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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

Does Alfa Romeo’s New Giulia Quadrifoglio Live Up to the Brand’s Performance Legacy?

Posted March 28, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl

Alfa Romeo hasn’t offered a sedan in the U.S. market since 1995, the final year its 164 was sold on these shores. Though the brand has offered niche-market sports cars to American customers (on and off) since 2008, it’s been slow to market a mainstream vehicle on these shores. In the words of Alfa Romeo’s Berj Alexanian, “We knew we had just one chance to get it right with the Giulia sedan,” which launched in late 2016. At Amelia Island, we had a chance to (briefly) drive the range-topping Giulia Quadrifoglio; did Alfa Romeo get it right?

According to the manufacturer, the Giulia model “reflects a 55-year heritage of Alfa Romeo’s lightweight, performance sedan tradition,” along with “over 105 years of brand history.” That’s a lot for anything to carry on its shoulders, or in the case of the Giulia, on its fenders. Worse, perhaps, the Giulia is designed and priced to go head to head against class leaders like the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The shamrock-badged carmaker from Italy is back in the United States. Was it worth the wait?

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A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

Posted March 27, 2017 11:48 AM by dstrohl

Today, the name “Hellcat” is associated with the supercharged variant of the fourth-generation Dodge Challenger, but 74 years ago it belonged to a very special Buick. Technically the “76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18,” Buick’s Hellcat was built with a deadly purpose in mind: hunting the tanks of the Axis powers. On May 12, military vehicle collectors will have a rare opportunity to purchase a 1944 Buick M18 Hellcat tank destroyer, set to cross the block during the Auctions America Auburn Spring sale.

As war again erupted in Europe at the close of the 1930s, the U.S. Army realized it was ill-equipped to counter the “Blitzkrieg” (“Lightning War”) tactic employed by German forces attacking Poland and, later, Western Europe. Stopping a rapidly advancing mechanized army required not only armor, but a unique variant known as a “tank destroyer,” capable of out-maneuvering enemy tanks on the battlefield. Military strategists assumed, correctly, that enemy armor would eventually penetrate a front line, and when it did, the job of the tank destroyer was to prevent a significant breakthrough.

Step right this way if you're interested in (or maybe interested in buying) this classic Buick warfighter.

6 comments; last comment on 03/28/2017
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Bantam Goes to Holabird: The Test That Convinced the Army of the Jeep’s Potential

Posted March 23, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto history jeep testing

[Editor’s Note: There perhaps aren’t too many people as or more qualified to chronicle the history of the Bantam Reconnaissance Car and the origins of the Jeep than William Spear. Fortunately, Spear has put his research and scholarship to good use by writing Warbaby: The True Story of the Original Jeep, a comprehensive book that documents the BRC from conception to the QMC’s awarding of the Jeep contract to Willys. For this week’s Hemmings In-Depth, Spear has generously allowed us to excerpt the chapter of the book relating the BRC’s initial testing at Camp Holabird.]

There is much misunderstanding in jeep histories about testing at Holabird. The torture tests there were more or less legendary at the time, and always provided dramatic footage for the newsreels or pictures for the Sunday section. Various diabolical facilities were set up to deliver extreme punishment and stress tested vehicles to their limits and ween out the inadequate and to find and address the weaknesses of the survivors. Major Lawes, the Commanding Officer was not kidding when he promised Crist and Probst he would break their truck, which was after all the whole idea.

Some of the jeep's toughest torture tests might have gone down a little differently than history remembers.

7 comments; last comment on 03/24/2017
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First Hardtop Mustang by Serial Number to Get its Moment in the Spotlight

Posted March 22, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto Ford mustang

Such indignity. Dispatched to remote Canada, passed over, and left to sit on a dealership showroom for a year before it sold, the first hardtop Mustang by serial number has rarely received the accolades its immediate predecessor, the very first pre-production Mustang, racked up over the years. That’ll change this May when Mustang serial number 100002 heads to auction.

The stories of Mustangs 100001 and 100002 (specifically 5F07U100002) couldn’t have played out any more differently save for the fact that both rolled off the same assembly line and subsequently shipped off to Canada. The former – a convertible with the V-8 and automatic – went to St. Johns, Newfoundland, where it sold to an overzealous customer three days before the official introduction of the Mustang in April 1964. The latter – fitted with the 101-hp 170-cu.in. straight-six and a three-speed manual transmission – though intended to ship to a dealer in Vancouver, British Columbia, instead went a little farther north to Whitehorse Motors in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Ford was sending its first born Mustangs to its most remote dealerships. This one sat in the Yukon for years and years.

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Reminiscing – My Daddy’s Thunderbird

Posted March 21, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto Ford thunderbird

[Editor’s note: This “Reminiscing” story, edited by Richard Lentinello, comes to us from Hemmings Classic Car reader Al Hirth of Pueblo West, Colorado.]

I had just turned 13 years of age in October of 1959, when, a couple of weeks later, my Dad said, “let’s go look at some new cars.”

The local Ford dealer in a Chicago suburb had two 1960 Thunderbirds on the lot. One was white with a yellow roof and a red-and-white interior. It also had the 430-cu.in. Lincoln engine, probably one of a kind. The other T-Bird, and the one he bought, was light blue with a two-tone blue interior and the standard 352-cu.in. V-8.

I remember the ride home with just my dad and me. I was fascinated with the new-car interior smell, the console, bucket seats, 300 horsepower and Dad’s first car with dual exhaust. I was in teenage automotive heaven.

Remembering a classic American auto in its heyday.

1 comments; last comment on 03/25/2017
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