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.
This TR3a is one of our favorites here at CCC. We found the car in a garage almost twelve years ago now, the car having sat underneath a cover for twenty years before we got to it. As soon as we peeled back the car cover we knew this was something special. The car’s original windshield had been replaced with low profile windscreens and it was optioned with the desireable wire wheels, just how we would have spec’d it out ourselves. Thanks to the heads-up move by the previous owner of storing the car underneath a cover, it was fairly well-preserved and rust-free.
The owner was thrilled to see our excitement in pulling back the car cover; his children had not expressed any desire to own the car and he was clearly very happy to see the car go to proper enthusiasts who would appreciate the car for what it is. The owner told us that he’d sell us the car under one condition, that we never deny anyone who asks for a ride in the car. We’ve kept true to his wishes, keeping the car in our private collection and taking it out for a spirited drive a handful of times every year, appreciating every second of time behind the wheel. We have just recently listed this car for sale, as it deserves to be enjoyed more than just a few times a year.
“Ask the man who owns one” – Packard sales moto
Thanks to a tip from a friend who frequently drops by CCC to talk cars, we unearthed this beautiful Packard from a home in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. The car sat in the corner of a dusty body shop for nearly twenty years before we were made aware of it. We were blown away by the originality of the car, and especially by the fact that the motor still turned over. The car was 99% original, still wearing it’s original black paint and broadcloth seats.
The car had originally been owned by a wealthy woman who had the jump seats removed, as she would not be driving the car, but rather, shuttled around by her chauffeur. When she passed away, the car was given to a museum in Northern Ohio, where it sat on display from 1951-1963. In 1963 the museum went belly-up, forcing them to liquidate their entire collection. As the Packard was heading to a local auction to be sold to the highest bidder, Charles Millner (Millner’s Cafeteria – Urbana, OH) literally chased the car down and bought it before it went across the auction block. He paid $600 for the car, an all-original museum piece. At the time, Charles had a large car collection, which, over time, was narrowed down to only 3 cars; a ‘35 Ford Phaeton, a Model-T Roadster, and this ‘38 Packard Super 8.
In 1998, Charles sold the car to a man named Wally in Chicago. Wally installed an electric fan and temperature gauge in the driver side glove box and parked the car, storing it in a garage here in Chicago for the better part of the last two decades, where we discovered it. Upon purchasing the car, we rolled it onto a flatbed and brought it to CCC, this being the first time the car had seen sunlight in nearly twenty years. We poured some Marvin’s Mystery Oil in the cylinders and let the car sit overnight. In the morning, we gave the car some fresh gas and fired it up. Much to our surprise, the car’s straight-8 ran fairly well. We have since gotten the car running and driving as it should, and take every opportunity we can to get the car out in the public eye.
*Many thanks to Dave Millner (son of Charles), for giving us such a neat history lesson on this stunning Packard.