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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.

American Muscle in an Italian Suit – the Bill Frick Special GT Coupe

Posted May 04, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl

Bill Frick may be best known as the mechanical genius behind the Fordillac and, later, the Studillac, but his automotive dreams were grander than dropping Cadillac engines in someone else's cars. Partnering with Italian coachbuilder Alfredo Vignale, Frick produced three Bill Frick Specials in the late 1950s, of which one is known to survive today. On June 5, this 1957 Bill Frick Special GT Coupe will cross the auction block in Connecticut as part of Bonhams Greenwich Concours d'Elegance sale.

Born in Berlin, Germany, in the closing years of the First World War, Bill Frick made his way to the United States in the mid-1930s. From his early days, Frick earned a living by making cars go faster, and more often than not this trick involved swapping an engine from one manufacturer into the chassis of another. His first engine swap involved dropping a 1924 Dodge four-cylinder into a Model A Ford, but the looming shadow of the Second World War would soon divert Frick's attention from automobiles to airplanes.

Why this car will fetch $200K at auction soon.

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Better One Wrecker Than Two Wrecks: the Origin of the HFOD Roadmaster Wrecker

Posted May 03, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl

That didn't take long. Just a day after we featured an unusual 1950 Buick Roadmaster-turned-wrecker as our Hemmings Find of the Day - and in turn touched off a mile of speculation about the car's origins - we heard from the seller, who heard from the son of the car's original builder, who filled us in on how the Buick got its boom.

Harper Honea and Clark Burr were a couple of friends who often worked together in the town of Susanville, California, so when Burr decided to go into business as a Buick dealer in 1948, he enlisted Honea's help in building the dealership on Susanville's Main Street.

It wasn't a big Buick dealership - the two of them alone apparently did all the construction work on the building, and Honea was the dealership's only full-time mechanic.

How this Buick went from grocery-getter to impromptu tow truck.

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BMW’s M3 Celebrates 30 Years as a Performance Icon

Posted May 02, 2016 12:30 PM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: anniversary bmw classic auto

"Race car for the street" is an oft-overused phrase, frequently applied to the likes of garden-variety sports and GT cars alike. But, sometimes, when a manufacturer must homologate a car by building it in quantity to make it legal for a racing series, you really can get a race car for the street.

The BMW E30 M3, made from 1986 through 1991, fulfilled that role quite nicely for the Munich manufacturer. And in the process of turning its small sedan into a fire-breathing, track and rally course-eating machine, it also found homes for them with more than 17,000 enthusiasts worldwide. This spring marks the 30th anniversary of the debut of this legendary machine.

What makes the M3 a special auto? Find out on Hemmings.

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From the Toolbox – Episode Three

Posted April 28, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: toolbox Tools what is it

This week's tool was commonplace at full-service gas stations during the 1950s to the mid-1970s. It was a sales tool used by the attendants to sell additional products in the days when you would get your oil, coolant and washer solvent checked with every fill-up. You might have also gotten a glass tumbler or a presidential coin for your patronage, too.

Dimensionally, it's four inches tall and three inches wide at the top. It's 5/8″ thick, but the black button at the bottom adds 3/8″ to the overall thickness. This button is depressed to move a needle on the scale, with graduations from 32 to 0 ounces. A similar scale on the back reads in the opposite direction so the exact measurement can be viewed from either side. The name on the tool was "Tel-Tale" but we have covered the rest of the etched text so as not to give it away too easily.

Directions are on a decal on the back that would give the identity away if we showed it to you. It has a manufacture origin in Gary, Indiana, if that helps you, and the back label also states that it is an "Official test indicator for the HVB." Can you tell us what the tool is, and how it was used?

This blog entry originally appeared on Hemmings Daily.

6 comments; last comment on 04/28/2016
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Despite Preservationists’ Outcry, Demolition Begins on Iconic Phoenix Studebaker Dealership

Posted April 27, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: dealership history sales studebaker

Old Studebaker dealership buildings tend not to attract the attention of big-city mayors or generate headline news these days. One in Phoenix, however, has proved the exception to that rule when demolition began on it earlier this month, prompting preservationists and that city's mayor alike to condemn the developer responsible.

Designed by architect W.Z. Smith and built in 1947, shortly after Studebaker introduced its new postwar cars, the Stewart Motors Co. building - named after the dealer that built it in the heart of Phoenix's Auto Row along Central Avenue - incorporated a turntable in its glassed-in corner showroom along with numerous Streamline Moderne elements all rendered in brick, with nary a wagon wheel in sight. As described on Modern Phoenix, the building created "a joyful dialogue with the streetscape, which is pleasant to enjoy both on foot or by car."

Why is this atypical building so sentimental for some Phoenicians?

9 comments; last comment on 04/29/2016
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EPA Removes Racecar Language From Greenhouse Gas Regulation, Says Its Position on Motorsports Hasn’t Changed

Posted April 26, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: EPA gasoline legislation racing

All in the same statement released on Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency promised to rescind contentious language that motorsports enthusiasts say targeted them, reiterated that removing emissions equipment remains illegal, and said that they're not going to crack down on individual racers.

"EPA supports motorsports and its contributions to the American economy and communities all across the country," the agency wrote in a statement on its website. "EPA's focus is not on vehicles built or used exclusively for racing, but on companies that don't play by the rules and that make and sell products that disable pollution controls on motor vehicles used on public roads. These unlawful defeat devices pump dangerous and illegal pollution into the air we breathe."

The language at the heart of the controversy, which the EPA described as "clarifying" and inserted into regulations concerning greenhouse gas emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks last year, prohibited the removal or alteration of factory-equipped emission control devices "even if they are used solely for competition." The agency said it had simply intended to draw a distinction between "nonroad vehicles" and "certified motor vehicles" with that language.

Let's the racing commence! Read more on Hemmings Daily.

2 comments; last comment on 04/27/2016
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