March 16, 2011
Recently there have been some great car commercials on television and I wanted to look back at some of my favorites listed here. I am not interested in clever sales pitches, stunning visuals or feasts of strength (so common in truck and luxury car commercials). I am more interested in how the soul of the car is portrayed and in the relationships and experiences people have with their cars. (It also helps to be about an exciting car.)
I love the physical comedy/silent film style acting in this ad made great with the STAR WARS theme.
Just a fun commercial with a beautiful car. Also, RIP Crown Victoria.
Possibly my favorite. This one brought me to my feet the first time I saw it. It’s in homage to the Steve McQueen film Bullitt, probably the greatest car chase movie. The 1968 Mustang GT McQueen used to chase two hitmen in a 1968 Charger R/T 440 to their fiery death was the inspiration for the Mustang’s new design. A special Bullitt Edition was later offered. McQueen’s image was taken from the movie chase which can be seen here.
And this is when the V-Series was just getting started. Check out the CTS-V coupe.
Another great. This Corvette commercial was pulled from television for its “dangerous” portrayal of children driving irresponsibly. I believe that’s what makes it great. Children dream of driving passionate cars. (And always manuals- children don’t pretend to drive an automatic.) This ad is so true to the ideal driver-car relationship. Ford later made a similar ad with adult drivers- it was much less.
A car’s life flashes before its windshield and its the lives of its owners.
What ever happened to style? It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. There was a time when style was just about everything in automotive design. I love the shots of the Chrysler Building which was designed using the automotive Art Deco style of the times.
June 11, 2009
When I first heard of the economic troubles some of the major American automotive companies were having my first fear was the possibility of an America without those companies and their cars, each so vital to the American culture. Now, following the filing of bankruptcy of GM those fears are being realized.
Newspapers report GM is soon to be government owned, and will be reduced to just four companies (Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC). Also, dealerships all across the nation will not have their franchise agreements renewed for the next year affecting towns all across the U.S.
Again one of my first fears concerning GM’s troubles has been realized. The Hatfield Buick dealership of my hometown Redlands, CA will not have its agreement renewed after 100 years of selling cars. It joined Buick in 1913 after Hatfield had been selling cars since 1909. It’s the oldest Buick dealer in the U.S., probably the world.
Currently owned by the original Hatfield’s grandson, the dealership is trying to petition to GM for the renewal of the contract and the continued life of an important center to the city’s heritage and culture. If this fight is lost it will not only mean the loss of a place to buy a car and the cars themselves, but the city of Redlands (with its people) will lose a piece of itself.
For more information visit these links and savehatfieldbuick.com (to show your support).
Redlands Daily Facts
April 22, 2008
Today the United States Air Force will retire its stealth attack fighter the F-117 Night Hawk. It was secretly developed at Skunk Works over 30 years ago and was the first stealth fighter built (it was designed without right angles). It proved incredibly valuable and effective. It saw action in Panama, Serbia and Iraq.
I can still remember the news broadcasts of the Gulf War. When young I was into aviation and military history so when my dad found the news coverage of the bombings in Iraq he called me to watch. It was in night vision green and all around the Iraqis were firing blindly into the dark night. The news reporter there was explaining that they were being bombed from the air but “There [were] no planes in the air.” The enemy was in complete confusion. The Night Hawks were sending their missiles down the ventilation holes and elevator shafts of enemy bunkers. It was impressive and we were not even sure what it was!
The Night Hawk will be retired as quietly as it was developed (it’s still highly classified and only those there at it development will be allowed to attend the retirement). After its retirement the Night Hawks will be taken to a top secret base in Nevada (as reported by the Los Angeles Times).
Its retirement is coming with the deployment of the new F-22 Raptor with uses the most modern stealth technology.
The Night Hawk has been impressive in its service to the United States and it will be a bit of a shame to see it go. It is a great example of the creation and innovation that naturally stem from competition. Seeing the article in the paper reminded me of what I enjoyed about aviation and military history. It also saddened me a bit to know that the F-117 would no longer be soaring the dark skies unseen.
February 28, 2008
American automotive enthusiasts and especially Chevy enthusiasts are living exciting and anxious times. For five years we have been without the Camaro, without Chevy Muscle. It has been trying times. But in recent years we have seen glimmers of hope: MUSCLE IS BACK!
Almost since the Camaro’s discontinuation in 2002 there has been speculation, rumors and prayers for its return. When the Camaro was discontinued it was vastly out performing everything in its class and price range. It was a hard loss.
Then Chevy lifted our spirits when they announced their intention to revive the Camaro and revealed its concept which blew everyone away. That all seems so long ago. We have been anxiously waiting for years. We have seen the car and our mouths are watering, our hearts are yearning and people have begun saving for the day it arrives at the dealers. There is even a countdown to the beginning of production of the Camaros. As the time draws nearer the more anxious I get.
This whole thing reminds me of the stories I have heard about the secrecy and pride in the unveiling of the original classic cars such as when Chevy unveiled its new design and engine (the small-block that changed the world) in 1955. It set a date, closed the curtains of the showroom and kept the cars covered until that date. The car was highly anticipated and it proved well worth it.
This new Camaro is now also highly anticipated and it appears it will be well worth the wait. In the midst of the anticipation every enthusiast is scrounging for any and all information, photographs and videos of the testing models of the car. Magazines and web sites have spies searching and chasing its development. Citizens are reporting sightings. And now magazines are calling for the citizens to keep their eyes pealed in search of an opportunity to photograph the Camaro (if you have the opportunity be sure to take those photos). Some of the latest photos came when someone one the street spotted a Camaro in camouflage being transported on the back of a diesel. It was on its way north to Alaska for cold weather testing (from what I heard).
Recently official photos have been released (without the camouflage) to provide a better look. It is gorgeous in white. Check out this link.
Part of the speculation surrounding the Camaro is: why is it taking so long to go into production. Part of the answer is that it is a completely new car (unlike the new Mustang or Challenger which are built upon previously existing designs). Also, its performance is being vigorously tested and tuned. Also, Chevy is working to keep the Camaro in the hands the everyday people and your average car guy. An example of this is that they are working to get a five star safety rating in order to keep insurance costs down.
As the wait continues we must remember that when the first Camaro came out in 1967 it was three years after most of the other muscle cars hit the streets (the 4-4-2, the GTO and the Mustang), and still was able to astonish and compete.
February 19, 2008
Growing up in the American Evangelical Christian Church, I attended Church nearly every Sunday with the exception of vacations, and even then sometimes we would go to Church with my extended family whom we were visiting. My knowledge of Church and Church traditions was fairly limited to my experiences at my local Church. Any older tradition that Christians did I figured was done mainly by old people and catholics. But the younger generation of Christians doesn’t do those things. They seemed a bit odd at times and unnecessary. I am not attempting to bash the Evangelical Church however I feel that with all of our attempts to be “Contemporary” and “Relevant”, we evangelicals have missed out on a lot of truly great things.
One such tradition is the observance of Lent. This has always felt very catholic to me, and to a certain extent it is. More catholics observe lent than evangelicals. And while their are some things that catholics do that I don’t necessarily feel I need to do myself, lent is an exception.
Read the rest of this entry »
February 9, 2008
It appears we are entering a new era of horsepower wars in the American automotive industry. I welcome it. It is bringing back a competitive nature to the industry reminiscent to the glory days of the horsepower wars of the sixties.
Many of the elements of today’s industry are just the revival and rejuvenation of the things of old. Chrysler has bought back the Hemi. V-8s that were recently reserved for trucks and SUVs are returning to their homes in family sedans and midsized cars. Chevy has plans to return to rear wheel drive on the many of their cars. The Camaro is fighting its way back into existence.
Good things are to come and you can see it in the competitive air within the industry. They say competition is the mother of invention and it has been proven time and time again as surges in technology and knowledge accompany all our major wars.
A competitive spirit leads to experimentation and discovery, and in the fifties and sixties it gave us a generation of mad scientists each working to squeeze out more horses, more torque and more speed then the next. And in the time before insurance difficulties, legalities, government restrictions, the oil crisis and environmentalism horsepower and speed thrived. (The Hairy Olds pictured here is an excellent example of some of the mad experimentation taking place. It was all wheel drive with two blown 425’s, one powering the front the other the back.)
It was a time when the family sedan could also be used to pull trees. It was a time when buyers got more then what they paid for (rather then less). The automakers were notorious for selling you a car that had an advertised “300hp” but in reality had much more.
I recently heard that a cable automotive show decided to build exact replicas of a few of the greatest engines of the sixties and dyno test them to find their true horsepower numbers. These engines from the sixties were sold with horsepower ratings in the 400s and 500s. When put on the dyno they proved to have horsepower ranging from the 500hp to approaching 800hp. Proving the long time suspicion that American car buyers of the sixties were getting more than what they paid for.
Today the industry seems to be returning to its competitive ways. They still have the restrictions of fuel economy, insurance costs and smog laws and so that is where the experimentations are being made by today’s scientists. They may not be the mad scientists of yesteryear but are instead geniuses of perfection and invention. They have worked to make the great massive Hemi more efficient than ever before. At Chevy they are using Displacement on Demand and they have supercharged the Corvette giving the “everyman’s sports car” the “700hp” it needs to feed on the expensive European super machines, at a fraction of the price. It’s only going to get better!
January 26, 2008
Check out this article from the LA Times. When I first read the title, I rolled my eyes, figuring it was a typical “Christian Article”. It is quite long, but after I finished it, I was very glad that I had read it. It is very interesting to read and awesome to read how these people are striving to be more Christ like. Read the article all the way through, and then post your thoughts here.