barrel carburetor, 4 speed  transmission, and dual exhaust.
 
Q: What car was the first to place the horn button in the center of the steering wheel?
A: The 1915 Scripps-Booth Model C. The car also was the first with electric door latches.
 
Q: What U.S. production car has the quickest 0-60 mph time?
A: The 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409. Did it in 4.0 seconds.
 
Q: What’s the only car to appear simultaneously on the  covers of Time and Newsweek?
A: The Mustang
 
Q: What was the lowest priced mass produced American car?
A: The 1925 Ford Model T Runabout. Cost $260, $5 less than 1924.
 
Q: What is the fastest internal-combustion American production car?
A: The 1998 Dodge Viper GETS-R, tested by Motor Trend magazine at 192.6 mph.
 
Q: What automaker’s first logo incorporated the Star of David?
A: The Dodge Brothers.
 
Q: Who wrote to Henry  Ford, “I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. It has got every other car skinned, and even if my business hasn’t been strictly legal it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V-8”?
A: Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and  Clyde) in 1934.
 
Q: What car was the first production V12, as well as the first production car with aluminum pistons?
A: The 1915 Packard Twin-Six. Used during WWI in Italy, these motors inspired Enzi Ferrari to adopt the V12 himself in 1948.
 
Q: What was the first car  to use power operated seats?
A: They were first used on the 1947 Packard line.
 
Q: Which of  the Chrysler “letter cars” sold the fewest amount?
A: Only 400, 1963, 300J’s were  sold (they skipped “I” because it looked like a  number 1)
 
Q: What car company was originally known as Swallow Sidecars (aka SS)?
A: Jaguar, which was an SS model first in 1935, and ultimately the whole company by 1945.
 
Q: What car delivered the first production V12 engine?
A: The cylinder wars were  kicked off in 1915 after Packard’s chief engineer, Col. Jesse Vincent, introduced its Twin-Six.
 
Q: When were seat belts first fitted to a motor vehicle?
A: In 1902, in a Baker Electric streamliner racer which crashed at 100 mph. on Staten Island!
 
Q: In January 1930, Cadillac debuted its V16 in a car named for a theatrical version of a 1920’s film seen by Harley Earl while designing the body. What’s that name?
A: The “Madam X”, a custom  coach designed by Earl and built by Fleetwood. The sedan featured a retractable landau top above the rear seat.
 
Q: Which car company  started out German, yet became French after  WWI?
A: Bugati, founded in Molsheim in 1909, became French when Alsace returned to French rule.
 
Q: In what model year did Cadillac introduce the first electric sunroof?
A: 1969
 
Q: What U.S. production car had the largest 4 cylinder engine?
A: The 1907 Thomas sported a 571 cu. in. (9.2liter) engine.
 
Q:  What car was reportedly designed on the back of a Northwest Airlines airsickness bag and released on April Fool’s Day, 1970?
A: 1970 Gremlin,  (AMC)
 
Q: What is the Spirit of Ecstasy?
A: The official name of the mascot of Rolls Royce, she is the lady on top of their radiators.
 
Q: What was the inspiration for MG’s famed octagon-shaped badge?
A: The shape of founder Cecil Kimber’s dining table. MG stands for Morris Garages.
 
Q: In what year did the “double-R” Rolls Royce badge change from red to black?
A: 1933
 
Trivia: Ford, who made the first pick-up trucks, shipped them to dealers in crates that the new owners had to assemble using the crates as the beds of the trucks.  The new owners had to go to the dealers to get them, thus they had to “pick-up” the trucks.  And now you know the “rest of the story”!

 

You Set Up the Lemonade Stand to Buy All the Lemonade

UAW members at protest

UAW members at protest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a “thing” for unions. In Particular the UAW. While working a summer job for International Harvester  as a college freshmen, I met the UAW. I went to look at my design for a machine frame on a welding table in the R&D shop. I examined the way the welder had placed all the pieces of steel on the welding table over a layout of the design. I saw a part out-of-place by what I thought a large amount. I tapped the piece back into the correct place. The act took but a few seconds to complete. Within a few minutes my boss Mervyn came out and asked me to walk with him. I did. As we left the shop floor, I noticed that all the shop-workers were conspicuously sitting down doing nothing. Inside the office, Mervyn lectured me on life in a UAW factory. It seems my adjustment stole life-giving sustenance from the mouth of UAW families. They showed who was boss by sitting down on the job. They didn’t go back to work until Merv’s boss came out to apologize to the UAW shop Steward about my mis-behavior.

After my experience I began to take notice of UAW articles in the newspapers. They struck a lot. Walter Reuther was head of the UAW at that time. GM announced a multi-billion dollar profit and Reuther boldly proclaimed that the UAW would get their piece of the pie. GM workers went on strike and were out for several weeks. I cannot believe those guys ever made back what they lost in wages during that time. GM lost business to Ford and Chrysler and ultimately caved.

What I noticed following strike articles is the attitude of the striking workers; “we would rather see this company go out of business than to make a single concession in a contract.”

Watch what will happen in Chicago this month. The teacher’s union will strike to get their demands for a raise. Poor teachers, twenty-three million private sector workers are scraping to find a meal, and they are looking for more money. None of what they are asking for is for the betterment of your kids, it is for themselves. They have the same attitude as the UAW on bringing the school district to its knees. Mayor Rahm-bo Emmanuel will cave not because he wants to see all his under-performing schools do better and the kids in his city learn to read and write, but rather will be looking to protect his former boss during the election. That means we pay the bill folks, by paying higher taxes.

In the meantime, enjoy the article below about the Hopey-Changey-Feely success of the UAW and Govmnt Motors.

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Reblogged from several sites

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By Angel, on July 12th, 2012

Remember how Obama keeps telling us how he saved GM, and how our economy is getting better, it seems the car company he bought is being saved by Govt employees using our tax money to buy new cars. 79% of GM’s sales last month was government purchased.

GM’s sales figures for last month were the best since 2008 , up 16% for the month of June. YIPPEE! Well, wait just a minute. It seems that those rosey sales figures are due primarily to a 79% increase in fleet sales to the U.S.government in June. That’s right. Our tax dollars are being used to pump up GM’s sales figures ahead of next month’s quarterly report so that Dear Leader can point to Government Motors as a huge success. The incestuous relationship between GM, the UAW and the Regime has never been more glaringly apparent. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. GM is unsustainable without government subsidies and will ultimately go bust again, taking billions of taxpayer dollars down with it.

We bailed out General Motors to the tune of $50 billion. $30 billion of this is effectively a loss, mostly sunk into fattening the United Auto Workers union—fierce Obama supporters—while the actual bondholders were shown the elevator shaft.

Meanwhile, as NewsBusters reports, “We the Taxpayers are still stuck holding 500+ million shares of GM stock.  Which we need to sell at $53 per.  Which debuted post-bankruptcy at $33 per.  And which is currently trading at just over $20 per.  Meaning we’ll lose about $15 billion.”

But it gets better. Despite the overwhelming negatives, the tiny bright spot of positive June sales numbers is being heralded by Obama and the leftist press as proof the auto bailout was a “success.”

Obama is now campaigning on the “success” of – the government buying cars from…the government’s car company.  With our money.

Americanvision says That’s like you setting up a lemonade stand for your kids.  You buy them the lemons, sugar, cups and pitchers – and then buy most of the lemonade yourself.

The pressure is on Government Motors to appear financially strong as this may be the last earnings report before November elections and sets the stage for how “successful” GM is. One of GM’s past tricks to help fudge earnings numbers has been to stuff truck inventory channels. Old habits die hard at GM. According to a Bloomberg report, “GM said inventory of its full-size pickups, which will be refreshed next year, climbed to 238,194 at the end of June, a 135 days supply, up from 116 days at the end of May.” 135 days supply is huge, the accepted norm is a 60 day supply. The trick here is that GM records revenue when vehicles go into dealership inventories, not when actually sold to consumers.

Why Drive a Volt When You Can Soup Up Your Own Car

2011 Chevrolet Volt exhibited at the 2010 Wash...

2011 Chevrolet Volt exhibited at the 2010 Washington Auto Show. The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This do it yourself video is for my Green Friends who love to drive the Volt and other Green Cars.

Porcelain Carburetor

Car Auction Surprise

GRAHAM

A car enthusiast friend of mine sent a link to a car auction that took place last weekend November 3,4,5, 2011. It is the Lee Hartung collection in Glenview, IL. I learned that Lee Hartung collected anything that interested him. Most of it dealt with transportation, i.e. cars, trucks, airplanes, motors, toy cars, bicycles, motor cycles, out board motors.

He lived on a four-acre plot surrounded by upscale subdivisions and accumulated an amazing amount of junk since he started collecting in 1949. There were no upscale subdivisions in Glenview in 1949, so he got there first and did what he pleased with his piece of heaven. I spent an hour watching the videos on u-tube showing the various stuff. Today I thought, why not see if there is anything on the auction results. For fun, Google Results Lee Hartung Auction and look at some of the stuff and the prices it brought.

I had to learn about Lee Hartung. Who was he? What did he do for a living.  There is not much about the man, but I did find one news article that said he dealt in scrap metals and hauling. I guess there is money in junk. His collection is testimony to that.

All of this stimulated my memory to recall a work associate Carl Swanson telling me in 1964 that when he was young there was a car company for every letter of the alphabet. Carl was already sixty-eight when I met him so his youth went back to the nineteen ten through twenty period. I started a spread sheet and began listing American car companies by the letter of the alphabet. I thought I did pretty good listing thirty-eight cars and covering nineteen letters. Then I got the idea to Google American cars A to Z. I got a pretty extensive list, but the one I chose to study was the Wikipedia list of defunct United States automobile manufacturers. WOW! The list put me in shock.

Not only are there manufacturers for every letter of the alphabet there are hundreds of them. I counted seventeen hundred and ninety-four manufacturers. All out of business by bankruptcy or by assimilation into another company.

The early nineteen hundreds was a prolific time for car makers. Everyone had a better idea for how to make a car, but only a few have survived. When you think about it, there are only three manufacturers left in the United States, Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Between them they produce Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Dodge, and Chrysler. Eight out of seventeen hundred and ninety-four is a worse average than I had with my list.

Collectors have a long way to go to find a single item from each company. I think it would be just as hard to find a photo of all the defunct cars listed by Wikipedia.

What happened? Competition. The weak fell or were bought out. Currently the American car companies continue to struggle in the competitive battle against foreign companies to decide who will eventually win.

What is your guess? Will the United States automobile industry fade into oblivion, or will it survive for many more years?

Here is my list:

111107-American Car Companies A

The Thief Got Away With the Crime

Photo from myoldpostcards' photostream


During one of my jobs in high school I served as a soda jerk at the Woodlawn Café.  The owner, Joe Fejes let me work evenings.  My job was to make shakes, malts, sundaes, ice cream sodas, pour coffee, and serve pie. Near closing time, I cleaned the fountain and took out the trash.

On this particular night I drove Dad’s green Buick to work. This Buick was the newest car he ever owned even though it was ten years old when he bought it. The nineteen thirty-nine Buick became his favorite.

Woodlawn Cafe sat on the corner of Ninety-fifth Street and Woodlawn Avenue, less than a mile from home. On this dark, cool October night I got permission to drive to work. I wasn’t old enough for a license, but I was driving around the neighborhood on special occasions.  I parked the Buick on Woodlawn next to the restaurant, right in front of the back door.

The Buick had a defect which we tolerated.  The ignition did not work with the key.  All we had to do was turn the knob on the key port, and the starter jumped to life. We continued to stick the key into the switch as a security measure and as a place to keep it while driving.

That evening, business was normal.  It was never super busy at night, but a steady stream of customers came in for coffee and pie, or an ice cream soda.  I also filled some orders for banana splits and sundaes.

At eight p.m. it was time to take the garbage out to the alley.  I opened the door fully expecting to see the Buick standing there, but  it was gone!  My heart jumped into my throat.  Where was it?  I ran to the alley and to the parking lot around the other side of the building, but there was no car.

I rushed into the building and told Mrs. Fejes what happened.  She told me to call the police to report it stolen.  I ran home to make the call.  How would I tell Mom and Dad that someone stole the car?

I fumbled through the phone book to find the number for the Burnside Police Department and dialed. It seemed like forever before I got an answer.  The officer asked me a lot of questions about the car to get a description.  One thing they asked which I couldn’t answer was the license plate number.  I had to get Dad to find the number in his papers.  The police said they would keep their eyes open for it, but until I called them back with the number they couldn’t do much.

At nine o’clock, Mrs. Fejes called us from the restaurant. She saw a car like ours parked by the back door of the restaurant.  I ran all the way back there to check, and sure enough the Buick stood  right where I had originally left it.  I drove it home and parked it in the garage. Early the next morning, before I left for school, two detectives came to the front door. They were following up on the stolen car report.  I told them the story, and showed them the car in the garage before they closed out their report.

I never did find out who took it or why. The only story that makes sense to me is that someone who knew the about the quirky ignition switch took the car for a joy ride and quietly brought it back. They may have enjoyed the ride, but I sure as hell didn’t have any joy that night.

Turn Off the Bubble Machine

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