Without question, the face of BMW is their ever-popular 3-series. The first 3-series rolled off the production line some 43 years ago, and since that day, the 3-series has been racking up awards left and right. Recognized by Car and Driver on their annual “Ten Best” list for 22 consecutive years (1992-2014), the BMW 3-series has been dominant in its respective segment for quite some time. It seems odd then, that in the current red-hot state of the classic car market, that the earliest of BMW’s 3-series would be skipped over by collectors. To be fair, the e21, BMW’s first 3-series, probably wasn’t the best of the bunch. They’re prone to rust, and likely because of the big US-mandated impact bumpers, which weren’t pretty, many weren’t as well taken care of as they could have been. After an eight year production run, the e21 was replaced by the globally-adored e30. So why is the e21 so overshadowed in the BMW community? Could it really be that the e30 is that much better? Well, here in the US, the e21 was only available with a somewhat anemic four-cylinder, while Europe had a 141hp six-cylinder option in the 323i. That brings us to this, a true hidden gem in the vintage BMW lineup, the Euro-market 323i. Read more
The 1968 box-office hit Bullitt, in which Steve “The King of Cool” McQueen starred, has gone down in film history as one of the most influential car-related movies of all time. The car McQueen famously piloted in a high-speed pursuit through the hilly streets of San Francisco, a 1967 Ford Mustang GT, was thought to have been lost in the annals of time, having been scrapped following a thorough thrashing during the filming of the movie. There were only two Mustangs used in the filming of Bullitt; a camera car, which has long sat in a private collection, and the scrapped stunt car.
That very stunt car of chase-scene fame, thought to have been long since destroyed, was recently discovered by a couple Mustang enthusiasts in the Baja region of Mexico who had bought a rusty and wrecked ‘67 Mustang to turn into a Gone In 60 Seconds “Eleanor” tribute car. As any used car dealer would do, they Google searched the VIN to see if they could uncover any history on the car. What they found would change their lives. The VIN matched that of the missing stunt car, which Steve McQueen himself had unsuccessfully attempted to track down and purchase prior to his death in 1980. Of course, this VIN information was taken with a grain of salt, as it seemed too miraculous to be true. The finding of the Bullitt Mustang instantly caused an uproar in the car community; most people assumed the VIN tag was a fake. Kevin Marti, noted Ford historian and go-to source for Ford originality verification, flew down to Mexico to see for himself. His findings shocked the automotive community, “I am 100% sure it’s authentic”.
[As discovered in Mexico – white car]
With the 50th anniversary of Bullitt’s release coming next year, this iconic Mustang is expected to eclipse seven-figure dollars at auction. There it is folks, miracles do happen.
The year was 1952, Cadillac’s 50th anniversary year. In preparation for the 1953 Paris Salon Show, Cadillac sent four chassis to Derham Body Company (Rosemont, PA) to be custom built to commemorate the anniversary. Commemorative styling included gold cast emblems and a through-the-bumper exhaust system, which tucked the tailpipes out of plain sight. Read more
The late 1950s through early 1970s were a bright time in automotive interior design, both literally and figuratively. Read more
Henry Ford’s name has always been synonymous with innovation. While he’s best known for bringing automobiles to the masses with his Model T and for streamlining the manufacturing process as a whole, there’s so much more to the man, the myth, the legend, Henry Ford. Here’s a few interesting bits of information that you may not have heard.
He Repaired Watches in His Youth
On his family’s Michigan farm, Ford constantly found new ways to feed his mechanical curiosities. At age 13 his father gave him a pocket watch, which Ford disassembled and put back together in an effort to learn more about the inner workings of the timepiece. He quite literally wanted to know what ‘made it tick’.
He quickly mastered the complexities of the pocket watch. It wasn’t long before neighbors heard of Ford’s developing talent, and he soon became the town’s go-to person for fixing broken timepieces.
He Was Influenced By Thomas Edison
In 1891, the Edison Illuminating Company had gotten word of Henry Ford’s engineering prowess. They then brought him on as a night engineer. There he gradually climbed the ranks, until he became a chief engineer. During his time at the Edison Illuminating Company, Ford and a few friends developed what they called a Quadricycle, or in other terms, a horseless carriage.
The Quadricycle would be a self-propelled vehicle, with four wire wheels and boat-like steering. He presented his design to a small group of Edison Illuminating Company executives, including Thomas Edison. Edison was impressed with Ford’s vision and encouraged him to continue pushing until he ironed out the design flaws, like the lack of a reverse gear, for example.
Edison’s encouraging words helped steer Ford on the path to his eventual success.
He was No Stranger to Failure
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” -Henry Ford.
Prior to Ford Motor Company, Ford actually had two other failed business ventures. His first was a company called Detroit Automobile Company. Ford struggled to fill orders, which upset customers. He simply couldn’t build cars quickly enough to satisfy demand.
The second company, the Henry Ford Company, fell apart because the shareholders wanted Ford to only strictly on customer car production, rather than his own racing activities. Eventually, the shareholders forced Ford from the company. You may have heard of that company, though under a different name, The Cadillac Automobile Company.
He Helped Create Our Current Economic System
After perfecting the assembly line, Ford had issues with production of the Model T. He found that while specialized duties proved to be the way of the future, employee turnover became a huge issue. Workers were worn down, they didn’t handle Ford’s one-task-and-one-task-only division of labor very well. It was said that Ford hired a thousand workers for every 100 jobs. Ford increased his workers wages to $5, which was significant at the time, which drastically improved workers’ performance.
The raise increased the quality of life for his workers, who often had minimal education or skills. This expanded the middle class, who now had money to spend on leisure items, like the Model T for example. Ford eventually gave his workers eight hour shifts and a five day work week.
His Stubbornness Nearly Destroyed Ford Motor Company
Ford refused to hand over complete control to his son, Edsel. Edsel tried to get him to expand the model line to include more than just the Model T, but Henry Ford refused. Meanwhile, Chevrolet was diversifying their model line.
Ford then saw a massive decline in sales, which put him behind both Chevrolet and General Motors. This decline forced Ford to fire thousands of workers and shut down Model T production.
The release of the Model A brought Ford back into the game. Ford was able to use the success of the Model A to ride out the first two years of the Great Depression. However, business soon slowed down and Ford struggled. It didn’t take long for him to get back on his feet though; in 1932 Ford began to mass-produce their flat-head V-8 engine, which brought Ford back into financial stability while simultaneously jump-starting the “Hot Rod” movement.
Vintage steering wheels: Take a look at an old Nardi or Momo wheel, they’re just gorgeous. Simple yet elegant, vintage steering wheels have a real charm to them. When looking at the interior of a classic car, the eye is immediately drawn to the centerpiece, the steering wheel. No longer. Airbags rained on their parade. Read more
We are happy to announce the release of our December wallpaper calendar, featuring a 1961 Mercedes 300SL Roadster from our good friend Shelly.
A few months back we received a call from a man who told us he had an “old Mercedes” tucked away in a storage unit in Mississippi. Of course even with the as-vague-as-could-be description, we started getting excited about the possibilities of what the car could be. The seller gave us a brief run-down of the car’s history; he had driven it while working on oil rigs in the 1980s, stationed in Mississippi. When he was forced to relocate, the seller could not take the car with him and decided to hand it off to one of his engineers. The car remained in Mississippi until we got the call and shipped it up to Chicago. Read more
The Chicago Car Club was proud to co-sponsor The “Drive to Defeat ALS” event, which brought dozens of people together to raise awareness for ALS while having some on-track fun behind the wheel of today’s most advanced sports cars.