Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lock those gates.

This may or may not be news to some of you, but there is an alarming rise in pickup truck tailgate thefts in recent months. The Detroit News ran an article a few days ago that shows just how alarming it is. Tailgates can be removed easily in a matter of seconds from a pick up truck and as easily as a minute for locking gates. No one is really sure why there is such a spike in thefts. Though prices can range from $1,000 to over $3,000 for one tailgate. While the average hovers right around $1,200. So maybe thieves are seeing easy dollar signs when they see your pickup in a parking lot or in your driveway at night.

In the state of Michigan and probably the pick up truck capital of the world, tailgate theft is considered a felony that can land a thief a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison, but this hasn't slowed the rate of thefts at all. Thefts are so bad and so rampant now, that new and used dealers have taken to removing the tailgates from vehicles in their inventory and storing them indoors until the vehicle sells. Some owners have now taken to backing their trucks up against walls to reduce the amount of room thieves would have to operate in.

The full article can be found here.

Source: The Detroit News

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Niel's oval

Showing off our friend Niel's oval window. Niel's is the editor and publisher of an absolutely awesome Volkswagen bookazine called AirMighty. Check out his site and subscribe to his mag if your a VW nut like me.

23 to go

A perfectly restored 23 window Deluxe Microbus. Even with VWs new Bulli concept, it's still no substitute for the original.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rumble down under

Welcome to Murray Country from Bandit Films on Vimeo.

Very cool video from our friends in Australia featuring an American car collector and his 1970 Plymouth Superbird. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flame on !


But very different.
Spotted in Long Beach.

And the original built by Bill Steele in Pittsburgh.

What affect does the crisis in Japan have on the auto industry in the U.S.?

Actually, a lot more than you may think. As if the dealer and plant closings and the unfortunate bankruptcies were bad enough. Here comes news from Japan of an Earthquake followed by a Tsunami followed by the now extremely good chance of a nuclear meltdown. How does this affect the U.S. auto industry you might ask. Well here's how it does. The factories in Japan that produce U.S. bound cars for Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Mitsubishi to name a few are offline entirely. Secondly, due to the tsunami, billions of dollars (with a B) worth of vehicles were lost or destroyed. That's going to hurt dealers world wide, not necessarily in the immediate short term as there is a supply of cars already at dealers, but in the coming months this will start to become a major issue for dealers.

The next issue that comes into play are the suppliers. Here's where it starts to become a much larger issue. Not only to the Japanese manufacturers get components from suppliers in Japan (some still haven't been able to be contacted for status updates), but U.S. and European manufacturers also get some components produced in Japan. This has already affected General Motors which has had to shut down production at their Shreveport, Louisiana factory which produces the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. While this GM plant is the first to stop productions, others have scaled back production. So we'll have to wait and see now, what further issues arise.

Lastly comes the new scare of a possible nuclear meltdown. With each passing day, this is starting to look more and more likely to happen. Which is terrible in its own right. If a meltdown happens, the plants that produce vehicles and components in the projected radius (and it is many factories) will essentially become useless for decades. That means new factories will have to be built to take up the demand and get the industry back up and running.

We are monitoring the news closely in the wake of this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan in this tough time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Revisiting History, The Ford Piquette Plant

Sadly, much of the early history of the Automobile Industry is being erased. Not in terms of the cars that live on through restorations and hot rods, but in this case. The actual factories that produced the cars. Many of course were located in and around Detroit and have given way to decay and urban expansion through progress. However, one dedicated group of volunteers is working to buck the trend and preserve early automotive history. The Ford Piquette plant was the first factory to produce the Ford Model T. Ford had been building cars in the factory since 1904 and continued through 1910 when production moved to the new, much larger Highland Park factory. In 1911, Ford sold the building to Studebaker and the rest is, well. History. Living on to serve other companies over the course of the last 100 years has given way to a revitalization of the factory, going back to its roots.

In 2000, the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex was formed and purchased the Piquette factory from its owner who had plans to demolish the building. Since that time, the front facade of the building has been restored to its 1908 appearance and desginated both a Michigan state and National Historic Landmark. The all volunteer staff is working diligently to restore the building and plans are for it to become a world class museum focusing on the early days of automobile production.

To support the "T-plex" and find more information the work they are doing, please visit. http://www.tplex.org/
Source: Hemmings

Monday, March 14, 2011

Interesting take on a sunroof.

For when you're just TOO tall for that chop job on your Model A sedan.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Meyers Manx

It's not too often you can find a nice original style Meyers Manx dunebuggy. This one hails from France.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And while visiting the Henry Ford......

This photo popped up on the Henry Ford's blog showing their 1959 VW Westphalia camper out of it's traditional habitat.

Henry Ford Museum under construction

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan is a staple for any car enthusiast to see when in the Motor City. The collection of vehicles on display is outstanding as it really represents the Automobile and what it has done to transform both America and the World. That being said, the Henry Ford's collection does not feature just Ford vehicles. Just about all of the American manufacturers are represented from Ford to Tucker, and many foreign manufacturers as well. From MG to Volkswagen. Even Honda.

You can see the famous Golden Rod land speed car. Pause and reflect in front of the 1963 Lincoln Continental  limousine which carried President Kennedy through Dallas. Even sit in the very same seat that Rosa Parks defiantly sat in, that sparked the Civil Rights Movement. They have it all. Recently, the Henry Ford announced that there will be major renovations to their transportation section of the museum. This will make the exhibit more accessible and more interactive than it has ever been. And we're hoping it will also bring room for expansion to the collection. I try to stop and visit the museum every time I am in Detroit. Usually making several trips a year and spending hours taking in the history of the automobile and American life. Just as Henry Ford would have wanted.

The Henry Ford Museum