auto manufacturers

Automakers to gearheads: Stop repairing cars

Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.

In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle.

Allowing them to continue to fix their cars has become “legally problematic,” according to a written statement from the Auto Alliance, the main lobbying arm of automakers.

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Happy Birthday Frederick Samuel Duesenberg! (December 6, 1876 – July 26, 1932)

German-born American automobile pioneer designer, manufacturer and sportsman.

1. Artist’s depiction of 1929 Duesenberg car. Handwritten on back: “Duesenberg, 1929, LeBaron body." 

2. Portrait of Fred S. Duesenberg . Embossed on front: "Courtright Studio, Des Moines, Ia.” Handwritten on back: “Fred S. Duesenberg." 

  • Courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection, Detroit Public Library

1938 Auto Union Type D | Grand Prix Racing Car | 3.0L V12 478hp | Top Speed 340 kph 211 mph

Auto Union Grand Prix Racing Car | 1933 - 1939 | The race cars were developed and built by the r Racing Department of Auto Union’s Horch Works in Zwickau, Germany | In 1932 Auto Union Gmbh was formed, comprising struggling auto manufacturers Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer

Dumb Business Words

Having been thrown somewhat unawares into the place of running several businesses, I keep coming across dumb-ass words that people use instead of normal words because it’s business and businesses should be fancy. 

As far as I can tell, these words exist just to confuse people who are not indoctrinated into business, which worked very well on me for a while. Here’s one…EBITDA.

Pronounced EE Bih Duh, it’s earnings before interest, tax, debt, and aaaaaaaaa something that starts with an A.

EBITDA is a fancy word for “profit” that exists because some companies (like auto manufacturers) have profits that are heavily affected by financing and debt (because they have huge capital expenditures that they finance). The business world created EBITDA so that there could be a number more directly comparable between businesses and industries and different countries (where taxes are different.)

But in a company like mine, EBITDA is just profit. Profit, by the way, is the money we make (revenue) minus the money we spend (expenses) before we pay taxes (you only pay taxes on profit, so that’s implied.) 

Also, when I asked several times on phone calls “What’s that word you keep saying?” and they said “EBITDA…y'know, earnings before interest taxes debt and aaaaaaa” it would have been really nice if you had said “EBITDA, it’s basically just profit” because it’s not like I don’t have enough to worry about without spending two hours researching why this word exists only to discover that there’s no good reason for me to use it anyway.

Volkswagen Bus to be revived as an electric vehicle - cancelled in 2013, the classic Volkswagen Camper may find a new lease on life as an eco-friendly EV. The iconic “hippie wagon” may soon see a very apropos resurrection from the dead. Speaking at the New York Auto Show, Volkswagen board member Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser announced that the German auto company was working on a brand new camper concept - one that would run on batteries, rather than petrol, powering an electric motor driving the front wheels. Dr Neusser said that the new car would maintain 3 iconic design principles of the original Type 2 microbus, first introduced in Germany in 1950. “First the wide, solid, D-Pillar, second the boxy design of the center section; and, third, the front end must have a very short overhang.” In 2011, the company took a stab at an electric concept it called the Bulli, clearly inspired by the Type 2, but closer to a small van, with 4 hinged doors and 1 bench seat in the front and another in the rear that could be folded flat to make a sort of bed. The Camper, in comparison, contains a small mobile home with optional kitchen equipment and detachable canvas tents and awnings; seats that could be folded out into beds; a folding table, and a small refrigeration unit. Production on all VW Type 2 units, incl. the Camper, ceased in 2013. Production had been outsourced to Brazil after safety regulations introduced in the 70s in Germany meant that it could no longer be made there. In 2012, Brazil introduced legislation that went into effect on Jan 1, 2014, dictating that all cars made in the country must have ABS and airbags on both driver and passenger sides. VW decided that, rather than make a completely new vehicle, it was more cost effective to simply say goodbye to the Type 2 after 63 years of production. However, Dr Neusser now said that if the cost of production on the new electric Camper was feasible, the car could make it to market. The VW team continues to work on the concept.

German car maker Audi unveiled a dark chapter in its history on Monday, saying its predecessor company had exploited slave labor under the Nazi regime on a massive scale.

A historical investigation commissioned by the company found that thousands of concentration camp inmates had been forced to work for Auto Union, an automobile manufacturer founded in 1932 and a forerunner company of today’s Audi AG .

Audi is the last major German car company, after Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, to come clean about its Nazi-era history, and the study marked a clear push to be more transparent about that past.
Forced labor

Nazi SS divisions built seven labor camps where more than 3,700 prisoners were put to work for Auto Union.

Some 16,500 more people were made to work at factories in the eastern German cities of Zwickau and Chemnitz, and another 18,000 labored at an underground plant in the southern state of Bavaria. Some 4,500 people died at the Bavarian plant.


Audi’s adorable new rover is gonna be your new favorite robot

Watch out BB-8, German auto manufacturer Audi just debuted Quattro, a mostly aluminum, four-wheeled, unmanned  rover emblazoned with the Audi logo, armed with multiple cameras and a big solar panel to keep it moving. It may have a big space voyage ahead of it.

Follow @the-future-now


Cars of 1958 Part II:

After WWII auto manufacturers were scrambling to fill the demand for new cars, since auto production had stopped early in 1942.  Early in the 1950’s a price war between Chevrolet and Ford started to squeeze out the independent car companies.  Nash & Hudson merged to form American Motors Corporation and Studebaker & Packard merged into one company.

The sellers market had dried up by the mid-fifties and an economic downturn in 1958, that became known as the Eisenhower Recession, hit the automotive market hard.  The recently expanding middle price car territory took the biggest hit, effecting Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Dodge, Chrysler, Mercury.  It was a fatal blow for DeSoto and  Ford’s new entry into the field the Edsel.

The period did produce some of the most extravagant and glitzy cars ever produced.  If you want to see more cars from 1958, click the link below:

Ford Motor Co. has signed an agreement with Sonora80M to purchase 3 megawatts of one of the largest PV farms being built in Mexico, Sonora80M’s 20 megawatt PV farm in Hermosillo in the Mexican state of Sonora, where the company produces hybrids and electric vehicles. 

Read more about this partnership on the SolarReviews blog

The forgotten history of how automakers invented the crime of "jaywalking"

100 years ago, if you were a pedestrian, crossing the street was simple: you walked across it.

Today, if there’s traffic in the area and you want to follow the law, you need to find a crosswalk. And if there’s a traffic light, you need to wait for it to change to green.


Fail to do so, and you’re committing a crime: jaywalking. In some cities — Los Angeles, for instance — police ticket tens of thousands of pedestrians annually for jaywalking, with fines of up to $250.

To most people, this seems part of the basic nature of roads. But it’s actually the result of an aggressive, forgotten 1920s campaign led by auto groups and manufacturers that redefined who owned the city street.

Full Story: Vox


Remington Model 11 riot shotgun

Designed and Patented by John Browning c.1898-1900 and manufactured by Remington Arms c.1905-1947 - serial number 465991. This one is a WW2 production.
12 gauge four-shell tubular magazine, long-recoil semi-automatic, hunting scenes engraving.

This gun is kind of an odd one since it presents the US & “shell and flame” grenade engravings as well as Crossed Cannons ordnance proof but does not fit the usual military finish.
An American variant of the Browning Auto 5 manufactured in Belgium since 1902, the Remington Model 11 only entered production in 1905 as the then owner of the company Marcellus Hartley got too excited knowing Browning was in his waiting room with a gun design, and died of a heart attack. Or at least that’s how I see it. This variant differs from the Belgian Auto 5 by lacking a magazine cut-off.

That’s an Auto 5 Police with an 8-round magazine. You’re welcome.



General Motors was the first U.S auto manufacturer to mass produce the pillar-less hardtop body style.  GM applied the moniker “Convertible Hardtop” to the 1949;  Buick Roadmaster Riviera, Cadillac Coupe de Ville, Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Holiday. The term “Convertible Hardtop” was derived from the concept that they would build a convertible and add a permanent hardtop that resembled a convertible with the top up.  The doors would dispense with the fixed metal framing around the door window glass.  This concept was first applied to two door cars and spread to four doors cars and some station wagons. The style became very popular and even struggling Independents had produced their own Hardtop models.  Almost all U.S. Auto Makers had a Hardtop  available by the mid-1950s.

The pillar-less hardtop was significant enough for most car brands to attach a corresponding name (in parenthesis in the image descriptions above) specifically for that body style or top tier model or trim level that was only available as a hardtop body.  Models that were aimed at the economy conscious often did not offer hardtop variants.  Conversely, upper market models would sometimes eliminate sedan versions from the line up.

Hardtop Brand Monikers:

Chevrolet –> Sport Coupe (2 door) Sport Sedan (4 door) confusing the issue since the term sedan was relegated mainly for traditional framed door glass cars. 

Pontiac —-> Catalina

Oldsmobile —-> Holiday

Buick   —-> Riviera

Cadillac  —-> de Ville & Seville

Ford  —-> Victoria

Mercury  —-> Phaeton

Lincoln —->  Landau 

Dodge  —-> Lancer

DeSoto  —-> Sportsman

Chrysler (& 1955 Imperial) —-> Newport

Imperial  —-> Southampton

Rambler  —-> Country Club

Hudson  —-> Hollywood

Studebaker  —-> Starliner

Willys  —-> Eagle

Notice that some of the names would be used again, becoming separate models of their own. (i.e. Catalina, Riviera, Lancer, Newport) or trim packages (i.e. Holiday, Landau)

Visual example of Sedan vs. Hardtop 

1956 Chevrolet 210 Two Door Sedan

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Four Door Sedan

1956 Chevrolet Hardtops; Bel Air Sport Coupe & 210 Sport Sedan